Balancing Open Government and Privacy Protection

One of the primary mechanisms for creating an open Government is publishing information online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used web search applications. Although there is a great desire for openness, there are competing demands in health and safety surveillance and research for protection of information whose release would threaten national security, invade personal privacy, breach confidentiality, or damage other genuinely compelling interests. These competing needs present significant challenges when creating policies for planning, developing, and deploying public use datasets based on health and safety research, surveillance, and field evaluations. Policies for releasing and sharing data from these activities must balance the study participants' rights to privacy and requirements to protect confidential business information against public health benefits and the need for timely and transparent development of science-based policies.

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