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Should a country/government give all its information to the citizens/public? If no, what information should the country not release?

This question is inspired by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. I was wondering if you guys think there is some information about your country that the government can keep to itself. Or should you be granted access to all information regarding your country? This question is mainly about transparency and the government's right to have privacy from its citizens.

After some Googling, it seems this question is about open governments and how open they need to be for "effective public oversight" (thanks Wikipedia).


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    Oct 20 2013: Keeping information from the general public should be treated as a class 1 crime and punished with a life sentence. Accepting that your government can keep information secret should be treated as conspiracy to a class 1 crime and should be punished with a life sentence.
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      Oct 23 2013: I too like simple, clear laws. Yours is as good as any, and is probably doable with some effort. I confess that I have worked in the government myself, and have known secret information, but I'm glad to say it's now out of date so I should be safe under Provision #1 of the proposed law.

      Since most citizens seem to fall into Provision #2's class of conspirators (guilty of accepting that a gov't can conduct diplomatic or defense preparation without revealing details of the deliberations to the world), we could start by constructing jail space for about three billion criminals (adults only). This will give a boost to economies worldwide. We know that politicians are eager both to stimulate the economy and to avoid a lifetime in prison, so this program will undoubtedly be embraced with enthusiasm

      A web site could be devoted to publishing the security codes and arrangements, and the key patterns for Fort Knox and all other public buildings, and another site to publish everything the government knows about each of its citizens, such as your address, earnings, health records and whether you owe alimony. The addresses and security arrangements of ambassadors will be especially convenient to some.

      One of the most useful web sites may be the one that gives full recipes and techniques for making all known chemical and biological warfare agents and explosives. Some gov'ts, like the US, place air marshals on random flights in an effort to discourage evildoers. The detailed schedule of which flights they're on will be very helpful for those who are inconvenienced by not having this information.

      I agree that this will be a better world. Assuming that the life sentences are commutable, our three billion inmates could probably be released after a brief reeducation, which would unfortunately reduce the building program and negatively impact the building industry. But by that time we'll surely find other new crimes, such as taxing the people, that warrant incarceration.
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        Oct 23 2013: Paul, my phrasing clearly goes too far for you :) It's a way to express my opinion on the subject using an extreme expression: I'm not suggesting to actually implement such laws, that writing style simply means in common English that I'm strongly against secrets and secrecy, I do believe that on the long run secrecy damages the public by allowing a bunch of maniacs to do whatever they want with almost no control.

        I apologise for using metaphors and often also extreme dichotomies to express my opinion graphically, but I'm Italian, thus that phrasing style is embedded in my DNA.
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          Oct 24 2013: GDF:
          Hyperbole is at times an effective rhetorical tool, especially when the question under discussion seems outlandish, as here. So we've both had a good chuckle.
    • Oct 24 2013: The problem with this idea is that the law is too easily manipulated by money and power. Copyright being the prime example of the idea of rule of law being beat back many times by corporate money.

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