November 16, 2008

Ludicrous: President Obama Likely To Be Cut Off From Most E-Mail

Greetings. The New York Times is reporting today on the high probability that President Obama will be forced to essentially give up using e-mail for most purposes, due to concerns over the implications of Records Act requirements.

Now that we're about to have a President who is tech-savvy in the Internet age, to enforce conditions that strip him of this key communications tool is a ludicrous situation.

To consider every e-mail to be a public record in the context of public interest and governmental transparency makes no more sense than would requiring that every phone call made by such officials also be recorded and be available for virtually unlimited future scrutiny.

While it can certainly be argued that situations arise where access to archived e-mail contents is valuable when investigating and adjudicating various situations -- in both the commercial and governmental worlds -- fears of inappropriate large scale e-mail disclosures may now be seriously undermining the use of this technology in both contexts, with the likely result being a detrimental reduction in often crucial communications.

E-mail is no longer a hi-tech novelty, it has become as fundamental to our world as physical mail and the telephone -- arguably now even more so than those two older technologies.

It's time that we rethink how records reporting policies, regulations, and laws may seriously restrain and damage useful and important communications. We should work toward striking some sort of balance to avoid creating situations where our leaders and others find themselves stripped of a crucial communications tool, over fears that their e-mail use doesn't include relevant and appropriate privacy protections.


Posted by Lauren at November 16, 2008 10:35 AM | Permalink
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