Yesterday, the Web Integrity Project at the Sunlight Foundation released its third report about Web censorship at the Office on Women’s Health (OWH): Removal of Breast Cancer Website and Related Webpages from within HHS’s Office on Women’s Health Website. The report documents how the OWH Breast Cancer website and corresponding factsheets, which contained information about the disease, including symptoms, treatment, risk factors, and public no- or low-cost cancer screening programs, have been entirely removed from within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) website and are no longer found elsewhere on the OWH site.
The office did not proactively announce or explain the removals. The Paperwork Reduction Act1 requires that any agency must “provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying, or terminating significant information dissemination products.” The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) also reminded agencies in December 20162 that when significant changes are made to agency websites, federal web records, including data sets, must be scheduled and transferred to NARA for preservation. A question has been sent to NARA as to whether the agency has complied.
1 Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. § 3506(d)(3)
2 NARA, “Agency Responsibilities for Managing Web Records”, December 22, 2016.