Peter Suber, Access to dangerous knowledge: reflections on 9/11 ten years later
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"Less than a month after the 9/11 attacks ten years ago, the non-partisan, non-profit Project on Government Oversight (POGO) urged the US Department of Energy (DOE) to remove certain information from its website. '[D]etailed maps and descriptions of all ten nuclear facilities with weapons-grade plutonium and highly-enriched uranium....contain virtual target information for terrorists.' The DOE agreed and took down the information. Less than two months later, POGO protested that the DOE had removed too much information. 'Communities have a legitimate need and right to have information about what goes on in their neighborhoods.' ...It's hard to find the right balance. It's hard to know whether we should even aim for balance. Should we put principle ahead of balance and, if so, which principle? If it's the principle to protect national security, that would give us one outcome, but if it's to protect the public's right to information, that would give us the opposite outcome. If we retreat to balance, then who should strike it, under what criteria, and with what oversight? The hard question at the center of this thicket is whether we should restrict access to dangerous knowledge...."