Monday, December 7, 2009

What is information policy?
Information policy is more of a concept that became a policy. Information policy is the act of evaluating what kind of information will be stored, how it will be evaluated once stored as well as who has access to that information once it is stored. Information policy also determines if that information once cataloged will be free to the public or if there will be a charge for that information. Information policy is typically handled by governmental agencies and from there the government determines the rules and regulations in which private information providers and the media will operate. Information policy includes the following, intellectual property rights, protection of personal privacy, freedom of information access, just to name a few.
When we think of housing regulations, policies that govern education or legislative policies to protect citizens, we are readily able to think of laws that protect those entities. Information policy is the same concept, laws that govern information. Copyrights, surveillance videos in public places, regulation of the Internet and crimes that may occur are all a form of what information policy protects.
Why we need information policy
Information policy is less visible because there are not always clear cut laws in place. With technology growing as fast as it is, sometimes laws have not caught up with all of all of the types of crimes. Information policy tends to be a bit ambiguous because it covers decisions, interest groups and laws not yet brought into policy. Information policy affects all of us because without information, we don’t function individually and definitely not as a society. Information policy covers everything from using your credit card, voting, enrolling your child in school as well as health care. Telephone systems, cable television, HIPPAA laws (health insurance medical privacy acts) as well as Facebook are forms of information that we encounter everyday that are governed by information policies and we are protected by these policies.
It seems the difficult part is making sense of the concept of information policy, what it means and how to regulate it. A concept is difficult to understand when it constantly is growing and evolving due to the information it covers and as we know information is always changing.

Burger, R. (1993). Information policy: a framework for evaluation and policy research. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Pub. Corp., c1993
International encyclopedia of information and library science / edited by John Feather and Paul Sturges. London ; New York : Routledge, 2003. 2nd ed. 278-284

1 comment:

Valerie said...

"With technology growing as fast as it is, sometimes laws have not caught up with all of all of the types of crimes. Information policy tends to be a bit ambiguous because it covers decisions, interest groups and laws not yet brought into policy."

We talk about this very thing at least once in a week where I work, with regard to copyright and licensing of electronic databases for the purposes of ILL. We even attended a "webinar" on the subject and were dismayed to realize that even the people leading the discussion didn't have clear cut answers. It's very frustrating.