Access and Feeds

Records Management: Classified Document Restrictions make Work from Home Difficult

By Dick Weisinger

Managing classified documents within the US federal government is expensive and challenging.

A 2017 report by Nara said that “the prohibitive cost of maintaining this outdated system continues to rise. ISOO estimates that in FY 2017 the Government alone spent $18.39 billion on security classification, while private companies spent another $1.49 billion to work with federal agencies under the National Industrial Security Program.”

The large number of classified documents has made life for federal workers that need access to these documents during the COVID-19 and work-at-home directives challenging.

Alissa Starzak, member of the Public Interest Declassification Board, told Federal News Network that “you can’t work with classified information from home, so thinking about how you build systems where you actually have the maximum access to information possible, based on the circumstances that you’re in, is really important. In a work-from-home environment, that actually has a remarkable amount of resonance for people, because you do want to make sure that people have access to information that they need to do their jobs, that there is some flexibility in how they connect with information. To the extent that you can reduce the complexity of a system, make sure that you declassify more, that actually enables some additional flexibility in just working from home or working in a somewhat less secure environment.”

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