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Diigo newsmarks 01/24/2008

一月 24, 2008

200604The Limits on A2K Panel – A2K Conference,Yale U, US  Annotated

tags: national_security, us

Security experts today would say the top national security threats are 1) Preventing terrorists (internet seen as a problem); 2) Preventing proliferation of WMD’s (knowledge and movement of people seen as a problem); 3) Resolve the conflict in the Middle East (knowledge is at best neutral).

    This perspective on freedom of information is different from ours, but we need to understand it. We can get some perspective on this by looking at the issues around freedom of information (FOI). The theory of FOI is that information is necessary for individuals to participate in the public debate for democratic decisionmaking. This irght is recognized in the 1st Amendment and in the major int’l human rights treaties.

    It’s accepted that there are some useful limitations on information. Nat’l security regulations can be applied to scientific or technical information, or perhaps most tellingly for our discussion, information that would enable individuals to outwit governments.

      In the field of FOI there has been extensive work on principles and specific examples of how to balance legitimate security needs and democratic need for openness
        • There should be a presumption of openness. Government has a burden to show information should be withheld for nat’l security.
        • There is a limited list of subject matters legitimately secret in the name of nat’l security. e.g., details of weapons technology. If the information is relevant to policy decisions made by government, then it should be made available. But if it is more technical (e.g., specifics of war plans, diplomatic negotiations), it could be withheld.
        • Before information can be withheld its disclosure must be likely to cause some specific, identifiable harm to the national security.
        • There should be a public interest balancing test where harm to nat’l security should be measured againsg importance of info to the public.
        • There should be institutions acting as a check and review on decisions to withhold.

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