Strengthening the Information Quality Act to Improve Federally Disseminated Public Health Information

Daren Bakst

ABSTRACT

Information that can undermine public health can be widely disseminated. But what should be done when the federal government is the source disseminating this misinformation? The Information Quality Act (IQA), enacted in 2000, makes it possible for the public to serve as a check on government dissemination of information and the soundness of agency science. The text of the IQA requires federal agencies to “issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by the agency.” The IQA can help to ensure the accuracy and credibility of the information disseminated by agencies. Unfortunately, the IQA has not achieved its potential, in large part because of excessive agency discretion and insufficient agency accountability. This Article explains the importance of ensuring the accuracy and credibility of federally disseminated information, provides background on the IQA, and explains how the law can be strengthened to achieve better information and policy outcomes.

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