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S. 717 (112th): Public Online Information Act of 2011

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

4/4/2011--Introduced. Public Online Information Act of 2011 - Establishes a Public Online Information Advisory Committee to: (1) coordinate and encourage the government's efforts to make information from all three branches of government available on the Internet, and (2) issue and update nonbinding guidelines on how the government should make public information available.

Directs the government to make public records available on the Internet at no charge, except as imposed by federal law before this Act's enactment. Requires: (1) public records to be permanently available on the Internet; (2) current information technology capabilities to be applied to the means by which records are made available and to the formats in which they are available; (3) public records to be made accessible through programs and equipment that are readily available to the general public; and (4) each agency to publish on the Internet a comprehensive, searchable, machine processable list of all records it makes publicly available.

Delineates the roles of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government, and the chief information officers of independent regulatory agencies, including granting narrow case-by-case exceptions to the Internet publication requirement if an agency requests an exception and demonstrates that: (1) there is clear and convincing evidence that the record should not be made available on the Internet, and (2) on balance the harm caused by disclosure significantly outweighs the public's interest in having the record available on the Internet.

Directs the Inspector General of each agency to conduct periodic reviews regarding agency compliance with Internet publication requirements. Sets forth provisions regarding enforcement of public access by private individuals or organizations.

Urges: (1) judicial and legislative agencies to adopt or adapt the Advisory Committee's recommendations, and (2) the Government Printing Office (GPO) to make all of its publications permanently available on the Internet in a multiplicity of formats.