Data Restrictions

Most of this site concerns rights and restrictions imposed on scientists while they work for government agencies. After leaving public service, most of those restrictions drop away.

Unless working inside the intelligence community, former government employees are free to write memoirs, speak to the media or share their knowledge with future employers.

Government documents are not subject to copyright but note, however, that some work by government contractors may be

With very few exceptions, such as classified information or sensitive encrypted technology, information from inside government agencies may be published. Government restrictions, such as new categories like “controlled unclassified information”, have no further application to those who have left government service.

If there is any doubt about the public nature of information a former employee wishes to publish, he/she may simply file a public records or Freedom of Information Act request for the records or data
in question.

The only meaningful post-government restrictions are Revolving Door statutes governing employment activities of former federal and many state employees. These statutes seek to prevent conflicts of interest (often called Switching Sides) by restricting post-government representational activities (such as lobbying) for private employers to influence current officials in the same agencies and/or on the same matters which the former government employee worked. It is important to note that these laws usually carry criminal penalties.