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Government Transparency

FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

Should it be permitted at all?

Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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6/25/2013 8:24:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Whenever this topic comes up, I am reminded of United States v. Reynolds. Particularly after the declassification.
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slo1
Posts: 4,346
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6/25/2013 8:32:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

Should it be permitted at all?

Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?

How about they just start with telling the truth. Even in this latest NSA over reaching data collection scandal there is bi-partisan support for it. They lie to us stating that it is an important program because they get to see who is calling certain numbers.

We all know that if there was a number of interest, the Gov could get a warrant from all phone companies to give me all records that have called this phone number, and then they can expand the investigation to get records on who is calling the people who are calling the original phone number.

It is absurd to even suggest that they need the phone call information of 99.99999% innocent citizens to catch the .1111 % of people trying to do harm.

Unfortunately, people trust the government. Little do they realize precedent is set here and there is no going back. It will come back to bit us.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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6/25/2013 8:33:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

I don't even know where to begin...


Should it be permitted at all?

Yes.


Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?

No.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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6/25/2013 8:34:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

To the extent necessary.

Should it be permitted at all?

To the extent doing so is necessary.

Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?

Yes.
Tsar of DDO
slo1
Posts: 4,346
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6/25/2013 8:45:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 8:34:33 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

To the extent necessary.

The fundamental problem with "to the extent necessary" is that is is arguably "necessary" to the point of totalitarianism. That is how communism to fascism to dictatorships are justified. To pile on top, even when it does not go to that extreme, governments will never even honestly give their justification or definition of when it is necessary because even that definition becomes secret. As a result the rationalization can not even be scrutinized.

Should it be permitted at all?

To the extent doing so is necessary.

Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?

Yes.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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6/25/2013 8:57:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 8:45:48 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/25/2013 8:34:33 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

To the extent necessary.

The fundamental problem with "to the extent necessary" is that is is arguably "necessary" to the point of totalitarianism.

No, it is not.

That is how communism to fascism to dictatorships are justified.

No, it is not.

To pile on top, even when it does not go to that extreme, governments will never even honestly give their justification or definition of when it is necessary because even that definition becomes secret.

I enjoy hearing bold generalizations about how "governments" behave, as if somehow all governments act in the same way because they are governments, rather than organizations composed of people -who differ considerably by constituency, circumstance and over time.

As a result the rationalization can not even be scrutinized.

Yes, it can. Necessity as defined in a legal sense can be outlined such that provisions may be stipulated where it is necessary to maintain secrets or not maintain secrets. The result is that when precarious situations emerge, those in decision making capacities have clear guidelines of when and the extent to which it is permissible to not disclose information to the public. This has been the practice of the United States since the second world war.
Tsar of DDO
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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6/25/2013 9:06:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The problem of governmental transparency is very similar to that of nuclear disarmament. In order for one government to be completely open about its programs and intelligence, all others must be as well - where we release everything we know and others do not, we're economically and militarily disadvantaged. This is not to say that the government gets to be completely opaque and answer to nothing, but that we must approach the transparency issue internationally rather than internally (which would be self-destructive).
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
slo1
Posts: 4,346
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6/25/2013 2:17:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 8:57:30 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/25/2013 8:45:48 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/25/2013 8:34:33 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

To the extent necessary.

The fundamental problem with "to the extent necessary" is that is is arguably "necessary" to the point of totalitarianism.

No, it is not.

That is how communism to fascism to dictatorships are justified.

No, it is not.

To pile on top, even when it does not go to that extreme, governments will never even honestly give their justification or definition of when it is necessary because even that definition becomes secret.

I enjoy hearing bold generalizations about how "governments" behave, as if somehow all governments act in the same way because they are governments, rather than organizations composed of people -who differ considerably by constituency, circumstance and over time.

Burden of proof is on you. Give me an example of an open and honest government that gives full justification of their actions. I on the other hand could give countless examples of government scandals for most governments in the world.
As a result the rationalization can not even be scrutinized.

Yes, it can. Necessity as defined in a legal sense can be outlined such that provisions may be stipulated where it is necessary to maintain secrets or not maintain secrets. The result is that when precarious situations emerge, those in decision making capacities have clear guidelines of when and the extent to which it is permissible to not disclose information to the public. This has been the practice of the United States since the second world war.

To an extent it can be deciphered in the legal code. Section 215 of the Patriot act can be deciphered and the entire patriot act allowed the domestic intel to be overseen by the secret FSIA courts, however the US government could sanction thousands of programs under that provision including gathering of any records not given in the first amendment, such as medical records. None of these programs would be known by more than a few hundred people out of 360 million people and if those few hundred exposed the program they would be persecuted.

Lastly, there is no legal binding language that requires the administration to hold the programs existence a secret, so fundamentally it is back to where we started, the Administration of the Government gets to make the decision of "to what extent necessary" it is to keep something secret.

On a practical note, nobody has demonstrated the value of collecting phone, email, photograph records for all Americans, versus only those who are suspected of terrorism. Again secrets and again there is no well defined standards of why that is a secret other than a bunch of bs and more secrets.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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6/25/2013 2:23:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 9:06:01 AM, 000ike wrote:
The problem of governmental transparency is very similar to that of nuclear disarmament. In order for one government to be completely open about its programs and intelligence, all others must be as well - where we release everything we know and others do not, we're economically and militarily disadvantaged. This is not to say that the government gets to be completely opaque and answer to nothing, but that we must approach the transparency issue internationally rather than internally (which would be self-destructive).

Most Western nations (Continental Europe especially) is transparent with everything. non-American/England Anglophonic countries are also getting there. It is The United States and (though to a very slightly less degree) the United Kingdom that is not transparent.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/25/2013 2:46:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

Only when the thing being kept secret is if making it public would seriously and directly threaten national security.

However, the fact that it IS keeping the secret can't be secret, if that makes sense. For example, the government may say "We will not release X document/whatever because doing so would be a risk to the direct security of the public."

Should it be permitted at all?

Yes, see above.

Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?

I think so, if it's publicly acknowledged that something IS being kept secret, why, and if there is an avenue for the public-at-large to override that decision (ie, petitioning, referendum).
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/25/2013 2:49:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 2:23:53 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 6/25/2013 9:06:01 AM, 000ike wrote:
The problem of governmental transparency is very similar to that of nuclear disarmament. In order for one government to be completely open about its programs and intelligence, all others must be as well - where we release everything we know and others do not, we're economically and militarily disadvantaged. This is not to say that the government gets to be completely opaque and answer to nothing, but that we must approach the transparency issue internationally rather than internally (which would be self-destructive).

Most Western nations (Continental Europe especially) is transparent with everything. non-American/England Anglophonic countries are also getting there. It is The United States and (though to a very slightly less degree) the United Kingdom that is not transparent.

EVERYTHING? Military weapons research, battle strategies, military operation details, the public can access all of this?
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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6/26/2013 3:51:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 8:57:30 AM, YYW wrote:
I enjoy hearing bold generalizations about how "governments" behave, as if somehow all governments act in the same way because they are governments, rather than organizations composed of people -who differ considerably by constituency, circumstance and over time.

I have a question for you.

Which do you trust more? Me...or the government?

Now, I'm wondering if you'd feel alright sending me your password.

The point is that you can't assume governments are trust-worthy. Secrecy has the capacity to be abused and thus should, on principle, not be allowed.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
benevolent
Posts: 1,040
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6/26/2013 4:01:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 8:34:33 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/25/2013 4:45:48 AM, FREEDO wrote:
To what degree should government be allowed to act in secret?

To the extent necessary.

Should it be permitted at all?

To the extent doing so is necessary.

Can a government truly be democratic if it operates outside the realm of public scrutiny?

Yes.

wrong. because authoritarianism has been democratically sanctioned does not make it democratic. it's authoritarianism, which is in stark contrast to democracy no matter how it came about.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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6/26/2013 4:02:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/26/2013 3:51:00 PM, FREEDO wrote:
At 6/25/2013 8:57:30 AM, YYW wrote:
I enjoy hearing bold generalizations about how "governments" behave, as if somehow all governments act in the same way because they are governments, rather than organizations composed of people -who differ considerably by constituency, circumstance and over time.

I have a question for you.

Which do you trust more? Me...or the government?

I didn't vote for you, I didn't vote for someone who appointed you, and I know nothing about you other than that you're a fairly talented singer, a member of DDO and where you stand politically. It's not that I trust or distrust you... or that I trust or distrust the government.

Now, I'm wondering if you'd feel alright sending me your password.

If you were, for example, an FBI agent vetting me for a government job I'd gladly hand it over. If there was a good reason that you needed it (although I can't think of one), I might. If it was your job to protect the national security of this country, I'd be ok with you monitoring my net activity, my financial records, my research interests, phone records, etc. according to due process. (Given that I am a white, Christian liberal with progressive sentiments and Western values -I sincerely doubt I'm high on the monitoring list though.) Given that you aren't any of those things, no, at this time I won't give you my password ;)

The point is that you can't assume governments are trust-worthy. Secrecy has the capacity to be abused and thus should, on principle, not be allowed.

Secrecy goes both ways, Freedo. If the government can't monitor people, then those who have something they would wish to keep from the government (like communications with those who would conspire against the US or American interests) would be able to do so. I understand the concern for abuse, but potential for abuse is no reason to cripple the United States' ability to protect US national security -rather, it is a reason to ensure that there is a defined legal framework which governs when and under what circumstances individuals' activity may be monitored.
Tsar of DDO