New Analysis of Federal Mechanisms for Public Access to Proprietary Data

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In a memorandum entitled "On the Public's Right to Proprietary Data" Guinevere Jobson of the American University Law Clinic addresses the important media policy question "Is there a public right to access proprietary information where the government uses public funds to purchase the information and relies on that information in its decision-making process?"

Prepared for the SSRC Data Consortium on Media and Communications Policy, the memorandum examines four legislative and regulatory mechanisms for access - The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Shelby Amendment, the Data Quality Act (DQA) and OMB Peer Review. Jobson concludes that while none of the identified means provide complete, unfettered access to information, the current state of the law provides mechanisms that can be better and more creatively utilized to enhance the public's right to information - especially in an era of widespread privatization of formerly public data collection functions.

Read the full text of Ms. Jobson's analysis