Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Government Secrecy Is on the Rise

The NFOIC, along with a host of open government groups that form, has issued the 2008 Government Secrecy Report Card.

The not-so-surprising findings: "government secrecy is on the rise by almost every measure," as the AP reports today. The report cites 14 different measurements to quantify government secrecy, "including patents hidden from the public, secret court approvals for surveillance in sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations and the expanding use of informal labels to keep documents from being disclosed." The report notes that the United States is now classifying more records as top secret or confidential, and employing fewer workers who make federal documents publicly available, than ever before. There was also an 80 percent decline over the last decade in the number of pages of records declassified, dropping last year to 37 million pages. The report also notes that federal surveillance activity under the secretive FISA court has risen for the ninth consecutive year, more than double the amount in 2000.

By Charles N. Davis. Ph.D.

Executive Director, National Freedom of Information Coalition

Associate Professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism

Join the FOI discussion!


The report itself: an AP story on the report:

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