Within the Department of Transportation (DOT), DOT's Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO), within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST), is responsible for leading DOT's compliance with the Open Government Directive issued by the Office of Management and Budget on December 8, 2009 (OMB Memorandum M-10-06). OCIO and other OST offices (principally, the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) and the Office of General Counsel (OGC)) provide technical, programmatic and legal support for DOT-wide compliance with the Open Government Directive. OMB's Open Government Directive requires agencies to take specific actions to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration as set forth in the President's Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, issued January 21, 2009.
As part of its support function for Open Government, OCIO issued policies (DOT Order 1351.24 "Departmental Web Policy" and DOT Order 1351.33 "Departmental Web-Based Interactive Technologies Policy") regarding use of third-party web sites and applications. These policies permit DOT public engagement and public affairs offices and Information Technology (IT) support personnel to use third-party web sites and applications (i.e., "non-.gov" sites, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) to provide information and services to the public and to provide social media tools (such as blogs) for members of the public to use to engage with DOT regarding DOT programs. On a "non-.gov" site, the third party that operates the site collects certain mandatory information about users of the site as necessary to operate the social media tools (for example, to register or enroll users to submit comments to the site or to receive information alerts from the site). The third party may also solicit and collect optional information about users of the site for the third party's own commercial purposes. The mandatory and optional information collected by the third party could include personally identifiable information (PII) about individual users. The third party could make some of this PII publicly available to other users of the site (for example, a user's personal email address may appear on the site if the user is using it as his or her public ID; "friending" may reveal some of the user's personal profile information to the user who is "friended"). In addition, individual members of the public may include other PII in their public interactions with the site (such as, by including PII in comments they submit to the site).