House Passes Bill to Prevent “Over-Classification” of Federal Information

This week the House of Representatives, by voice vote, approved H.R. 6575, the “Over-Classification Reduction Act.” The legislation directs the Archivist of the United States, in consultation with the heads of affected agencies, to promulgate regulations to prevent the over-classification of information throughout the federal government. The Archivist is charged with clarifying when classified products should be prepared in a standard format and when classified products should be prepared in an unclassified format.

The bill contain provisions to allow federal employees to challenge without retribution information designations, require agency Inspectors General to randomly audit classified information, and to ensure compliance by requiring the name or personal identifier of the employee or contractor classifying the information to be included with the designation. The legislation also requires training of federal agency employees and contractors who have classification authority.