A Little Knowledge: Privacy, Security and Public Information after September 11
Posted: 20 Aug 2004
Date Written: 2004
Drawn from the proceedings of the April, 2003 Carnegie Mellon (InSITeS)-Georgetown University Law Center-Century Foundation conference on Security, Technology, and Privacy, A Little Knowledge looks at the different ways that public security, government transparency and the individual's right to privacy have been placed at odds after September 11. In an introductory essay, the editors synthesize the lessons of the chapters that follow into six key propositions: (1) The free flow of information is essential to the security and prosperity of the United States; (2) The impulse towards secrecy inevitably metastasizes; (3) Public information policy and technology policy are inescapably linked; (4) New technologies hold unprecedented promise for maximizing the value of information to an empowered citizenry; (5) Because technology is Janus-faced, democratic intention is as critical to shaping the future as sound engineering; (6) We need new public institutions to insure adequate consideration of the arguments in favor of freedom of public information and the protection of personal privacy. The authors especially urge policy makers to eschew the pursuit of tradeoffs among privacy, security, and transparency as long as possible in favor of a national dialogue about how to optimize the joint realization of these three central values. The volume also features John Podesta on Governing in Secret; Alice P. Gast on restricting the flow of scientific information; Baruch Fischhoff on disclosing risks; Victor W. Weedn on government risk communications; George Duncan on optimizing privacy and openness values in the management of government databases; Joel R. Reidenberg on international approaches to privacy; and Sally Katzen on public information rights.
Keywords: Privacy, disclosure, information, freedom of information, sunshine
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