For years, the federal government has sought the private sector’s help in protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure. In response, corporate executives have sought assurances that information they shared with the government would stay hidden as it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Now they have that assurance. The law creating the Department of Homeland Security signed by President Bush last November contains a provision that protects information given to the government that pertains to “the security of critical infrastructure and protected systems, analysis, warning, interdependency study, recovery, reconstitution or other informational purpose.” The provision means that not only is such information exempt from FOIA requests from the public, but it also stipulates that the government won’t use the information in any civil action without prior written consent from the source.
There is a catch: Companies or people that share such information must give written notice that it falls under the protections of this law, the Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002.