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3/29/09

Do we have a right to our own information?

If I told you that a government safety agency was in possession of information, which we paid them to compile, and the information could have a bearing on your personal safety, but the government would not release it because they feared that people might become hysterical if they knew, (the Chicago Tribune's description) you might think it concerned a deadly new health threat, or national security, or perhaps even flying saucers.

If you did, you would be incorrect.

The real story tells a great deal about how the citizens are perceived by their government.
Namely, they perceive us as children.

Here's the story, carried in the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post and a few other publications. It's nowhere near the front page. That's one way to tell it might actually be important.

FAA stays hush-hush when bird hits plane
By Michael J. Sniffen
The Associated Press
Posted: 03/28/2009 12:30:00 AM MDT


WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing to keep secret from travelers its vast records on where and how often commercial planes are damaged by hitting flying birds. The government agency argued that some carriers and airports would stop reporting incidents for fear the public would misinterpret the data and hold it against them. The reporting is voluntary; the FAA rejected a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation 10 years ago to mandate it.
The agency's formal secrecy proposal came just after FAA officials said they were going to release the huge database to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Sen. Chuck Schumer and fellow New York Democrat Rep. John Hall, vice chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, wrote administration officials urging them to abandon the proposal. "There's no reason to make . . . the causes of other accidents public and not this," Schumer said Friday. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told the FAA he would review any change.
After a multiple bird strike forced a US Airways jet to ditch in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, AP requested access to the bird-strike database, which contains more than 100,000 reports of strikes that have been voluntarily submitted since 1990.

1 comment:

Carol said...
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