Web Won't Let Government Hide
By Ryan Singel | Also by this reporter Page 1 of 1
02:00 AM Nov. 29, 2004 PT
Given the government keeps tabs on the world using armies of agents, algorithms and wiretaps, how can a citizen compete? Try a browser.
Governments at every level these days are providing less information about their inner workings, sometimes using fear of terrorism as an excuse. But it's precisely times like these that mandate citizens' rights to check the efficiency of their government and hold those who fail accountable, open government advocates say.
The government itself won't make it easy, so an increasing number of websites and data crunchers are stepping in to provide information about the inner workings of government.
For starters, there's Google's little-known government specific search engine. Those proficient with crafting search terms can find Attorney General John Ashcroft's office number, gee-whiz nanotechnology movies and NASA's Microgravity Man comic strip. One can even find homeland security alerts about truck bombs (PDF) and the intelligence needs of the FBI.
Activists Crawl Through Web to Untangle US Secrecy
by William Fisher
NEW YORK - To combat the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy, U.S. citizens have been forced to unearth new sources for information they once read in their daily newspapers. But thanks to a few dedicated individuals and not-for-profit groups – and the Internet – such material is easier to come by than ever before.
"The Bush administration has taken secrecy to a new level. They have greatly increased the numbers and types of classified documents," says Steven Aftergood, who conducts one of the most widely used "open government" programs – the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy.
"They have made it far more difficult and time-consuming to obtain documents under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA]. And they have imposed 'gag rules' on an ever-widening group of government employees," Aftergood added in an interview.