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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

The divide between new technology and what the government understands about it

As a complement to Cory Doctorow’s excellent talk about “The Coming War on General Purpose Computation” (see http://freegovinfo.info/node/3594), an article in Miller-McCune says we need a better understanding of technology before trying to regulate it.

  • SOPA Debate Highlights Congress’s Ignorance, By Emily Badger, Miller-McCune (December 29, 2011).

    When members of Congress earlier this month considered the Stop Online Piracy Act — better known to anyone who actually hangs out on the Internet as #SOPA — the most notable feature of the debate turned out to be the sheer ignorance of the elected officials discussing it. One after the other, members of the U.S. House of Representatives professed — nay, bragged about — approaching this weighty legislation from the vantage point of someone who is not “a nerd” or a “tech expert.”

The article highlights the book, The Information Diet by Clay Johnson, which discusses the relationship between power, authority, and information.

Lunchtime Listen: The Coming War on General Computation by Cory Doctorow

You have probably seen references to this presentation by Cory Doctorow, but if you have not taken the time to watch it (or read the transcript), I urge you to do so. He not only explains the issues and their importance, but why laws and regulations that sound reasonable to many people manage to fail in accomplishing their stated goals while simultaneously having disastrous unintended consequences.