January 24, 2022

Public Interest Declassification Board Releases its Report to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System

From the Public Interest Declassification Board Blog:

[The report] recommends fundamental changes that ensure the classification system will function fully to protect our nation’s security and to allow for democratic discourse in the 21st century.

We concluded that new policies for classifying and declassifying information are required. The classification system has not kept pace with our information age and no longer supports users as it should. The secrecy system should be streamlined and better aligned with safeguarding practices and less information should be classified overall. Overall, there needs to be a better balance between what is classified and what is available to the American public.

Technology is at the core of our recommendations for a needed transformation of the declassification system. Current page-by-page review processes are unsustainable in an era of gigabytes and yottabytes. New and existing technologies must be integrated into new processes that allow greater information storage, retrieval, and sharing. We must incorporate technology into an automated declassification process.

About the Board

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) is an advisory committee established by Congress in order to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. The President appointed Nancy Soderberg as chair of the Board and Martin C. Faga, William H. Leary, and Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker as members. The Minority Leader of the House appointed David Skaggs. The Speaker of the House appointed William O. Studeman and the Majority Leader of the Senate appointed Sanford Ungar.

Direct to Full Text Report (By Chapter or Entire Report; PDF)

See Also: Commentary and Analysis by Steve Aftergood (Secrecy News)

See Also: Federal Plan Calls for Overhauling Secrecy Policies (via NY Times)

See Also: Brief Summary of Recommendations (via Freedominfo.org)

See Also: Summary/Discussion of Key Recommendations Can Be Found in Several PIDB Blog Posts



About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.