The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance on Nov. 12 for Federal agencies on accepting records requests digitally, and sets them on the path to setting up ways to do that over the next year.
“Modernizing these processes across the Federal Government is important to facilitating transparency and enabling access to Federal programs through seamless and secure digital service delivery,” the memorandum states. “In an effort to modernize and simplify the process, the CASES Act [Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents Act] requires OMB to issue guidance that requires agencies to accept access and consent forms from individuals properly identity-proofed and authenticated remotely through digital channels.”
In accordance with the law, Federal agencies must provide a digital service option so that individuals have the ability to request access to or consent to disclosure of their records digitally. Within one year of the memorandum, agencies should complete the following:
- “Accept remote identity-proofing and authentication for the purposes of allowing an individual to request access to their records or to provide prior written consent authorizing disclosure of their records under the Privacy Act;
- Post on the agency website’s program page the forms developed using the templates provided in the appendix to this guidance as customized by the agency; and
- Accept the access and consent forms from any individual properly identity-proofed and authenticated remotely through digital channels for the purpose of individual access to records or for authorizing disclosure of the individual’s records to another person or entity, including congressional office.”