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For some government agencies, it’s only official if it’s on floppies

Federal Register still receives agency notices for publication on floppy disks.


Imagine this scenario: your job is to take hundreds of pages worth of content every day and publish it to the Web, but the only way you’re guaranteed to get that content is on paper. If you’re lucky, the paper copy comes with an electronic version on CD—or a 3.5-inch floppy disk.

That’s exactly what happens at the Federal Register, the New York Times reports. The federal publication, a record of executive orders, proposes regulatory changes and other official federal notices. It’s assembled by an office of the National Archives and published on the Web and in print daily by the Government Printing Office. And while the laws and regulations that govern how agencies are required to submit content to the Register allow for digitally signed e-mail messages, some agencies haven’t implemented the public-key infrastructure (PKI) required to send such messages. Flash drives and SD cards aren’t even allowed yet because they didn’t exist at the time the regulations were written.

That means that a number of agencies still submit their notices by courier and on floppy disk. Amy P. Bunk, the Federal Register’s director of legal affairs and policy, told the Times that while many agencies now do use signed e-mails, the GPO could not make it mandatory until Congress amends the Federal Register Act and provides the funding required for all agencies to implement PKI. But due to budget cuts, some agencies are at least a year away from having PKI in place.

Article found here.

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