LETTERS: Price of open government


Re: No easy answers, April 1.


Re: No easy answers, April 1.

Several U.S. cities and states have adopted a policy called ‘Government in the Sunshine’.

The premise is simple and logical. If you are paid by the public, the public is your boss. And your boss has the right to ask for any information, right now, at no cost.

That means that any member of the public – not just the constituency – can walk in and ask for a copy of every email the mayor has ever sent, or whatever takes your fancy.

The challenge, in this vastly connected world of ours, is that request will go to the IT group, which must apply the rules of ‘redaction’ to every one of those emails.

That means every single one of tens or hundreds of thousands of the mayor’s emails must be opened and carefully analyzed to ‘redact’ any information that might breach any one of dozens of redaction rules.

Ahhh… but here’s the kicker. The average kid in the IT basement does not begin to have the levels of secured access to allow him to read the mayor’s emails. So the mayor has to do it. And I’d like to think he has better things to do.

I’m a big believer in the premise that our municipal employees, elected or otherwise, work for us.

However, cut these guys some slack. As with many of the new, marvelous technologies, it’s just not that simple. Unless, of course, you’re perfectly happy seeing your banking or medical records show up on someone’s blog site one day!

Craig Crawford, Surrey