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Technology Does Not Guarantee Transparency

By       Message David Sirota     Permalink
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Reprinted from Nation Of Change

From youtube.com/watch?v=7z-2tQF1nA8: Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
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While the switch from paper to email should make government more transparent, new research shows that the era of Big Data does not necessarily mean the public gets a better view of its government. New technology doesn't guarantee political transparency.

In theory, the changeover from paper to email should make government more transparent. The cost of archiving documents should be lower, because data can be housed on relatively small hard drives rather than in spacious warehouses. Likewise, the time expense of retrieving that data should be reduced, because it can be obtained through a few keystrokes rather than a tedious search of file cabinets.

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Consequently, open records requests should be far easier to fulfill, because electronic correspondence and memos are keyword searchable. Yet two New York politicos are showing that the era of Big Data does not necessarily mean the public gets a better view of its government.

The first is Hillary Clinton, the Empire State's former senator. According to reports this week in The New York Times and Associated Press, Clinton avoided using a government email address as U.S. Secretary of State, instead conducting State Department business through a personal account on her own private server. The Times notes that "the practice protected a significant amount of her correspondence from the eyes of investigators and the public."

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David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NPR. His writing, which draws on his (more...)
 

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