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SOME KEY ISSUES IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR Given the American taxpayer's growing concern about govern- ment inefficiency, and given the scale and complexity of the federal government's information dependent activities, one might expect the agencies of the federal Executive branch to be leading consumers of the most versatile and cost-effective applications of computer-based information technology. This is not the case. Although the federal government is the nation's largest consumer of computing and telecommunications equipment and services, the level and proficiency of use by individual agencies varies enormously. A recent study by the President's Reorganiza- tion Project during the Carter Administration cites many examples of obsolete and unnecessarily costly data pro- cessing operations,1 and other related studies have pointed to major deficiencies in facilities planning and procurement. Indeed, no one knows for sure how serious the agencies' weaknesses may be. Reports based on summary statistics indicate that much of the federal government's computing equipment is of the mid-]960 vintage or older, and that much of the supporting software is also antiquated. Such statements, however, do not distinguish between the computer-based data processing facilities that support key agency missions and the ones that are devoted to functions of lesser importance. Similarly, there are no precise measures of variables as elementary as funding and skill levels, and, none that would illuminate effectiveness in the delivery of government services the technology is used to support. SOME KEY PROBLEM AREAS Despite their uncertainty as to the actual status of the federal government's use of computer-based information 78
79 technology, experts seem to agree that substantial im- provements are needed in three areas: (1) acquisition, (2) management education, and (3) access to high quality technical support on a continuing basis. As to the first, both the President's Reorganization Project and the House Appropriations Committee investiga- tive staff have recently evaluated the processes by which the federal government acquires computer-based information technology. Their reports are in substantial agreement with concerns expressed by the General Accounting Office in reports issued over the past few years.1* They agree, for instance, that much more emphasis should be placed on defining the needs and uses for which a procurement is being made; that greater procurement responsibility should be delegated to the agencies; and that action needs to be taken to clarify the policies and responsibilities of the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration with respect to the establishment and exe- cution of procurement policies and procedures. ~* How this is to be accomplished is not spelled out. Typical of the kinds of problems that arise is the difficulty that the Office of Management and Budget has had in introducing the procurement approach laid out in its Circular A-109. This directive, issued in August 1976, attempts to stimulate innovation in the procurement of large computer systems by using techniques similar to the ones that the Department of Defense uses in procuring aircraft. Under this "fly-before-you-buy" policy, the government does not set specifications but does define its functional requirements or mission needsâi.e., "what and why". The competitive process defines the "how" by contracting for more than one system design, and by test- ing out interim products, the system specifications, as set out by the winning contractor, become the government's specifications. Critics of Circular A-109 note that it has an indirect antecedent in the so-called "Bell Report,"6 which recom- mended in 1962 that the federal government fund large-scale research and development projects through a two-stage process in which the first stage would be the acquisition of specifications. They go on to state that a process that was originally designed to provide for the procure- ment of great numbers of the winning design does not necessarily lend itself to the procurement of computer systems and that there is no evidence to indicate that it will. Moreover, the amount of the initial investment necessary to obtain the desired degree of innovation is
80 not defined, and there is also no assurance that the Con- gress will be willing to provide the necessary funds until there is evidence that the A-109 process works. In short, A-109, through its emphasis on the specification of per- formance, does appear to be conducive to innovation, but it is not certain whether the same results could be achieved with other, less costly, and less time-consuming approaches. As to management education, the second area in which improvements are needed, common sense suggests that key decisions affecting an agency's acquisition and use of computer-based information technology should be made by senior managers with a broad view of organizational objec- tives and needs. Such decisions should be made in close association with the agency's other management planning decisions and should be systematically evaluated with a view to reducing costs, countering the effects of inflation, increasing productivity, and improving services. In fact, however, senior agency officials may often lack an adequate understanding of how the technology can be deployed in support of their agencies' missions, as well as an adequate understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. As a result, they are reluctant to assume responsibility for bold and innovative uses of the tech- nology, which, if competently developed and implemented, could greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their information intensive enterprises. To the need for better management education, moreover, one must also add the need for improved in-house technical support to assist management decision making on a continu- ing basis. P.L. 89-306, the so-called "Brooks Bill," as- signs technical support responsibility to the Department of Commerce, and specifically to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). The NBS program, however, is almost ex- clusively concerned with the federal government's use of computers; its responsibilities do not include technical support for the government's use of telecommunications, which falls within the province of the newly created National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Department of Commerce. These three problem areasâacquisition, management education, and technical support for management decision makingâgo far toward explaining the federal government's weakness in making efficient and effective use of computer- based information technology. Nonetheless, they are not the whole explanation, since, as one might expect, the agencies' performance here, as in other areas, is also
81 affected by their need to respond to an array of competing public policy concerns. Objectives and constraints estab- lished by laws such as the Freedom of Information Act,' ft Q the Federal Records Act, and the Federal Reports Act3 all have an effect on how the agencies perceive their op- portunities to use modern information technology efficiently and effectively. In recent years, moreover, the legal and social policy issues surrounding efforts to prevent unwar- ranted intrusions on personal privacy have had an especially strong influence on agency acquisition and utilization practices and, in fact, have stymied, for good or ill, a great number of proposed system procurements. THE AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY DIMENSIONS OF THE PERSONAL PRIVACY ISSUE As indicated in Chapter I, applications of computer-based information technology are believed by some to be capable of changing the balance of power both between organizations and individuals and among organizations themselves. Thus, as one thinks about improving the federal government's capacity to use the technology efficiently and effectively, two questions need to be asked: (1) Is it possible to protect personal privacy and other interests of individ- uals that have recently been established by statute or regulation? (2) Can the federal government's computing and telecommunications facilities be operated so as to allow politically and socially desirable distributions of institutional authority and accountability to be main- tained or even enhanced? The answer to the second of these questions, in particu- lar, is far from clear. The impact that applications of computer-based informa- tion technology can have on established patterns of insti- tutional authority and accountability is not well understood. Nonetheless, the basic fear is that by augmenting an agen- cy's ability to perform its mission, one may in fact enlarge its authority beyond what the Congress intended it to have or at least present the potential for such enlargement. This could lead to limitations on personal freedom for which the fair information practice and confidentiality rights afforded by conventional privacy protection laws provide no effective counter. To appreciate this line of reasoning, one needs to rec- ognize the breadth of federal agency enforcement authority and the traditional looseness of statutes governing
82 interagency disclosures of information about individuals. Thus, the issue is whether the agencies, in deciding when and how they will use computer-based information tech- nology to perform their statutorily authorized missions, should be given a free hand to enforce any provision of law currently on the books, or whether the Congress should involve itself in the utilization decisions with a view to eliminating authorities that no longer make sense or which, if fully exercised, could become a vehicle for in- truding into people's lives in unintended ways or on an unprecedented scale. Because applications of computer-based information technology tend to make it easier and cheaper for an agency to store and retrieve the information it collects and main- tains about individuals, who the users of that new capacity should be is increasingly debated. Should an agency whose disclosure practices are not tightly regulated be allowed to enlarge the amount of information it can readily re- trieve from its files? Should an agency that historically has operated under tight constraints, but whose record- keeping systems now contain a much enriched store of easily retrievable records, be allowed or required to make those records available to other agencies? Such questions rarely have simple answers. On the one hand, disclosure constraints tend to promote duplication of record systems at a cost that the taxpayer ultimately bears. Forbidding duplication or otherwise depriving an agency of useful information can also add to the taxpayer's bill by promoting inefficiency. On the other hand, fail- ing to impose constraints or allowing existing ones to be relaxed can imply important changes in the relationship between what people expect to happen to the information they divulge to an agency about themselves and what actually happens to it. That, too, can have costs if individuals, to protect themselves against unanticipated disclosures, begin to refuse to divulge all the information asked of them or if, fearing that what they tell about themselves in one context will come back to haunt them in others, they begin to modify their behavior in ways they think will lessen the government's interest in them. Although there are many situations in which this could conceivably occur, one need not look beyond the "McCarthy" era and the "Water- gate" years, for worrisome real-life examples. In the Tax Reform Act of 1976,10 some of these disclo- sure policy issues were squarely addressed with respect to the information individuals divulge about themselves to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). There the Congress
83 decided that because people are legally compelled to file tax returns, and because the IRS could not function if most of them did not do so willingly, the disclosure rules governing other agencies' access to individual tax returns should be greatly tightened. So far, however, the IRS rules and practices are the only ones that have been sub- jected to such a thoroughgoing examination and revision. As indicated, these concerns about mission expansion are also believed to have some potentially important structural and managerial dimensions. In the law enforcement area, for example, there is concern about whether a Federally sponsored or managed system for the exchange of criminal history information among federal, state, and local law enforcement entities will, in undesirable ways, augment the federal government's ability to influence the way law enforcement missions are performed at the regional, state, and local levels.11 Then, too, there are those who believe that giving any federal agency effective control over an information system essential to the states is a potentially undesirable step toward augmenting unnecessarily the power of the national government. The best way to keep bureaucratic authority in check, they argue, is to keep it from becoming cen- tralized. One achieves that by making sure that in any area of bureaucratic activity there are multiple centers of politically accountable decision making authority and responsibility, decision making centers, that is, that cannot be ordered to fall in line and can veto suggestions that they do so. Historically, this has been achieved by making sure that principles of governance such as the fed- eral separation of powers are respected. Today, those principles can be threatened by applica- tions of computer-based information technology tend to displace accountability from the state level to the fed- eral one, or that join federal, state, and local govern- ment agencies into information sharing networks for which no one using agency can be held fully responsible. This threat, moreover, is believed to arise not so much because the technology is hostile to pluralistic forms of gover- nance, but because those promoting its application are excessively concerned with achieving their own bureau- cratic objectives. Their professional biases and expec- tations, as well as the budgetary and management pressures to which they are subject, are not conducive to thinking about how their own objectives can and should be balanced against other, competing, considerations. Finally, there is concern about possible expansion of
84 agency missions at all levels of government as a consequence of what might be called "preemptive" uses of computer-based information technology. Consider, for example, the situa- tion of an individual who applies to a state or local government agency for a license of some sort. The state agency, before issuing the license, uses the technology to query a data bank maintained by a federal agency to which other states regularly contribute information about license applicants. The query produces a "hit"; that is, a message from the federal agency that the applicant previously ap- plied in another state and was rejected for some specified reason. The state receiving the message denies the appli- cation on the spot, despite the individual's insistence that he has never applied elsewhere or that whatever dis- qualifying information has been supplied about him is in- accurate or perhaps even false. How should one react to such a situation? On one hand it could be argued that the societal interest served by denying licenses to people with certain disqualifying char- acteristics is so great that even if the individual is telling the truth, the state should turn him down, and, in addition, leave to him the task of getting the mistake corrected. This would involve his interceding not only with the federal agency that runs the data bank, but also with some other state that supposedly submitted the dis- qualifying informationâno mean feat in either instance. On the other hand, one might say that because more than 50 jurisdictions contribute to the information system queried, the possibility of inaccurate information being retrieved from it is so great as to warrant requiring the state agency to take the individual at his word. If, upon fur- ther investigation, it turns out that he was, in fact, lying, the state agency can then rescind the license (as- suming it is able to locate him). Again, there is no easy solution. Yet given the possi- bilities for abuse when an individual's dealings with a government agency are not tempered by due process protec- tions, it does seem reasonable to ask whether an agency, just because it has access to a new type of information processing system, should be permitted, at its own discre- tion, to change the way its due process obligations are fulfilled. Moreover, if it is allowed to make such changes, should it be forced to do so as a condition of participat- ing in a federally sponsored or managed information sharing network? Or would that decision be left to the legislative authority in each participating political jurisdiction? These kinds of problems were officially recognized in
85 the Privacy Act of 1974, which requires each federal agency to report publicly on the likely impacts a new record- keeping system or system modification on the privacy and other personal rights of individuals, as well as on the federal principle of separation of powers.12 The legisla- tive history of the act offers few insights into the means by which the mentioned rights and relationships might be adversely affected, and provides no guidance as to how a system's impact on them might be measured. Nor is it clear that they are the only areas or ways in which exist- ing patterns of institutional authority and accountability might be upset. Meanwhile, for want of a clear understand- ing of the problem, to say nothing of a widely accepted solution to it, a number of agencies are currently unable to move forward in implementing needed improvements in their computing and telecommunications facilities. The following questions drawn from actual cases illus- trate the complexity of the agencies' current problems: (1) How might a nationwide network of automated record keeping systems to support the administration of federal and state social welfare programs be de- signed so as to assure that an individual's record is maintained according to fair information practices and its confidentiality is well protected? Does it make any difference whether the records pertaining to identifiable individuals in such a network are maintained locally or centrally, and, in either case, are there special kinds of accountability safeguards that should be considered indispensable? (2) When a network of communications linked computing facilities is being developed for use by state and local government agencies as well as federal ones, what limits should be placed on the participating parties' access to each others' record-keeping sys- tems? Are there general rules that should be applied, or should the rules vary according to the kinds of record keeping operations the network will serve? (3) Where one federal agency's efficiency or effec- tiveness may be enhanced by allowing it access to another agency's personal data record keeping systems, what kinds of anticipatory analysis should be done to assess the impact of such a change on the records of subjects who may be directly affected by it? Like- wise, what types of analysis should be made of the impact on the agency whose record systems may be made more accessible? How should the initial concern
86 for improved efficiency or effectiveness be balanced against any adverse impacts thereby identified? And by whom should this be done? (4) If it appears that adequate protection for per- sonal privacy and acceptable patterns of institutional authority and accountability can be assured by other means, does it still make sense to forbid one federal agency's computers to communicate electronically with those of another agency? (5) Could a "common user"^ network of communications linked computing facilities for use by the civilian agencies of the federal government be designed so as to make it easier rather than harder for the Congress to oversee the agencies' information sharing and use practices? (6) What level of physical, technical, and adminis- trative security should be required before a tele- communications facility is used to transmit personal information? SHARING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S INFORMATION RESOURCES The federal government, in the execution of its many pro- grams, collects and maintains vast amounts of information. Yet much of that information does not appear to be effi- ciently used. Instead of sharing their information re- sources with one another, the agencies more often than not develop their own. As a consequence, the amount of dupli- cate information collection and maintenance is significant. Overlap among agency programs suggests a need for much more interagency information sharing than occurs today. This is particularly true where agencies could benefit from evaluating related statistical data about the same populations, the same geographic areas, the same products, or the same industries. In addition, there are benefits to be derived from making the federal gov- ernment's information resources more accessible to users at other levels of government, in universities, other parts of the private sector, and to the public generally. Currently, the agencies appear to have few incentives to encourage wide public use of the information they main- tain. Some government regulations, such as the ones that govern the pricing of government documents, can actually impede rather than encourage information dissemination. For many potential users, even finding out what information is available is difficult, and for others the rules defining
87 proprietary rights to information can be formidable ob- stables. Privacy concerns can also be an undue impediment to sensible information sharing. Sometimes they properly justify withholding information, but on other occasions they may be used merely as a handy excuse. Finally, there is an important but as yet unresolved argument as to whether the federal government should make public, at no cost, information that is, or might be available commercially. Should the government, in effect, compete with private industry in developing information gathering and retrieval services? As indicated in Chapter IV, the federal government's failure to develop a firm policy about commercial versus publicly funded services has adversely affected its relation with other countries.15 Domestically, however, one can also identify similarly at- tractive opportunities that are being foregone for want of a clear understanding as to whether privately developed and marketed information gathering and retrieval services will end up competing with ones government establishes. THE ROLE FOR INDEPENDENT POLICY RESEARCH The efficiency and effectiveness with which the federal government uses computer-based information technology have not been systematically investigated, and analyses of the contribution that the technology has made or could make to improving agency productivity are not generally available. It seems clear, moreover, that a single study, pitched at a high level of generality, will not suffice. Rather, a variety of studies at different levels of reso- lution that reflect the great diversity among the federal government's many information related activities, and among its uses of available technology, will be needed. In particular, the development of a metholodogy for evaluating both effectiveness of utilization and contribu- tion to productivity needs consideration. This should be complemented by a study of the planning and budgeting pro- cesses that are needed to assure sound utilization of the technology by federal agencies and also by the development of a methodology for continuing evaluation of the level of computer-based information technology used to support key agency missions. Finally, there should be a number of policy related studies aimed at moving forward the resolution of key is- sues in each of the five problem areas discussed above âviz., acquisition, management education, access to
88 high quality technical support on a continuing basis, the authority and accountability dimensions of the personal privacy issue, and sharing the federal government's infor- mation resources. Policy Research Focused on the Acquisition Process Unless the processes by which the federal government ac- quires contemporary information technology are carried out well, the agencies are unlikely to use the technology efficiently and effectively. The federal procurement pro- cess, however, is an elaborate one. To protect the govern- ment from fraud and waste, complex and time consuming procedures have been developed. In addition there are many participantsâthe requesting agency, the vendor, the Gen- eral Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Manage- ment and Budget (OMB), the General Accounting Office (GAO), and, with increasing frequency today, the Congress. The President's Reorganization Project concluded that the acquisition process has a number of deficiencies.16 Some of its conclusions would benefit from more in-depth study and independent validation. In addition, a study should be inaugurated to determine whether the current pro- cedures for procuring computer-based information technology are an impediment to improving agency effectiveness and to assess the potential impact of the changes called for in the Reorganization Project's reports and related reports. A study should also be made of the effectiveness of OMB Circular A-109 as a device for encouraging technological innovation in the procurement of major computer systems. In particular, a project should monitor an ongoing agency venture under A-109 to determine: (1) whether there is a cause-effect relationship between the A-109 process and innovation; (2) whether there are ways to evaluate products at the "fly off" point that will both minimize procurement costs and be highly predictive of ultimate system performance; (3) whether the A-109 process, while seeking innovation, inhibits the use of standard software and the interchange of system modules between and among agencies; and (4) whether the multiple development costs that A-109 requires appear to be justified by the amount of innovation actually achieved.
89 Policy Research Focused on Management Education To help senior agency officials perform as competent, con- fident managers of the information intensive enterprises over which they preside, two different, but related, lines of analysis are needed. One is an investigation to deter- mine how formal programs of management and computer science and engineering education can be used to train prospective managers and information systems professionals to treat computer-based information technology as the powerful management tool it is. The other is a study aimed at identifying and developing ways to train today's senior agency officials for more active roles in deciding how the technology can be used to increase agency effectiveness. With regard to the latter, it should also be noted that the management education problem in state and local govern- ments is similar to that in the federal agencies. Thus, to facilitate the interchange of knowledge and experience between federal agencies and their state and local counter- parts, public-sector managers with adequate background to make good decisions will be essential.17 Policy Research Focussed on Assuring High-Quality Technical Support In addition to management competence, technical support competence is much needed. The areas in which much stronger technical support seems to be called for include: â¢ Application modelling and evaluation; â¢ Analysis of system costs and benefits; â¢ Data management: provision for interchange and shared usage; â¢ Networking and control of distributed applications; â¢ Software development and test techniques; â¢ System performance description, monitoring, and analysis; â¢ Evaluation of technical trends and costs associated with policies (on standards and leasing, for example) that aim to minimize costs at the subsystem level; â¢ Systems management training A study should be mounted to determine the degree to which these types of functions are needed and how they should be organized, chartered, staffed, and institution- alized. Furthermore, because many of the same needs also
90 exist at state and local levels, the Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations should be encouraged to interest itself in such undertakings. Research on Authority and Accountability Dimensions of the Personal Privacy Issue Computer-based information technology has many applications in which the users function interdependently. One of the more familiar ones is the "federal-state information sys- tem" in which users in different political jurisdictions share access to a centrally managed repository of records or data. Another is the conventional data processing service bureau in which public and private organizations share centrally managed computing capacity. Still a third is the "common user" network in which both data and com- puting capacity can be shared as the participants wish. The central management function is to primarily make sure that the communications links among the "nodes" in the network operate properly. To those who see applications of computer-based informa- tion technology upsetting established patterns of authority and accountability, the differences among the several types of networking applications are usually considered to be less important than the similarities. In cases particu- larly where the users of a network are government agencies, some fear that network participation will become an excuse for revising established patterns of authority and account- ability without asking for legislative permission to do so. In such situations, moreover, the "established" pattern can often be diffuse and ambiguousâthe product of past politi- cal compromises that have assumed continuing legislative oversight without specifically providing for it. Thus, for the designers of a government computer network, a key ques- tion is whether the rules of participation should reflect such diffusion and ambiguity wherever it exists, or whether the network's construction should be the occasion for clari- fying the users' authority and accountability relationships. Likewise, an equally important question is whether the network can be constructed so that subsequently each par- ticipant can easily be satisfied that modifying the con- trol structure for technical or economic reasons will not upset the authority and accountability pattern originally agreed to. Or, conversely, that modifications desired by the users for their own reasons can be readily made. A research project devoted to computer networking could
91 be quite useful, but it is essential that the research ques- tions be framed in ways that make sense to policy makers as well as to technologists. The research effort must also be multidisciplinary (i.e., involving social scientists and lawyers, as well as specialists in computing and telecommu- nications), and it must be carried out openly, preferably with sponsorship by both the Executive branch and the Congress. The research agenda should include: (1) Documenting, analyzing, and evaluating, through a series of case studies, the ways in which existing and proposed networking applications of computer- based information technology have altered or been deemed capable of altering established patterns of institutional authority and accountability; (2) Documenting, analyzing, and evaluating, through a series of case studies, the kinds of institutional objectives, concerns, and conflicts that shape the ways networking applications of computer-based infor- mation technology are proposed, developed, and imple- mented in the public sector; (3) Developing a methodology for assessing the likely consequences for both agencies and individuals of pro- posed changes in the ways government entities collect, maintain, use, or disclose identifiable information; (4) Stipulating the need, if any, for new legislation to define policies relating to the transfer of indi- vidually identifiable information between or among government agencies, and between federal agencies and external organizations; (5) Assessing the effectiveness of state-of-the- art computer and telecommunications security tech- niques and the relative costs for various levels of protection. Research on Sharing the Federal Government's Information Resources While the overlap among federal programs suggests a need for interagency information sharing, the need, if it in- deed exists, and the means to satisfy it, still must be defined.19 The following are some of the questions that need to be answered:
92 (1) Why have the efforts of some agencies to share their statistical data bases failed? (2) How can interagency information sharing be en- couraged without decreasing personal privacy or other legitimate individual or corporate interests? (3) What are the ways of assuring that the informa- tion to be shared is accurate and up-to-date? (4) What is the best way to organize and develop an experimental sharing arrangement? (5) What criteria should be used to assess the cost- effectiveness of any new sharing arrangement? (6) Can the requirements of cost-effective sharing be met using currently available computing and tele- communications technology? In addition, the issue of whether or how the federal government and the private sector might divide or otherwise share responsibility for making the federal government's information resources more readily accessible to users at state and local levels of government, in the private sector and among the public generally, deserves to be thoroughly explored. Plainly, a key question to be considered is whether any new arrangement to encourage interagency sharing of information should be designed so as to make the shared information also available to users outside the government.
93 NOTES AND REFERENCES 1. President's Reorganization Project, Federal Data Pro- cessing Reorganization Study: Summary of the Federal Data Processing Reorganization Project, Washington, D.C.: National Technical Infor- mation Service (NTIS A/N PB-294 543), 1979. Harris G. Reiche, et al., Acquisition Team Report (Washington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-283 757), 1978. C. R. Hagener, Central Agencies Team Report (Washing- ton, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-292 051), 1978. Robbin Hough, et al., Human Resources Team Report (Washington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-287 174), 1978. John Stucker, et al., Information Technology-Challenges for Top Program Management in the General Government Agencies, (Washington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-284 135), 1978. E. L. Dreeman, et al.. National Security Team Report (Washington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-288 799), 1978. Philip J. Kiviat, et al., Operational Management Team Report (Washington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-287 176), 1978. James McManama, et al., Personnel Team Report (Wash- ington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-287 175), 1978. Louis Haire, et al., Science and Technology Team Re- port (Washington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-201 698), 1978. Herbert Pier, et al., Small Users Team Report (Wash- ington, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-284 134), 1978. Paul Oliver, et al., Standards Team Report (Washing- ton, D.C.: NTIS A/N PB-283 756), 1978. 2. See, for example, Problems Found with Government Acquisition and Use of Computers from November, 1965 - December, 1976, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977; GAO Report No. FGMSD-77-14 and reports of several other studies carried out by the Automatic Data Processing group of GAO's Financial
94 and General Management Studies Division. These, and other relevant GAO reports, too numerous to list here, can be identified through the semi-annual publication General Accounting Office Publications, and the monthly GAO Documents - Catalog of Reports, Decisions and Opinions, Testimonies and Speeches. 3. See, for example, Martha M. Gray, Computers in the Federal Government: A Compilation of Statistics - 1978. NBS Special Publication 500-46 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce), 1979, which presents statistical data on the numbers of computers installed in the Federal government and in specific federal agencies; the dollar values of computers in- stalled; federal ADP costs by agencies; federal com- puters by acquisition date; and federal ADP work years. 4. See GAO publications referred to in Note 2 above. See also, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, Surveys and Investigation Staff, Acquisition of Automatic Data Processing Systems within the Department of Defense and Other Federal Agencies, May, 1978. 5. Ibid. In supporting the need for such changes, these reports provide an extensive array of observations and facts that highlight a number of problems. 6. U.S. Bureau of the Budget. Report to the President on Government Contracting for Research and Development, prepared by the Bureau of the Budget and referred to, the Committee on Government Operations, United States Senate (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office), 1962. Also available as Senate Document No. 94, 87th Congress, Second Session, 1962. 7. 5 U.S.C. 552 8. 44 U.S.C. 3301-3314 9. 44 U.S.C. 3501-3511 10. P.L. 94-445 11. Concern is also being expressed about federal funds and technical expertise used to support computer- based information gathering activities of State and
95 local domestic intelligence units. To the extent that such applications of computer-based information technology are funded in whole or in part by a fed- eral agency, the ability of any state or local legis- lative entity to monitor and control their information system operations may be limited. 12. 5 U.S.C. 552a (o) 13. A "common user" network is one that allows the partici- pating organizations to use each other's computing equipment and associated applications programs and data bases. The ARPANET described in Chapter II, pp. 20-2l, supra., is the one Federally managed "common user" network currently operating. The ARPANET, has been developed by the Department of Defense to serve the computing needs of a group of government-funded research centers. In 1974, the General Services Administration proposed another "common user" facil- ity, called FEDNET, for use by the civilian agencies. Congressional and public concern about threats to personal privacy, however, forced GSA to withdraw the proposal and to date it has not been revived. 14. With this in mind, the Executive Office of the Presi- dent has recently been studying ways of using computer- based information technology to make timely, accurate information available to the President and the Congress. 15. Pp. 57-58, supra. 16. President's Reorganization Project, Federal Data Pro- cessing Reorganization Study: Harris G. Reiche, et al., Acquisition Team Report, op. cit. 17. State and local governments can also benefit signifi- cantly from effective use of computer-based informa- tion technology. To the extent that the problems of individual states are similar, it is important to share with them techniques that contribute to more effective use of available technology. On a different scale, this is also true of local governments. In support of these observations, one should note that: â¢ The number of state and local government employ- ees is approximately three times that of the Federal government and is faster growing.
96 â¢ Revenue sharing and other delegations of fed- eral authority increase the importance of sound management at the State and local level. â¢ Recent studies of how computer-based information technology is used at the state and local level in particular indicate the difficulties inherent in seeking to diffuse and utilize information about the technology's capabilities. For a cogent analysis of some federal attempts to diffuse scientific and technological know-how to state and local governments, see, Irwin Feller, Diffusion and Utilization of Scientific and Technolo- logical Knowledge within State and Local Governments, Report to the National Aeronautics and Space Adminis- tration (University Park, PA: Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation, The Pennsylvania State Uni- versity) , January, 1979. 18. For a discussion of key issues in this area, see "The Relationship Between Citizen and Government: The Privacy Act of 1974," in U.S. Privacy Protection Study Commission, Personal Privacy in an Information Society, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office), July, 1977, pp. 498-536. 19. See, for example, A Report of the Commission on Federal Paperwork: Final Summary Report (Washington, D.C.: Commission on Federal Paperwork), October 3, 1977; and, also, "The Citizen as Participant in Research and Statistical Studies," in Personal Privacy in an Information Society, op. cit., pp. 567-604.