By Bolton Charles Knowles 1867-1950
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He may well be wrong—legal and social restrictions could go a long way toward reducing the pressure on personal privacy. But the fundamental principle may well be right. The cameras are already starting to point both ways, with examples extending well beyond the famous case of the videotaped beating of Rodney King by police. In 1995, a California-based group called Communities for a The Global Spotlight 23 Better Environment (CBE) got fed up with waiting for corporations and government authorities to do something about major releases of toxic substances from oil industry facilities.
Now, some forty countries do, and the number is growing rapidly. Transparency is becoming the norm. Coupled with information technology, it creates an explosive combination, one that could change the nature of governance as drastically as the print revolution did half a millennium ago. Where information technology, globalization, and democratization converge, we may be seeing the emergence of a dynamic new alternative to the coercive power of states: regulation by revelation. Governments generally solve problems by telling people what to do.
At a cost of less than $2 million per month, the government’s “checkbook shutter control,” as it was dubbed, neatly circumvented the First Amendment challenges that might have arisen had the government invoked the regulatory kind of shutter control. S. government is not alone in its fears of this new form of transparency. India’s central government was sufficiently alarmed by the possibility of Indian citizens gaining access to high-resolution imagery of their country that it instituted a policy requiring all purchases of foreignsupplied imagery to be made through a central agency.
American Library History by Bolton Charles Knowles 1867-1950