Photo courtesy of the National Archives
Today, the Public Interest Declassification Board released online its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. It recommends fundamental changes that ensure the classification system will function fully to protect our nation’s security and to allow for democratic discourse in the 21st century. The full report can be found at http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/recommendations/transforming-classification.html.
We concluded that new policies for classifying and declassifying information are required. The classification system has not kept pace with our information age and no longer supports users as it should. The secrecy system should be streamlined and better aligned with safeguarding practices and less information should be classified overall. Overall, there needs to be a better balance between what is classified and what is available to the American public.
Technology is at the core of our recommendations for a needed transformation of the declassification system. Current page-by-page review processes are unsustainable in an era of gigabytes and yottabytes. New and existing technologies must be integrated into new processes that allow greater information storage, retrieval, and sharing. We must incorporate technology into an automated declassification process.
Our study involved the participation of stakeholders across Government, the private sector and civil society groups – thank you all for your comments and ideas. Please continue to follow the Board’s activities as we share our recommendations with our stakeholders and support this most important transformation area fundamental to transparency and open government initiatives.