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States Pass Thousands of Info Restriction Laws 158

Posted by Zonk
from the less-you-know dept.
nebaz writes "The AP has published an article analyzing over 1000 laws passed by state legislatures since 9/11, and discovered a disturbing trend. More and more information is being made unavailable to the public. Some of this information may seem reasonable, dealing with national security and all, but there are other things, such as safety plans at schools, medication errors at nursing homes, and disciplinary actions against state employees, that are becoming restricted." From the article: "In statehouse battles, the issue has pitted advocates of government openness - including journalists and civil liberties groups - against lawmakers and others who worry that public information could be misused, whether it's by terrorists or by computer hackers hoping to use your credit cards. Security concerns typically won out."
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States Pass Thousands of Info Restriction Laws

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  • privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:36PM (#14900065)
    Why is it the government can make pretty much anything secret even when it has nothing to do with security, and meanwhile citizens are losing more and more privacy from things like warrantless wiretapping? Bunch of hypocrites.
    • Re:privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:44PM (#14900112)
      Ignorance is Strength
    • You said, "Why is it the government can make pretty much . . ."

      Damn, you give they have of your labor and you expect to be treated with respect?

      Americans need to wake up and realize that the growth of governments is the single biggest threat facing our survival. Need I go on . . .
      • Solid comment... a little proofreading never hurt eh? Another note - Americans, as in North Americans? I think that's pretty ignorant to assume the U.S. comprises all Americans.
    • Re:privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrmeval (662166) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lavemrm]> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:00PM (#14900182) Journal
      It has nothing to do with hypocracy and everything to do with corruption and control.
      • Re:privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @09:40PM (#14900715)
        Most politicians do not care about their consituents. They care about themselves, they care about power, they care about staying in power as long as possible. Rarely do they do anything to relinquish that power. Locking up the communications, data, and government plans will further their goal of keeping the people dumb, and promoting their own power plans. And this crosses party lines. If anyone thinks that the left is different, look long and hard at people like Teddy Kennedy or Tom Daschle. Both of those clowns did very little to benefit their constituents. They're backstabbing fools who would do anything to stay in power.

        To anyone who thinks the right or the left is better, you've fallen into the media's trap. Look at the history of Rome. Power corrupts from within, and the media is blind to it, as are most people. We're in for a fall, and it's going to be a bad one.

        • Vote for me then.
          My platform consists of shooting all the corrupt politicians*. The moment I become corrupt I will thus shoot myself :-)
          -nB

          *not really, my platform is actually "constitutional fundamentalist", though shooting the corrupt politicians is a tempting idea to submit as the new national past time.
    • Re:privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by antarctican (301636) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:10PM (#14900227) Homepage
      Why is it the government can make pretty much anything secret even when it has nothing to do with security, and meanwhile citizens are losing more and more privacy from things like warrantless wiretapping? Bunch of hypocrites.

      Because politicians don't like public scrutiny. They suddenly have an excuse to close off access for information which could be used to hold them accountable or embrassass them. They like to make decisions behind closed doors which benefit themselves and their supporters and not have the nosey public interfering, heaven forbid the information could be used to toss them from office.

      Up north we're experiencing a similar problem at the federal and provincial (BC) level. Governments which are increasingly becoming more secret in their dealings and contracts - and we don't even have them using security as an excuse! Combine this with an apathetic public which just assumes all government is corrupt and you have a situation where the politicians get away with whatever they please.

      It's typical of right-wing governments, they know their agendas mainly benefit a small, elite group despite any rhetoric they may spew. This is why they like secrecy so much, heaven forbid the public actually catch on to the number that's being pulled on them.

      The solution is to stop whining and actually become politically active. Our cousins to the south certainly have a bigger battle ahead of them with a two party system where both parties are self-serving groups of individuals with a complete disconnect from the ordinary citizen. But if we continue fighting, in time we can wake the public up to this assault on democracy and freedom.
      • Re:privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:24PM (#14900285)
        Because politicians don't like public scrutiny. They suddenly have an excuse to close off access for information which could be used to hold them accountable or embrassass them. They like to make decisions behind closed doors which benefit themselves and their supporters and not have the nosey public interfering, heaven forbid the information could be used to toss them from office.

        Well, I agreed with you, until you said that this is typical of "right-wing governments" (implication: left-wing governments don't do this).


        "When given a choice between privacy and accountability we always choose privacy for ourselves and accountability for everyone else. This is especially noxious when it's some all-powerful leader making the choice."
          -David Brin [davidbrin.com]


        And not just politicians, but lawyers, police, teachers, non-profits, corporations, etc (but only the right-wing ones, right!?)

        • Mod up (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Humanity itself is flawed. We are greedy violent creatures that the political elite, both left and right, deny exist. Yet we carry on in a manner that exemplifies our animalistic ways. The main two political sides in the US are delusional and deny this. You have the delusional right who believe in a galactic good versus evil and define conservative as "how much money will it make me?". On the delusional left you have belief in cultural & monetary evil and the underlying goodness of humanity followed by
        • The only difference is the reaction, the right-wingers kick your arse and take your money, the left wingers take your money and lock you up for re-Nedification. I'm nearly 50 and still haven't worked out which is worse.
      • The USA doesn't have "a two party system where both parties are self-serving groups of individuals with a complete disconnect from the ordinary citizen"?
      • Re:privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BrynM (217883) * on Sunday March 12, 2006 @12:13AM (#14901116) Homepage Journal
        The solution is to stop whining and actually become politically active.
        Though you are in many ways correct, that is an idealistic point of view to hold here in the US. To ask a typical american to be "active" for anything sounds too much like work to them. Then come the mental justifications and excuses such as "I don't have time" or "well it really isn't my problem - it's waaaayyy over there". Further, to say "just participate" and not hand someone the tools to do it is a cop-out too many intelligent americans use.

        Instead, I've found it's better to encourage people to simply question everything - especially motivation. Then teach them to link up where they were right and be willing to laugh when they are wrong.

        For example, someone I knew was addicted to celebrity life and tabloid-ish who's hot and who's not type things. Any mention of politics would get his pat answer: "That may be life, but that's not living. Next Subject." It really bothered me that someone who was intelligent, cynical and funny could be that closed-minded.

        So I started pointing out that someone who was getting press in a slow crescendo (ie:"hot pictures" then "shocking scandal" then "heartfelt interview") probably had something like a movie or a book in the works. He eventually began to see when particular celebrity marketing machines were accelerating to generate buzz as well. Finally, he learned that he could apply those observation skills to anything. Today, he loves to talk politics as much as music. (Note: I didn't plan for this, but learned from what was happening over the course of months).

        "Question everything" is a cliche for a reason. Good advice is often repeated. Luckily it turns out that people actually like to be sceptical, but most don't know how to do it critically. Once they know how, they can't help but participate in some way.

        • Re:privacy (Score:4, Funny)

          by Woldry (928749) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @09:25AM (#14902218) Journal
          "Question everything"? Why? ;-)
        • Then come the mental justifications and excuses such as "I don't have time" or "well it really isn't my problem - it's waaaayyy over there".

          "I don't have time" is often the truth. I am politically active. I also work, on average, 70 hours per week and have a family. The sad reality is that my activism is constrained by available time, and there are a lot of enthusiastic, underworked idiots who devote far more time to politics than I can. That's (for example) how school boards get taken over by creationist

      • Because politicians don't like public scrutiny. They suddenly have an excuse to close off access for information which could be used to hold them accountable or embrassass them. They like to make decisions behind closed doors which benefit themselves and their supporters and not have the nosey public interfering, heaven forbid the information could be used to toss them from office.

        Exactly right.

        Democracy can't work in secrecy. In terms of government information, the only thing that absolutely must rem

    • No Hypocrites Here (Score:3, Insightful)

      by doublem (118724)
      It's not about being fair, but about maintaining control.

      It's the best interest of those in power to ensure they can keep a tight lid on everything, while demanding every aspect of the the citizens' lives be exposed to government review and scrutiny.

      Remember, your rights and life mean nothing to the government, except as grist for the money mill.
    • Why is it the government can make pretty much anything secret even when it has nothing to do with security, and meanwhile citizens are losing more and more privacy from things like warrantless wiretapping?

      The Government has nukes. Citizens don't.

      Besides, the government is made from the financial elite, and such individuals wield great power in a semi-capitalistic society even without being politicians and being able to use the US Army to enforce their will.

      Or, to put it in other words: In Imperial A

  • Irony... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dshaw858 (828072) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:36PM (#14900067) Homepage Journal
    Headline: "Politics: States Pass Thousands of Info Restriction Laws"
    Slashdot: "Nothing for you to see here, please move along"
  • Thousands of laws? (Score:4, Informative)

    by McShazbot (570442) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:38PM (#14900078)

    Thousands of laws? Um, not quite. From the article:

    Legislatures have passed more than 1,000 laws changing access to information

    and later in the article:

    States passed 616 laws that restricted access -- to government records, databases, meetings and more -- and 284 laws that loosened access. Another 123 laws had either a neutral or mixed effect

    The article is informative, and the actual data is compelling enough without going chicken little in the /. headline. . .

    • by aussie_a (778472) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:48PM (#14900126) Journal
      Perhaps he meant American thousands? Just as an American billion is actually quite a small number (when compared with a real billion), perhaps American thousands suffer from the same plight ;)
    • "The great trend out there - that sweeps across any record - is privacy," said Charles Davis at the Freedom of Information Center in Missouri. "There's a push by government that every time Joe Citizen's name is mentioned in a government document, it's an inherent threat to Joe Citizen's privacy if that document is released."

      Sounds like they may be misunderstanding the intent of the information privacy laws. Personal information is to be secured and not released to anyone without an audit record. A clerk

    • 616 + 284 + 123 = 1023 > 1000. The article talks about "more than 1,000 laws changing access" (emphasis mine), not about 1,000 laws restricting access.

      Of course, the overall trend is still pretty obvious...
      • The slashdot title: "States Pass Thousands of Info Restriction Laws."

        Thousands (plural) means more than 2,000. Reality is, 616 of the laws restricted information - a net change of 332 new information restricting laws.

        • Thousands (plural) means more than 2,000. Reality is, 616 of the laws restricted information - a net change of 332 new information restricting laws.

          Accuracy like this just gives geeks a bad name
    • Who knows how many laws restricting information we don't know about due to laws restricting information about laws restricting information?
  • Re (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:40PM (#14900090) Homepage
    Something that bothers me:
    Social security numbers being used for ID. I thought it was, when social security was enacted, against the law for social security numbers to be used for anything else besides social security.
    I also hate that companies make many millions selling info about me- credit bureaus and such. And then the credit bureaus want to sell me a service to watch for errors they may make. I would like info about me to be private, unless I choose to disclose it.
    What a joke. I just feel like sometimes we double dead bolt the front door and install a state of the art security system on the front door, and leave the back door wide open....
    • Re:Re (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LeonGeeste (917243) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:09PM (#14900223) Journal
      Agree and disagree. If Congress created the SSN with the specific condition that no business ever use it as a way of identifying someone (which they did, and which people violate routinely), they need to put a stop to this. But I seriously doubt it would help the problem that you describe. If the SSN weren't around, credit agencies would just create a different unique identifier that they would all share, and it would be just as hard to take out a loan or hide from a credit record. Asking that lenders make loans with no clue who you are or what your history of paying back load is, creates a huge adverse selection [wikipedia.org] problem. Not that you were advocating this but someone always suggests that in such discussions.

      You're of course right that they need to better protect this, but my question is, why hasn't competition between lenders and between credit reporters sorted this out already?

      • I agree with your point- especialy because, due to the fact that I am anal about money, I have a very high credit score.
        What really, really bothers me is that I have to pay to see my credit score. I have to pay for information that is floating around about me.(For those of you who haven't checked it out, the free credit report you get every year does not include your score). And what really irritates me, are those ads that say that for only $19.95 per month, the credit bureau will monitor your score and le
      • by shorti9 (307602)
        why hasn't competition between lenders and between credit reporters sorted this out already?

        You'd need real competition, in a real free-ish market for that. Sadly, neither of these are really free markets anymore.

        Credit reports are handled by under five companies. This makes sense, as you want to minimize the amount of actual work you have to do when you want to check someone's credit. Unfortunately, it creates an oligopoloy. This is, in my humble opinion, the single worst market for the people. With a
    • Social security numbers being used for ID. I thought it was, when social security was enacted, against the law for social security numbers to be used for anything else besides social security.

      As far as I know, that law is still on the books, but enforcement is so low that everyone goes ahead and uses your Social Security number for identification anyway. The most egregious example is a bank website that uses it for your username. So, whenever you log on to view your account online, you're exposing you

    • Here's some info to help clear up the confusion regarding use of SSNs (from the Social Security Administration's site):

      If a business or other enterprise asks you for your SSN, you can refuse to give it. However, that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested. For example, utility companies and other services ask for a Social Security number, but do not need it; they can do a credit check or identify the person in their records by alternative means.

      Giving your num

  • ben franklin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jollyroger1210 (933226) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .0121regorylloj.> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:43PM (#14900107) Homepage Journal
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    so true
    • Voltaire (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Millenniumman (924859)
      A witty saying proves nothing.
      • Your witty saying doesn't disprove his point either. A witty saying just gets the point across quickly and efficiently with a bit of entertainment on the side. You might have well made a post saying "Look over there, a cow! Therefore his statement is wrong."
    • Are these particular closings of government information (which could include such things as personal records) related to an essential liberty? How many of these laws are for privacy, how many are for protection of essential infrastructure, etc.? Numbers can be twisted around to mean a lot of different things; only an in-depth look can really tell you.
    • "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing."
  • Freedom of Speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michaelhood (667393) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:46PM (#14900117)
    Freedom of Speech isn't very useful when you no longer know what to say.
    • Freedom of speech is useless anyway - before freedom of speech you need a free education in order to have something intelligent to say and before freedom of speech you need free healthcare to be able to live long enough to be heard.

      What good is freedom of speech if you are restricted anyway... eg defamation laws and I remember reading a paper which said in Oakland, a secret service officer had a talk with students who suggested that someone should take bush out.

      Freedom of speech is a concept that is

      • by rossifer (581396) on Sunday March 12, 2006 @01:25AM (#14901257) Journal
        you need a free education in order to have something intelligent to say

        You're radically overstating the value of formal education, let alone publically provided formal education. To counter what appears to be a serious reality distortion field in your vicinity, I suggest you look up the definition of autodidact [wikipedia.org].

        Libraries, my family's bookshelves, and now the internet have provided me more education than any public school ever did. BTW, my definition for autodidact: someone who hasn't had the hunger for learning burned out of them by public schooling.

        you need free healthcare to be able to live long enough to be heard

        Yeah, cause in the US, where almost everyone has to pay for their healthcare, nobody lives to be thirty. No wait, that's not right either...

        Your arguments seem to put a lot of responsibility for your fundamental abilities on other people (teachers and medical professionals in these two sentences alone). I suggest you look inward and attempt to build up an ability to speak for yourself without all the external scaffolding. At least at that point, you'll be certain that what you're saying is all yours.

        Regards,
        Ross
        • by Woldry (928749)
          publically provided formal education ... libraries

          While I agree with your general point about formal education, I think it bears pointing out that virtually all libraries that are accessible to the general public are publicly provided. Not formal, perhaps, but definitely tax-supported, at least in the United States. There are rare exceptions (I used to work for one.) The same could be said, probably, for much of the information and infrastructure that allows you to educate yourself using the Internet.
          • I think it bears pointing out that virtually all libraries that are accessible to the general public are publicly provided. Not formal, perhaps, but definitely tax-supported, at least in the United States.

            You are, of course, completely correct. However, I wasn't arguing against tax-supported institutions, just observing that the "free" public education system in the US isn't the best or only way to learn enough to participate in our democracy.

            The original argument was that you can't exercise free speech wi
  • we have to find a way to draw all attention from usa back to china or russia again.
  • 1983? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jimktrains (838227)
    Lately the ignorance and stupidity of the populace and governments has started to bother me. All the stupid patents, stupid laws, stuff that is suppose to be good, but is implement horrible (read: welfare and the new prescriptions drug thing for seniors, for starters). There is no need for the government to pass many of the laws it does, and I think that this makes good examples of the government making laws that are suppose to help people but do more harm, but what can a citizen do if no one else cares (
    • by Anonymous Coward
      1983? 1983??? Please hand in your geek credentials by monday morning.
    • welfare and the new prescriptions drug thing for seniors, for starters

      Well, you started out good there but these two examples are really nothing. Sure, lots of people aren't happy about funding welfare but that's just money crap. It all pales in comparison to the really dangerous issues and laws that this administration is working on. Bush wants to make it illegal (punishable as terrorism!) for reporters to write about the illegal things that the government does. If that does not scare the hell out of

      • I was stating a concreate example of where the government didn't do something the correct way. I understand that it doens't map to the issue, just amking the case that the government is incompetent.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The US and the UK seem more and more to be a police state in development. Look at this video that shows evidence supporting that: http://revradio.org/movies/ml.wmv [revradio.org]
  • by alexhs (877055) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:52PM (#14900144) Homepage Journal
    ... in the name of security, deserves neither, and loses both. -- Thomas Jefferson (*)

    These laws are hardly surprising in that light...

    (*) misquoted, I'm getting different wordings for every page quoting it, and it is sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin.
  • by lowell (66406) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:56PM (#14900158)
    about whats going on with Federal and State govs and not buying the "its for your own good" as being an exceptable answer as to why TYRANNY is ruling the land here in the USA. If restricting FREEDOM and INFORMATION is the answer then our ELECTED officials must have asked the wrong question.

    Vote the sorry bastards out and start electing real live humans to political offices not these morons we have now. Start with campaign funding reform. For the love of all thats good and pure do something. Dont let these SOB run this once great land into the ground.
    • Problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by C10H14N2 (640033) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:40PM (#14900329)
      "Educated people" think these things are in their interest.

      No matter how idiotic one side seems to be on an issue, it's counter-productive to boil it down to ignorance vs. education, intelligence vs. stupidity, because often, you're arguing with educated, intelligent people who have different values and interests. How many times has the argument about state-sponsored [X] come down to: only stupid people find anything of value in socialism and only an ignorant person would think that socialism is inherently bad. So, then we move on to good vs. evil and all that non-sense.

      IMHO the problem is idealism in general. The Left (in the USA) has become LESS idealistic than it used to be--which is actually a GOOD thing, in theory--while The Right has become outright militant in its idealism. Unfortunately, it's rather hard to fight popular, militant idealism with pragmatism...but that may change as people tire of these fights and simply want things to be functional. We may see that as early as November.
    • by BobSutan (467781) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @09:01PM (#14900607)
      You are correct in that it all starts at campaign finance reform. But guess what? It'll never occur, the same way congress gives themselves raises they would NEVER approve of CFR as it'd limit each and every one of them and their ability to get reelected. After all, what's the use in obtaining a position of power if every Tom Dick and Harry has an equal chance at obtaining that same position, regardless of how many strings your daddy had to pull and how rich you are?
  • by rattler14 (459782) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @06:57PM (#14900162)
    The scholars for 9/11 truth [st911.org]believe this is no mere coincidence. Through analysis of the physics, it has been concluded that WTC7 [byu.edu] fell in a manner not consistent with a "pancake" theory. They are asking for full access to the evidence (photos, video, etc) that NIST used in their report to either support or rebut these claims. So even if you think they are "conspiracy nuts", the release of these documents would prove them wrong... so do it. Sign the petition [thepetitionsite.com] :) Yes, I expect to be vehemently attacked. But whatever. What good is karma if you can't speak your true beliefs!
  • Security? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkusQ (450076) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:01PM (#14900186) Journal

    medication errors at nursing homes,...disciplinary actions against state employees, that are becoming restricted...worry that public information could be misused, whether it's by terrorists or by computer hackers hoping to use your credit cards. Security concerns typically won out.

    Oh come on, security is not what they are concerned about.

    In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of cases when a politician says that something must be kept secret "for national security reasons" they are really telling that the information would embarrass (or incriminate) them or their political allies. It's about as dumb as saying "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." Or the philanderers who tell their spouse that they are secret agents working under deep cover for the NSA.

    For that matter, the whole idea of "security through obscurity" is flawed. Secret emergency plans for schools? What in the heck is the point of having a plan if nobody is allowed to know what it is?

    --MarkusQ

    • by Anonymous Coward
      security is not what they are concerned about.

      Actually it is, the US is losing a war. Terrorism works by introducing more laws and more police-state actions on the target population. The terrorists really are winning, but the US government is too arrogant to see it. They are more concerned about new bombs and bodycounts as predictors of victory.

      John Boyd the military strategist stated that one of the most important underpinnings of war is morality. To beat a country morally you have to morally isolate i

  • by Kreldon (31202) * <kreldonNO@SPAMkreldon.com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:08PM (#14900216)
    Given the propensity of state and federal government to want to classify anything and everything under the sun as "sensitive security information" (or some such arbitrary bullshit), I have to wonder how long it'll be before computer source code currently available under FOIA or its state equivalent (i.e. Veteran Affairs' VistA [va.gov] health informatics software) is also classified that way.

    (Has anyone ever FOIA'd their state government for in-house software to look at?)
  • Obligatory Chomsky (Score:5, Interesting)

    by michaelhood (667393) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:22PM (#14900276)
    "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate." Noam Chomsky
    • Obligatory /. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:33PM (#14900504)
      "The smart way to keep /.'ers passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable stories, but allow very lively debate within those stories - even encourage the more critical and dissident views by modding up. That gives /.'ers the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the fanboy conjecture of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the discussion." Cowboy Nealsky
  • by zephc (225327) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:23PM (#14900279)
    If you want a good insight on how the military and the current administration views the world, I suggest reading about Tom Barnett. There's an interview at http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.a sp?ID=16779 [frontpagemag.com]

    There's a video of a talk he gave via CSPAN from a June 2004 at http://theconspiracy.us/CSPAN/ [theconspiracy.us] has the video in XviD format (can someone torrent this?)
    • Uh, re-read Tom Barnett. And check his blog entries. The Pentagon is just as focused on "Great Power War" and resulting budgetary requirements (F22 and other like nifty but hugely expensive hardware) as it ever has. The administration, while willing to use the Leviathan force, completely fails in the SysAdmin role.

      Congress is still the bigger problem. The administration cannot create new law.
  • Secrecy and Shame (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:42PM (#14900335)
    If you want to know why so many things are secrets now, listen to this week's edition of This American Life [thisamericanlife.org], entitled "Habeus Schmabeus".

    It's brilliant radio--interviews with former Gitmo detainees included--presenting evidence that most of the people apprehended and fucked over by the US government are guilty of absolutely nothing, and are being held, still...because if their stories were widely known, even the 1/3 of Americans who still love their Bush would be utterly appalled at what The Land of the Free has turned into under this bastard.

    It's secret, and they're imprisoned, to save his face and save him some shame. The local laws are just the same crap on a less horrific scale.
  • Why all these laws? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:46PM (#14900360) Journal
    When all they have to do is copyright everything. Hey, it works for Scientology. If everything like the weather service and map makers, etc. goes private, then IP law will have more teeth than those against murder and rape. It won't be long before a freedom of information request becomes a DMCA violation. If that doesn't work, then all you need to do is scream "terrorist!" at anyone who dares to question the authority of the gov't. Y'all let me know when you wake up from your slumber and start to vote these bums out of office. The change has to come from your own selves. Until you take action, you will find that this is only the beginning. "You aint seen nuttin yet."
  • I'd tell it to you but then I'd end up in jail.
  • Simulacrum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalextremist (818027) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:06PM (#14900418) Homepage
    The question is not concerns over security.

    The discussion is the clarity of our view of reality as it actually is.

    I for one don't particularly care what a group which claims authority judges to be law if it does not coincide with how reality works.

    Truth frees. End of discussion. Bring all the legislation you want, doesn't change the fact or destract actual truth seekers. Not in the least.

    No human will decide what I will or will not know if I decide to get involved. It's that simple. Decree away 'government'
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just thinking in the digital age is a danger. The gov't must dumb everybody down in order to maintain control.
  • by tji (74570) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @08:41PM (#14900535)
    What a shocker.

    There was an interesting article in Newsweek this week, describing how the 9/11 commission recommended an oversight board to make sure the government was protecting our civil liberties.

    It was set up in December 2004, but the board has never hired a staff or had a meeting.

    So, yeah.. Our government really takes civil liberties seriously..

    The article is available at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11677336/site/newsweek / [msn.com]
  • when it comes to information that certain people don't want you to know is that there are often many ways to get it, if enough people are interested, or if it is important enough

    It's very much a cliche, but information wants to be free. The problem here is the increasing difficulty with which certain kinds of legitimate 'right-to-know' information can be obtained legally.

    It's a sad fact that most people pay less attention to state politics than federal, assuming that they pay any attention at all. I am ve
  • There will not be an election in 2008, and the United States will slide into a form of dictatorship. And there is PLENTY of evidence for this if you open your eyes and do some reading. Did you know that there is new legislation about to be passed that makes it a felony for any newspaper/journalist to publish a story about FISA, or about GWB's wiretapping program? That same legislation also makes it legal for the NSA to continue to spy on American citizens without a warrant, at any time, for up to 45 days
  • "In statehouse battles, the issue has pitted advocates of government openness - including journalists and civil liberties groups - against lawmakers and others who worry that public information could be misused, whether it's by terrorists or by computer hackers hoping to use your credit cards.

    Or by normal citizens trying to monitor where their taxes go, and people that supposedly work for them. Joe Politician can't let Joe Public find out what he's really doing, now can he?
    • Apparently nobody ever thinks of the risks of terrorists infiltrating the voters and distorting the election results.
      With smart voting software these terrorist votes could be flagged and filtered out at an early stage, before they do any damage. (pauses, savoring the lopsidedness)
  • Remember? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smitth1276 (832902)
    Does anyone remember the terrorist's laptop that was confiscated in Iraq that contained emergency plans for specific elementary schools in the United States? That actually happened, and those sorts of things could obviously be exploited for very bad reasons. Don't jump to conclusions so easily.
  • Security concerns typically won out.

    No, politicians running from accountability like cockroaches from the light won out.

    I'd be happier if this kind of stuff actually did bring us some security. Unfortunately, we're only getting less secure against the corruption of our own government.
  • Shutting down information access is contrary to that.

    Do a search on "Trillion Dollar Bet" read the transcript. Realize that much money doesn't just appear and then vanish into nowhere (if you do that you are smarter than those involved in the trillion dollar bet).

    Look at the time lines of things like dotcom boom and bust, Worldcom, Enron, etc..creative financial hiding, and realize the WTC had an attach on it once before, that failed.

    Look at the time lines.

    Ted Turner once said that 9/11 was an act of despar
  • Here's another reason Bush is making America safer.
    Every time you loose a freedom it's one less reason
    for Bin Laden to hate you.
  • The biggest non-compliant body with open record laws is our legislature. In reality they are compliant but they don't use technology to do so. While they do publish House and Senate journals - you can't keyword search them.

    But there are ways around that. The applications guy in my office has figured out how to scrape the journals and relate relevant bill info. Too cool.

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman

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