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I don't know, and there are probably things to learn from differet national experiences.

Swedish transparency works pretty well on a couple of foundational principles:

  • Everything that isn't secret, is public (burden to show that it is and should be secret is on the government). Work products (including post-its) are not included, and there are pretty strict times on how long everything must be kept.

  • List of reasons to make things secret is short and comprehensive.

  • Government employees has a legally protected right to whistle-blow in that bosses are prohibited from investigating who told the press. Only works in combination with strong unions though.

You can get documents sent home to you, but you can also access documents on site, and if so the government has no right to check your identity. For large amounts of paper copies the government can charge a copying fee, but I don't know how relevant that is today with digital files.

These rules goes back to the rivalry and mutual suspicion between the hats and the caps in parliament run Sweden in the 18th century, but they have served well in keeping corruption down.

For a more modern example, Dataskydd.net (run by former Pirate MEP Amelia Andersdotter) recently sued for access to the national police chief's tracking cookies and got them. I don't remember why she did that, but you can do stuff like that.

There is a privacy vs transparency debate in particular when you can cross-check databases with ease. The Pirate position is that information needs to be limited at collection, ie you should as a rule not build databases with data you don't want public.

by fjallstrom on Mon Dec 12th, 2016 at 04:44:59 PM EST
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