Transparency in government

My post yesterday on government gathering information on it’s citizens triggered a post by Sebastian on a Transparent Society. So this is a good time to post about something that has been bouncing around in my brain for a while but I never got around to putting it out on the tubes of the Internet.

People that don’t see anything wrong with licensing gun owners, registration of firearms, being searched at the airport, and just about every other intrusion into your privacy will often say, “If you don’t have anything to hide then you have nothing to fear.”

How about if we turn this around and see if it still makes sense?

What if every firearm owned by our government were “registered” in a publicly accessible (read only) database that was required to be kept up to date including information on who was responsible for the firearm? What if every “public servant” were required to put their firearms qualifications, credit history, fingerprints, iris scans, pictures, physical description, firearm possession, home address, vehicle registration, spouse, children, financial data, phone numbers, property records, and mental health records in a publicly available database?

After all, they are public servants. Shouldn’t we know all those sorts of things about our servants? If they don’t have anything to hide then they have nothing to fear, right?

But if the claim is that only government employees should be allowed to keep that information on private citizens then who is really the servant and who is the master?


2 thoughts on “Transparency in government

  1. One thing I think that hobbyists need to get into is making their own UAVs. This needs to be a body of knowledge that’s held outside of government as well, since people who know how to build them will also have good ideas on how to defeat them. It’s one of those things I’d love to get into if I had time.

  2. Just so, Joe.

    Sebastian; You typically don’t a UAVs is there until it’s too late, do you?

    Both active and passive electronic detection would be pretty hard and fast prerequisites to defeating them, and that’s going to take some resources. Both active and passive electronic detection can be defeated also, if the user anticipates them. And if I’ve thought of it, then someone else has thought of it long before and already has acted on it.

    I’m reminded of the Wild Weasels of Vietnam. They’d fly into enemy territory to get missiles launched at them, so they could locate the missile sites and destroy them: Charge, feint, counter feint, counter counter feint,…

    For every large database of high value with a necessarily large number of entry points (Joe’s written much about this) there will be, by fact of nature, several people on the inside trying their best to compromise it. I often use the example of there having been Russian spies inside the very nerve center of the Manhattan Project.

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