Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization - G.17

Performance Evaluation of the Federal Reserve G.17 (419) Statistical Release — June 2014

V. Security of Data and Prior Disclosure

The G.17 is a bundled component of the General Support System for the Divisions of Research and Statistics (R&S) and Monetary Affairs, which is continuously monitored for compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and the Federal Reserve Board's Information Security Program. In addition, the operations involved in producing the G.17 were reviewed by the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Board in the summer of 2005. Once the compilation of current IP has begun, internal access to the IP data files is limited to a pre-determined group of individuals within the Industrial Output Section. Individual user access of the division's systems requires a password which must be changed every 60 days.

During the monthly IP process, interim reports may be provided to division officers, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, and a select few other members of the R&S division. Once IP is finalized, senior division staff members are briefed, usually in the morning of the day prior to the release day, and the Chair is provided with summary tables after that meeting. All of these updates are treated as "Internal FR" within the Board. The press release text and summary tables are provided to a member of the Economic Editing Section and to the Office of Public Affairs for review on the day prior to publication. Early afternoon on the day prior to the release day, encrypted tables are e-mailed to the Council of Economic Advisers; later that day, encrypted copies of the release are e-mailed to them.

On the morning of the publication of IP, the Office of Public Affairs provides embargoed access to the release for credentialed reporters via a secure electronic system. The Office of Public Affairs maintains written agreements with credentialed news organizations and eligible reporters at each organization that govern embargoed prerelease access.

To the Federal Reserve's knowledge, there have been no occasions in the past three years in which someone within the Federal Reserve System disclosed to the public the G.17 prior to the scheduled release. The sole instance of such an event in earlier years occurred on April 15, 2005, when the G.17 was inadvertently posted to the Federal Reserve's public website 15 minutes prior to its official release time of 9:15 a.m.

Although very rare, on a few occasions news organizations have released information prior to the official release time. When these incidents occur, the news organization is required per its agreement with the Office of Public Affairs to do the following: If it maintains a desk at the Treasury Department's press room, notify its competitors of the broken embargo by alerting the room and immediately informing the Board's Office of Public Affairs of the incident. At that time, the Board would consider the embargo broken and immediately releases the information to the public. The Office of Public Affairs follows up with a senior official at the responsible news organization to determine why the embargo was broken and to ensure that the issue is remediated. The Office of Public Affairs can sanction news organizations for violations of the written agreements, including by restricting access to future embargoed material. In the last three years, only one such incident has occurred involving the G.17. In March 2013, a wire service reporter who was unfamiliar with the organization's new computer system inadvertently released information from the G.17 four minutes before the official release time of 9:15 a.m. The news organization committed to provide additional training for its staff and to make changes to the computer system to prevent similar accidents. The Board's Office of Public Affairs temporarily restricted the organization's access to embargoed material following this incident.

Last update: June 27, 2014