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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unplug WikiLeaks? Enact a federal shield law instead

from The Huffington Post:
The Obama administration has made no secret of its desire to unplug WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website infamous for data dumps of classified records. Of the few options available to the government, the best is one that probably hasn't been considered in this context: enacting a federal shield law.

How would a shield law -- a version of which has passed the House and awaits a vote by the full Senate -- put WikiLeaks out of business? The answer is that it would remove the need that WikiLeaks fills. If that were to happen, WikiLeaks would receive few, if any, sensitive documents leaked by sources inside US government agencies.

The purpose of a shield law is to enable journalists to protect the identity of their confidential sources -- which, under current law, they can't do. Although journalists, in dealings with a source, can promise confidentiality up to a point -- the point being when a federal judge orders a journalist to identify her source or go to jail -- the risk of disclosure deters sources in many cases.
Read more here.

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