Abstract - The Information Society 2 (3)

Access, security, and integrity issues for electronic databases: commentary on 'Policy issues for electronic databases and database systems' by Martha E. Williams

M M Mantei

A model of the database use chain is presented as a framework for assessing database policy issues. The use chain features 9 stages of database production, distribution, and use, according to: 1. the value added at each stage, 2. the costs of production, 3. supply and demand characteristics, and 4. proprietorship and control of data. The US government is heavily involved in the information industry as a database producer, vendor, and user; therefore, the government must take an active role in database policymaking. Database policy issues must be considered in the contexts of the economic value of databases, their social benefits, and their public and private production. Specific policy issues that must be addressed include: 1. database standardization, 2. copyright protection, 3. transborder data flows, 4. structural changes in the information industry, and 5. competition between public and private database producers. Mantei elaborates on these issues and concludes that government's primary role must be to ensure appropriate collection, dissemination, and control of data for the long-range benefits of society.

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