Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pentagon funding academic research to limit Freedom of Information Act

Arguably one of the most important laws related to access to information is the Freedom of Information Act, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on Tuesday, July 4, 2006. (A neat coincidence.) You can read about your rights under the Act here. So, isn't it ironic to learn that the Department of Defense is now funding a study to a tune of one million dollars that will find ways to limit the law?


Emily said...

Great post Alec, though certainly scary. I shared this with some of my classmates during class today and it sparked a very interesting discussion. I'm interested to see how this will work out and what effect it will have on the reputation of St. Mary's.

Barbara said...

Wow, this is scary. It reminds me that it was also an academic under contract (though with the Dept. of Justice, not the DoD) who was going to analyze all the searches that were supoenaed from Google. It's not quite the same as signing on to build nuclear weapons, but it's the sort of "academic" work that makes me squirm. I wonder if other law schools turned them down?

Though journalists are a group most vocal about the value of FOIA, they did a study that shows they only account for 6% of requests (at least for the agencies they studied)

On another note, I was browsing through the Church Committee Report of 1976, a congressional document that led to legislation limiting domestic surveillance of dissidents. If you substituted "terrorist" for "communist" it would all sound very up to date. If we keep this up, we'll be back in the McCarthy era any minute now. Where do we go from there, the Inquisition?