Thursday, April 22, 2010
Make Public Information Free and Online From Its Creation
"The test of right-to-know laws is the accessibility to the information that public officials don't want to give you," writes J.H. Snider in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.
Snider details the difficulties and struggles he's encountered trying to obtain public information from officials in Maryland.
He argues the state should adopt legislation that makes information online and free to the public from the moment of its creation. He also suggests document creation be separated from control. "Until now, the only practical option was to give the foxes control of the chicken coop; that is, creators of public records also had control of access to them," writes Snider. "But with the advent of the Internet, this argument no longer holds." An independent body could be used to archive and post materials online, suggests Snider.