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Teat6351

Government Furnished Information

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I couldn't find this topic covered on the forum. Government Furnished Information (GFI) is not covered under Part 45 as I found???.... As it relates to unclassified GFI (not classified GFI), if no special contract requirements exist for managing unclassified Government Furnished Information under a contract, what would be a good rule of practice as it relates to controls and management (tracking) and later dealing with return or destruction of such information. I suspect some general guidance would be found somewhere so contractors don't displace such information, and at some point the responsibility of the contractor to identify and later return such information is paramount (in my opinion). I did note that DFAR 252.227-7025 deals with limitation on use and disclosure, but doesn't discuss controls, reporting etc. So at this point I am just confused on what requirements are designed to handle GFI.

If I have missed something in the FAR or DFAR or elsewhere as it relates to managing GFI please let me know as I did try to do research but found very little.

thanks!

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Are you asking about physical media that contain information, or the information itself?

Physical media are property as defined in FAR 45.101, and if its Government property, as defined in 45.101, and furnished to the contractor, then it seems to me that it's Government-furnished property as defined in 45.101. Thus, FAR Part 45 applies accordingly, unless the contract says otherwise. Why not ask your contracting officer what he or she wants you to do with it.

If you're asking about the information itself, and not about any physical media in which it is contained, then you are asking an entirely different question. If the information is not classified, I suggest that you ask the contracting officer how he or she wants you to treat it.

Make sense?

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Vern thanks for probing. The property is sometimes provided on physical media and at other times is provided electronically. If electronically provided is there a requirement for controls?

But to go further, if the information (lets say software) that resides on the physical media is put into a database, what rules apply then?

Not trying to overcomplicate it, but seems as though if we are talking controls then at some point we are responsible for the dispersions of that information within our systems.

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Teat6351:

There are two distinct but related problems.

1. Physical control of any physical media.

2. Control of communications of information to others.

I think that you are asking about the second problem, which is a matter of intellectual property rights. There definitely are rules about what you can and must do with information provided to you by persons have intellectual property rights and by others. Some of those rules are in statutes, like copyright and trade secret protection, and some in private agreements, such as licensing agreements. The consequences for violating those rules can be severe.

The topic is too vast for simple answers at a website like this one. If you have intellectual property in your possession and you have questions about Problem 2, above, it is absolutely essential that you consult an intellectual property attorney. I absolutely will not try to answer your questions or give advice here.

Best regards.

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I think you are over-complicating it.

The Government Property rules are written for property -- tangible property -- real and personal property -- see FAR 45.101. Government Property rules do not apply to data or information. We should not try to stretch the Government Property rules to cover data or information.

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Teat6351:

ji20874 is, presumably, talking about Problem 1, as I outlined it in Post #4. I think you are asking about Problem 2.

If you are, then you are not overcomplicating the problem. If anything, you are oversimplifying it.

If you are asking about use, communication, and protection of intellectual property in your possession, then do as I suggested. Consult a knowledgeable attorney.

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I agree with Vern, except that it might not just be intellectual property reasons. My point -- Don't even talk about information or data in a Government Property context -- it doesn't fit.

The original poster hasn't told us why his or her information needs to be protected. He or she hinted at software, but didn't explain why.

Many agencies and contracting officers have experience in awarding contractors that provide for the sharing of information or data which the contractor must protect -- sometimes for intellectual property reasons (including licensing reasons), sometimes for security reasons, sometimes for privacy reasons, sometimes for other reasons. For example, see the clause used by DHS under HSAR Class Deviation 15-01, Safeguarding of Sensitive Information (MAR 2015) -- para. ( d )( 2 ) of that clause says, "The Contractor shall not use or redistribute any sensitive information processed, stored, and/or transmitted by the Contractor except as specified in the contract." http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/HSAR%20Class%20Deviation%2015-01%20Safeguarding%20of%20Sensitive%20Information.pdf

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let me clarify my question, for unclassified GFI what are the regulations (if any) that are described to in the FAR of DFAR for GFI as it relates to management and control. The FAR seems to indicate that FAR 45 is not applicable.

Now to Vern's point, information that's provided via physical media would be controlled no different than government furnished property as described in Part 45... I can buy into that point, I just find it strange its not documented in the FAR, but seems logical nonetheless.

Now information that is provided through email, or other electronic means that are not tied something tangible, what is the typical practice of control and management and is there any recommendations through the FAR or DFAR that further describes the requirements on the contractor (this assumes no special clauses are present in your contract that describes such practices)?

My last point, the government information that is provided to contractors through electronic means is later inputted into the contractor's system (database, etc), at the end of a contract that information would need to be dispositioned, without a provision that I am aware of I am still unsure about how its managed.

I hope this is slightly clearer.

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Management of Unclassified Controlled Information (UCI) is an evolving topic. Bob Metzger of Rogers Joseph O'Donnell has made several of his presentations on the topic available on LinkedIn. There are other sources of information on the topic but, as I stated, it's an evolving area.

Google "Unclassified Controlled Information" and see what you get.

Hope this helps.

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I understand why you are trying to bring up IP rights, but that's a separate factor and I am not considering that in my question on this forum as it relates to mgt and control because I am looking more at the documented mgt aspect of GFI. I am just asking general rules as it relates to mgt and control that are prescribed in the FAR and DFAR. If neither resource says anything or there is not a general rule published then I wanted the experts to chime in.

Vern, you made a connection between two items that are not detailed in my reference material, and someone disagreed with you... with that said I agree that its probably the best practice as you described.

This is about expert opinions not legal advice, so your input is appreciated. We all work with this stuff, I want to understand the general practice. So thanks for your input.

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No one has disagreed with me.

The thing is, your question about "general practice"is so broad as to be very difficult to answer, especially since you have given us no idea what kind of information you are talking about. Is it personnel information? Technical data? Computer software? Something else entirely? Do you assume that there is an all-encompassing "general practice" for all kinds of unclassified information? Are you looking for a detailed description? Do you have any specific questions about practice?

Your last post mentioned "reference material". What's that?. That post contained the first mention of any "reference material."

Does your contract contain the Privacy Act clause, FAR 52.224-2? Does it apply to the information you're asking about? Does the S.O.W. prescribe any documents with which you must comply in this regard? Have you asked your contracting officer about what the government requires of you in this regard.

Look, since you don't want to consult an attorney who might be able to provide expert advice about your your obligations and potential liabilities and who might know about practices, take what you get here from people you don't know and run with it.

And good luck to you. I'm signing off this thread.

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I understand my question may be a bit loaded (that wasn't the intent).... My contract does not have provision related to privacy, nor does the information that we are discussing apply, the SOW has no reference materials, I have not asked the KO, never said anything about not consulting an attorney (poor assumption).

I assumed that information, rather it be software (in this case non-commercial) or other types of information like technical data, that is not classified and likely has markings such as FOUO or had similar protective marking, required some form of tracking to ensure that information was not lost throughout the life of a contract. I must be looking at this way too simply, and please forgive my ignorance as I wanted to get the jist of what to consider...some of that has been pointed out, but I suspect GFI is not discussed significantly in the FAR or DFAR because the focus is less on the control aspect (as it relates to tracking) and moreso on dissemination/distribution... which seems to be more of the focus of this thread and that still is not my question... I was only concerned with the perspective of tracking the information (and that also relates to reporting it while in our possession). If their are statutes that indicate protections, then by all means that's a mechanism of mgt and control. I was being a bit more simple in my viewpoint and only evaluating general practice of managing information and then later having to report it to the government.

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I wish you wouldn't keep calling it GFI -- that sounds too much like GFP.

We count and control and track and disposition Government Property. A technical manual or a floppy disk can be Government Property, because it is a tangible item of personal property (see definition of property in FAR 45.101). The information or data that is in the manual or on the disk is not property. How can you count information or data?

If you need a SOW provision or a clause in your contract to limit the contractor's use of information or data it obtains in the performance of the contract, you can say so. The text won't be all that hard to write.

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ji20874, thanks for the response.

Most of the information that is provided is Technical Data, specifically generated by the DoD, for analysis by our company. I am not sure what form or format that data is in, but I believe it may be distributed on various physical media and sent via email. We do receive software as well, the software is normally distributed by the USG with unlimited rights.... these are just examples. I'm sure there are more examples but I believe that's the predominance of the information we receive.

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ji20874:

In Post #14 you wrote: "I wish you wouldn't keep calling it GFI -- that sounds too much like GFP."

In Post #1, the OP referred to DFARS clause 252.227-7025, "Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends." Emphasis added.

Maybe that's why he calls the information GFI, because it's an official term. The term government-furnished information appears in 23 places in the FAR system, including FAR 7.105(16), which tells agencies to discuss "government-furnished information" in their acquisition plans.

Government-furnished information. Discuss any Government information, such as manuals, drawings, and test data, to be provided to prospective offerors and contractors. Indicate which information that requires additional controls to monitor access and distribution (e.g., technical specifications, maps, building designs, schedules, etc.), as determined by the agency, is to be posted via the enhanced controls of the GPE at http://www.fedbizopps.gov (see 5.102(a)).

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