Monday, March 02, 2009

U.S. Government Continues to Keep Its .Gov Domain Names Secret

Thomas Claburn writes on InformationWeek:

President Obama in January promised "an unprecedented level of openness in government." But the government has yet to get the memo.

Asked in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to provide a list of the .gov domains, including the agency registering the domain, the General Services Administration declined, citing 2007 Department of Justice FOIA guidelines.

The GSA claims that "release of the requested sensitive but unclassified information presents a security risk to the top level Internet domain enterprise."

The decision comes despite an explicit directive by the president to agency heads in January that FOIA requests should be decided in favor of openness.

"All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government," the president's memo states. "The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA."

In January, there were 4,657 .gov domains, a number that, according to the GSA, has been growing at a rate of about 10% annually for the past few years. Some 1,724 of the domains are associated with federal agencies and 2,424 are associated with cities and counties. Native American tribes have about 107.

More here.


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