Blacked Out

Blacked Out : Government Secrecy in the Information Age

3.29 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Nearly forty years ago the US Congress passed the landmark Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) giving the public the right to government documents. This 'right to know' has been used over the past decades to challenge overreaching Presidents and secretive government agencies. The example of transparency in government has served as an example to nations around the world spawning similar statutes in fifty-nine countries. This 2006 book examines the evolution of the move toward openness in government. It looks at how technology has aided the disclosure and dissemination of information. The author tackles the question of whether the drive for transparency has stemmed the desire for government secrecy and discusses how many governments ignore or frustrate the legal requirements for the release of key documents. Blacked Out is an important contribution during a time where profound changes in the structure of government are changing access to government documents.show more

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Review quote

Alasdair Roberts' Blacked Out is a fast-paced, well-informed and engrossing account of the emergence of a worldwide movement to hold governments accountable by requiring them to disclose information they would rather withhold to conceal corruption, bureaucratic incompetence, environmental degradation, human rights abuses and other misconduct. It is essential reading for proponents of open societies. -Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute "Alasdair Roberts has written a monumentally important book, not only about secrecy and the right-to-know movement, but about the deeply troubling 'ethic of detachment' and quiescence of the American public. What good is significant information about abuses of power if there is no accountability, if no one acts on that information?" -Charles Lewis, President, The Fund for Independence in Journalism "Professor Roberts provides keen insights into the power struggle over secretiveness in supranational institutions...Blacked Out makes it crystal clear that the game has changed drastically when it comes to guarding citizens' right to information about the activities conducted by governments and their private surrogates." -Doris Graber, University of Illinois "Blacked Out, is an accessible and detailed account of the rise and partial fall of the information disclosure culture in governments around the world." -Craig Forcese, Ottawa Law Review "Roberts describes the tactics that politicians and bureaucrats have used to preserve government secrecy, explains how profound changes in the structure of government-notably privatization of public services-are complicating campaigns for openness, and notes how new information technologies sometimes enhance openness, but sometimes create barriers." -Future Surveyshow more

About Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts is the Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow of the Department of Political Science, University College London. He received his law degree from the University of Toronto and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University. His research focuses on two areas: public sector restructuring and open government.show more

Table of contents

1. The glass case; Part I. Context: 2. Secrecy and security; 3. Gulliver; 4. Message discipline; 5. Soft states; Part II. Structure: 6. Opaque networks; 7. The corporate evil; 8. Remote control; Part III. Technology: 9. Liquid paper; Part IV. Conclusion: 10. We like to watch; Notes.show more

Rating details

17 ratings
3.29 out of 5 stars
5 18% (3)
4 6% (1)
3 65% (11)
2 12% (2)
1 0% (0)
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