I just competed reading a rather excellent and thorough document from the Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration (GSA). It’s title, “Implementing New Media (Web 2.0) Capabilities in the .Gov Environment and Government Use Elsewhere“, and breadth of content includes the most important issues raised and (partially) addressed when attempting to use Web 2.0 / New Media.
It should serve as an outstanding baseline for the development of the Open Government Directive, if the document itself doesn’t not become one in the same.
With Web 2.0, execution of existing policy and guidelies are often at odds with emerging technologies, or at the very least, makes it much more difficult to innovate resulting in the beauracracy the government is known and loved for.
Agencies may be able to get a handle on the regulations, configurations and method of use for services they host themselves (which the guide, in general, states are all the same regulations used for Web 1.0),
However, the true difficulty with Web 2.0 is the “Government Use Elsewhere” part of the title (and contents) because what has all of us scratching are heads about how and who will go first and officially try to leverage commercially developed social media and networking sites (the Facebooks, the Twitters, blogs, the GovLoop 🙂 ) designed for use by any/all people across the globe with a minimal amount of negotiating and modifications from each side’s legal teams and security/information assurance interests. Web 2.0 commercial sites are certainly not specifically designed (nor ready) for U.S. Federal government restrictions.
The unique aspects of this most difficult area is mainly discussed in the document’s last section “Section 19.0 – Other Legal Issues” and may not go far enough in provide guidance at the actionable and short turnaround level. Agencies may looking for a higher power (OMB and/or GSA) to negotiate through these issues on behalf of all agencies.
With Web 2.0, it may now be most appropriate to consider an “Information Dissemination Line of Business (InfoLOB)” that would work towards two main goals:
Information Dissemination Line of Business (InfoLOB)
… Addressing the Legal, Security, Privacy (and other appropriate) issues for government use of commercial New Media sites.
… Identify and support the development of Information Dissemination “Centers of Excellence” that would provide web hosting services, enterprise content management, and potentially web development services for numerous agencies through a shared services model.