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Boston Globe: “public loses information”

In war’s name, public loses information By Charlie Savage, Boston Globe, April 24, 2005. (If that link doesn’t work, Try this one sent in from an anonymous commenter. Thanks Anonymous commenter!)

This is an excellent update on the how public information is being increasingly concealed from the public. The article makes clear the difference between the system for classifying information as “Confidential,” “Secret,” or “Top Secret,” and the “50 to 60 loosely defined security designations that can be imposed by officials as low-ranking as government clerks.”

The article lists many examples of loss of access to public information including:

  • topographic chart
  • phone book
  • environmental information
  • statistical report
  • planning document
  • report of intelligence failures
  • an entire electronic library of unclassified documents

Those interested in GPO polices and freely available government information will find this article interesting. GPO has described a vision of the future in which most digital government information will be authentically available only from a monolithic database of government information rather than deposited in FDLP libraries. When government publications are deposited in FDLP libraries it is cumbersome and can be controversial to remove them from those libraries. Replacing such a distributed system with a centrally controlled database could make it easier to remove and hide public information from the public. Depositing government information in FDLP libraries could make it more difficult to withdraw such information and thus prevent some of the problems described in this article.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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