Federal Secrecy after September 11 and the Future of the Information Society - Social Theory Meets Social Policy: Culture, Identity and Public Information Policy

I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Vol. 2, 2006

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 56

31 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2006  

Peter M. Shane

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Abstract

Notwithstanding recent events that might be thought to create an atmosphere especially hospitable for increases in federal government secrecy, government initiatives favoring of the withholding of information have been accompanied by other moves in the direction of greater openness. In his introduction to a symposium on Federal Secrecy After September 11 and the Future of the Information Society, Professor Shane suggests that the politics of post-September 11 information policy debates may be complicated, in part, by social developments that are affecting the non-instrumental cultural values Americans associate with access to information. Specifically, information and communications technologies are enabling and sustaining an unprecedented degree of active participation for ordinary individuals in the creation of culture and of social meaning, and thus fostering conditions opposed to the assumptions about authority, categorical coherence, and the susceptibility of information to isolation that have historically made government secrecy seem both legitimate and practicable. These developments do not mean that openness will or should in principle prevail over secrecy in all debates regarding public information policy. But they render the political terrain for proponents of secrecy rougher to the extent that these social changes make secrecy regimes seem more alien and unnatural in the information society.

Keywords: FOIA, privilege, USA PATRIOT Act

JEL Classification: D73, D80, H11, H56, H80, K23, K30

Suggested Citation

Shane, Peter M., Federal Secrecy after September 11 and the Future of the Information Society - Social Theory Meets Social Policy: Culture, Identity and Public Information Policy. I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Vol. 2, 2006; Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 56. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=896743

Peter M. Shane (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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