Freedom of Information

Transparency and privacy have been a controversial, recurring topic in the government sector due to the rapidly, evolving technological cli mate. One of the main reasons is that laws that uphold freedom of information can be interpreted for both the access to information and the privacy of government agencies.A main argument of local governments is that improving transparency could increase costs. Many local governments are partnering with private companies, especially those in technology, to facilitate their operations. Advanced technology used in the private sector, such as high-tech audio and video surveillance, will enable local governments to increase security of their information. However, as local governments are also responsible for funding public areas, investing more in technology will prevent them to disperse funds for other societal needs.Furthermore, the information that local governments release to the public could be deemed as incomprehensible. In 2006, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, passed by Barack Obama, made it compulsory for agencies to reveal information to make it accessible to the public. However, local governments manipulated this new concept to disclose vast amount of information to the public, which became known as “data dump” (Latham, 2016), as a way to justify their responsibility of disclosing information. Although the information has been revealed, a majority of individuals are unable to decipher the formal language and major effort is required to find specific, relevant points needed to an individual.Moreover, due to the evolving change of technology, individuals and local governments are increasing their dependence on online storage (Newcombe, 2018), also known as cloud computing. More individuals are relying on technology to store confidential information as certain online storage services claim that information is encrypted. However, it is neverChakka 2guaranteed that data will never be accessible to people who succeed in surpassing online security.As the increased dependence in technology keeps growing, local governments relying more on contractual workers to fulfill certain responsibilities. Although the governments are attempting to improve technology usage for security, hiring third-party contractors to improve efficiency at the major cost of risking security and privacy (Norris, 2019).Furthermore, technology also enables simultaneous access by multiple individuals, making data breach more harmful, especially when the source is completely anonymous. Although the data itself might not be harmful, few of the tactics used by hackers to manipulate data include altering information and converging multiple documents and information.The biggest concern of evolving technology to local governments is the mosaic effect, which enables hackers to consolidate enough information to threaten local government officials and employees. However, it is challenging for local governments to tackle this problem without disclosing any information. The most successful method to counteract this problem is to uphold secrecy. However, local government upholding secrecy from the public is defined as unconstitutional in the United States (Goodwin, 2010). Additionally, due to open meetings and increase in transparency, government officials would be apprehensive to address the public directly in fear of accidently disclosing information that is not yet for public viewing.Furthermore, technology is not the main cause for the lack of balance between privacy and transparency. Rather, the issue is a consequence of cultural, political, and business-related causes (Aden, 2008). Changes and movements are based on idealistic principles of how the current environment should be.Chakka 3Few of the ideal clashes come from the newer generations joining the workforce. Millennials and Generation Z, known to be the most technology savvy and technologically dependent, are also risk factors of data privacy. To correlate with the mindset of current generations, public sector agencies are adopting more technological methods in everyday use.However, as older generations are still working in the government sectors, many of them lack the capacity and skills to retain necessary, institutional knowledge. In fact, although certain roles, especially in the IT departments, require specific technological skills, many candidates who lack the education fail to even apply. This leads to departments designating more tasks to same individuals, threatening the segregation of duties, one of the major factors to upholding privacy.For more information on Freedom of Information check on:

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