It's obvious to anyone who's paying attention that the US secrecy system, by which government documents are classified "secret," "top secret," etc, is totally broken. J. William Leonard, who served as GW Bush's secrecy czar, called it "dysfunctional" and warned that it "clearly lacks the ability to differentiate between trivial information and that which can truly damage our nation’s well-being."
So why is the Obama administration, which promised to be the "most transparent in history," arguing for more secrecy? Good question -- it's one the EFF wants to know the answer to.
The controversy over leaks has spilled into the Presidential race, and instead of pointing out the obvious and systemic problems of withholding too many secrets, Mitt Romney and President Obama are arguing about who would be a more secretive president.
Meanwhile, the government is busy creating still more secrets under a bigger umbrella. Spending on classification is now approaching $11 billion, double what it was ten years ago. That’s also a 10 percent increase from last year and a 30 percent increase since Obama took office. And as the New York Times pointed out, that total “does not include the costs incurred by the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other spy agencies, whose spending is—you guessed it—classified.”
Additionally, a new intelligence report to Congress shows that the US issued a staggering 4.8 million classified security clearances last year—which comes out to about one in every 50 Americans. That number is a 3 percent increase on the year before, and as Steven Aftergood remarked, the 2010 number “astonished observers because it surpassed previous estimates by more than a million.”
As Secrecy System Veers Into Absurdity, Politicians Argue For More
The AP reports that Jeremy Putnam, 31, was arrested in Winchester, Virginia, and charged with “wearing a mask in public,” a felony in that state. He was armed with a “sword” in public, which apparently alarmed residents. But they haven’t charged him with that; they’ve charged him with this, a fascinatingly terrible law: § 18.2-422. […]
Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to ensure that the FCC won’t be able to prevent your ISP from spying on your internet usage and selling your private information. What does that mean in practice?
American penitentiaries, in idealized Quaker imaginings, were to be a place for reflective penitence followed by forgiveness. That’s not how it worked out, especially for the poor. And the problem goes far beyond prison reform:
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]