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Debate on access to government information
in electronic age scheduled for March 27
March 23, 1998

How to handle the delicate balance between a taxpayer's unfettered right to government information and a citizen's right to privacy in the electronic age will be discussed by two top federal officials during a March 27 colloquium.

Francis J. Buckley Jr., superintendent of documents at the Government Printing Office, and Gerald Gates, senior statistician in the policy office of the Bureau of the Census, will lead a discussion from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center's Konover Auditorium.

Both the Government Printing Office and the Bureau of the Census have been wrestling with decisions surrounding the need to ensure that citizens have easy and comprehensive access to information generated and distributed by the federal government. But, while the use of information technology promises inexpensive and ubiquitous access, there are difficult issues that must be addressed, including several policy implications, concerns about individual privacy and confidentiality, and the need to guarantee that government information is readily available to everyone.

Buckley has been superintendent of documents in the GPO since November 1997. For the past 20 years, he has spoken and written about the importance of public access to government information. In the late 1970s, he was a member of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on the Revision of Title 44, the law controlling dissemination of federal publications. He also was a member and chair of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer.

Gates is responsible for coordinating and encouraging the Census Bureau's use of administrative records to assist its statistical activities. He develops policy guidelines for the bureau's division relating to the collection, use, and dissemination of data. He has participated in numerous national and international efforts to promote data access while protecting confidentiality and was recently named a fellow of the American Statistical Association.

The event is part of IN-FORUM, a colloquium series sponsored by the University Libraries, the Chancellor's Library Advisory Committee, the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association (UCPEA) and the Connecticut Government Documents Round Table (CTGODORT).

Richard Veilleux