Freedom of information is a hot topic right now in my immediate circle. As enterprise 2.0 is slowly creeps into an organization it can highlight various cultural barriers to full adoption. The first introduction of emergent social software can be the spark that lights the fuse, forcing you to address how and why data is stored and access granted.
Take the example of Sharepoint. I know a number of companies and departments who are deploying the latest and greatest version of Sharepoint under the banner of ‘better collaboration’ and even ‘enterprise 2.0’. I have mixed feelings about Sharepoint but I will save that for another day. The problem is the access control features, or even defaults. From the instances I have seen, the access control has defaulted to ‘selected audience only’. So as your browse an intranet of Sharepoint sites can be confronted with access denied messages 8times out of 10. This may just be the case while the techies get to grips with default access permissions etc, but I fear it’s more of a cultural issue, where people slip into a silo mentality.
My personal view (and that of others I know if they wish to stop by and comment) is that by default we should do away with manually selecting who has access to your intranet content, and instead have open access as default. Otherwise, as the barrier to publishing content all but disappears, you will have users posting valuable information to just a fraction of the audience to whom it may benefit, or publishing duplicate material all over the intranet.