The General Services Administration (GSA) has been negotiating terms of service agreements with social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube so that federal agencies can use of these social media tools without violating federal regulations. See news coverage here:
- GSA signs deals for agencies to use social networking sites, by Jill R. Aitoro, NextGov, 03/25/2009.
- GSA Signs Facebook Agreement, by Gautham Nagesh, TechInsider, 04/29/09.
Joshua Tauberer (who brought us govtrack.us and other useful sites) has done a preliminary analysis of these agreements:
- GSA social media TOS review, Joshua Tauberer’s Blog, May 29th, 2009.
While I am encouraged by the GSA’s forward thinking to make use of the latest technologies developed in the private sector, I believe that working with the private sector poses a number of risks to government data, to the public’s privacy and free speech rights, and to good governance. These risks can be minimized and some useful provisions have been included in the negotiated TOS’s along these lines, but far more careful thinking is necessary.
While several of the TOS addressed accessibility and privacy concerns, none of the TOS addressed security, nondiscrimination, archival access to media, the TOS the public are required to enter into to access government content through these services, and web media data formats.
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