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Secrecy in the So-Called "Most Transparent" Administration in US History

BY Jason Ross Arnold | Wednesday, March 18 2015

How much has changed, really? (Eric Draper/White House)

We used to hear more from President Obama about his aspirations to lead the “most transparent” administration in American history. From the 2008 campaign through early 2013, administration officials – including the big guy – continued to beat the most transparent drum, promising the (clear) sky, and insisting they had already delivered, or were on the cusp. The White House has since toned down the lofty, boastful messaging. Perhaps they were chastened by all of the bipartisan criticism and late-night television mockery of the administration’s actions in light of its claims. But Obama’s pledge to create an “unprecedented level of openness” still stands proudly at the top of the White House’s open government webpage, a sign that it remains a priority (or a monument whose removal would be too embarrassing a concession). Sunshine week provides a perfect opportunity to evaluate the record: where between most transparent and “most closed, control-freak” should we place Obama-Biden?

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First POST: Finessing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 12 2015

We're supposed to believe Hillary Clinton never emailed classified material when gov't classifies practically everything; transparency theater; the new definition of deleting is "not saving"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Beware the Ides of May

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 9 2014

The net neutrality fight is getting hotter; the absurdity of the NSA's new policy on not talking about what everyone is talking about; how "civic" crowdfunding projects are Kickstarter's best category; and much, much more. Read More

"Seeing Secrecy": Art as Evidence and Secrecy as Art

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 4 2014

Trevor Paglen speaking on the panel "Art as Evidence"

In the past eight months, secrets have become practically mundane.

Starting in June with The Guardian story that revealed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had ordered Verizon to hand over Americans' phone call metadata to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA), the avalanche of exposed government secrets continued at a frantic pace through the summer and on into fall and winter. Only a week ago, articles published by The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica showed that the NSA and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collect data en masse from smartphone apps like Angry Birds and Google Maps. In a way, these leaks have become so predictable they border on pedestrian.

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First POST: The Bloggers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 18 2013

Edward Snowden's justification for his actions: no "government in the dark": tech insiders on the meltdown; more on why Pierre Omidyar's new venture could shake up online journalism; and much, much more. Read More


"Accidental" Blocking of Australian Websites Raises Concerns About Government Censorship

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 22 2013

Sydney Opera House (Anthony Winning)

An Australian government agency admitted last week to unintentionally blocking more than 1,200 perfectly legal websites in the process of shutting down one allegedly fraudulent site. In their defense, they pointed out that they have successfully blocked a number of websites in the past nine months without such digital collateral. This assertion came as no consolation to Australian netizens concerned about Internet censorship, especially opaque and hazily legal censorship.

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PdFLeaks: Carne Ross on the Diplomacy Before and After Wikileaks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 15 2010

I didn't have a lot of time to digest what was being said while I was running the first session of Saturday's PdF Symposium on Wikileaks and Internet Freedom, but as I look back, the points that stuck with me the most ... Read More

Wikileaks and Sourcing

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 26 2010

Here, Micah crosses his fingers in hope that the story of Wikileaks' providing three major news organizations with more than 90,000 documents on the Afghanistan war doesn't become a story, simply, about how and why the ... Read More

Declassification Group Wants Help Crafting Sensible Secrecy

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, July 2 2009

The congressionally-mandated Public Interest Declassification Board is making use of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's blog to collect public input on government-wide reform of how we approach the ... Read More

Daily Digest: Hill Secrecy? "Just Absolute Lunacy"

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, December 3 2008

The Hill's Intensively Secretive Nature: It was the sweltering late summer, 2007, in Washington DC. The House of Representatives was smack in the middle of debate over the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ... Read More