Publications of Spence, M.M.

A Presidential Initiative on Information Policy. Number 7

Two trends have inhibited the development of information and ideas, which are vital resources in a modern technological society, First, the Federal Government is engaged in efforts to control the flow of scientific and technical information (STI) to make it less accessible to foreign competitors and hostile nations. Second, the role of government in collecting, maintaining, and publishing information has been curtailed because of reduced federal spending on information resources. The President's policy agendas should include an initiative on information policy with special programs focusing on science, the economy, and national security. The following elements would be included in such an initiative: (1) a review of the system for classifying information; (2) a review of export controls and related restrictions on the communication of unclassified STI; (3) steps to give Congress and the public time to comment on proposed executive orders and national security directives; (4) interagency deliberations to develop guidelines that protect against undue government control over the content and conclusions of federally sponsored research; (5) actions to limit the role of the Office of Management and Budget; (6) revisions in the Freedom of Information Act to facilitate access to government information; and (7) authorization for the Secretary of Defense to curb inappropriate secrecy in agency budgets. (SD)

The dangers of information control

This paper examines a series of new government rules which has limited the free exchange of information and ideas in the US. The author argues that these rules restrain academic freedom, hamper technological progress, and undermine democratic decision-making. The author focuses on how the Reagan administration has expanded the idea of national security and new efforts to control exports and reduce paperwork also have dangerous side-effects on information.