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Re: [govtrack] Privacy and candidates

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  • Lucy Barber
    As the lurking archivist from the California State Archives, I have to say that I would not have any qualms about posting candidate s names and addresses on a
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 1, 2005
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      As the lurking archivist from the California State Archives, I have to say that I would not have any qualms about posting candidate's names and addresses on a website.  These people put themself in the public eye and knew the information was public.  The "people" deserve to know this information, and Scott's efforts to make it more readily accessible are great. They are inspiring me to work for easier access to the information directly from the Secretary of State or State Archives as appropriate.
       
      Lucy Barber
      [these are my personal opinions and not be confused with the State Archives or any public officials belief --

      Scott Beardsley <sc0ttbeardsley@...> wrote:
      --- "Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us"
      <tauberer@...> wrote:

      > no bounty for you!

      Bounty nazi! I'm not really a betting person but I'd
      be willing to bet (say $150 of my own $$$ on top of
      Josh's contribution) that some other state won't be
      able to beat me and Cali. My only conditions are
      primary sources, public domain data, and CC'd or
      similar) code. Josh maybe we should quantify what
      we're looking for (say number of *meaningful* rdf
      statements)?

      > I'm not sure you should even include that in your
      > data for privacy reasons.

      Hmmm. I've thought a bit about this since you've
      brought it up. It really begs the question: should
      political representatives be held to a different
      standard with regards to privacy? Should information
      designated as "for business purposes" be publicized? I
      mean, everything I'm gathering is 1) in the public
      domain 2) volunteered by the candidates themselves and
      3) on the internet already. Knowing that, doesn't it
      make publishing this data OK?

      On the other hand, the people this might affect the
      most negatively are the casual politicians who maybe
      ran once and never fully understood that address/phone
      number were optional (and submitted their home address
      and phone). Also, most of the lifer politicians seem
      to have PO BOX's and dedicated business phones listed.

      > The VCard spec does this, I think:
      > http://www.w3.org/TR/vcard-rdf

      Thx, ya I've stumbled across vcard before. I'll hold
      off on integrating addresses and phones until we
      decide if it's kosher or not.

      > I haven't used RDF::Core, so I'm not sure how you'd
      > end up with that.

      I imagine it's a bug and I'm posted a msg to their
      list. Thanks for the explanation. RDF::Core has some
      very useful features despite my difficulties.

      Scott



                 
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      ___________________________________
      Lucy Barber
      lgbarber@...
      author of Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political Tradition (University of California Press) Now in paperback:
      http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9234001.html
    • Scott Lay
      Ditto from the other California Scott. Scott http://www.aroundthecapitol.com _____ From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 1, 2005
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        “Ditto” from the other California Scott.

         

        Scott

        http://www.aroundthecapitol.com

         


        From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Lucy Barber
        Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 11:56 AM
        To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [govtrack] Privacy and candidates

         

        As the lurking archivist from the California State Archives, I have to say that I would not have any qualms about posting candidate's names and addresses on a website.  These people put themself in the public eye and knew the information was public.  The "people" deserve to know this information, and Scott's efforts to make it more readily accessible are great. They are inspiring me to work for easier access to the information directly from the Secretary of State or State Archives as appropriate.

         

        Lucy Barber

        [these are my personal opinions and not be confused with the State Archives or any public officials belief --

        Scott Beardsley <sc0ttbeardsley@...> wrote:

        --- "Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us"
        <tauberer@...> wrote:

        > no bounty for you!

        Bounty nazi! I'm not really a betting person but I'd
        be willing to bet (say $150 of my own $$$ on top of
        Josh's contribution) that some other state won't be
        able to beat me and Cali. My only conditions are
        primary sources, public domain data, and CC'd or
        similar) code. Josh maybe we should quantify what
        we're looking for (say number of *meaningful* rdf
        statements)?

        > I'm not sure you should even include that in your
        > data for privacy reasons.

        Hmmm. I've thought a bit about this since you've
        brought it up. It really begs the question: should
        political representatives be held to a different
        standard with regards to privacy? Should information
        designated as "for business purposes" be publicized? I
        mean, everything I'm gathering is 1) in the public
        domain 2) volunteered by the candidates themselves and
        3) on the internet already. Knowing that, doesn't it
        make publishing this data OK?

        On the other hand, the people this might affect the
        most negatively are the casual politicians who maybe
        ran once and never fully understood that address/phone
        number were optional (and submitted their home address
        and phone). Also, most of the lifer politicians seem
        to have PO BOX's and dedicated business phones listed.

        > The VCard spec does this, I think:
        > http://www.w3.org/TR/vcard-rdf

        Thx, ya I've stumbled across vcard before. I'll hold
        off on integrating addresses and phones until we
        decide if it's kosher or not.

        > I haven't used RDF::Core, so I'm not sure how you'd
        > end up with that.

        I imagine it's a bug and I'm posted a msg to their
        list. Thanks for the explanation. RDF::Core has some
        very useful features despite my difficulties.

        Scott



                   
        __________________________________
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        Stay in touch with email, IM, photo sharing and more. Check it out!
        http://discover.yahoo.com/stayintouch.html



        ___________________________________
        Lucy Barber
        lgbarber@...
        author of Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political Tradition (University of California Press) Now in paperback:
        http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9234001.html

      • John Slevin
        If I can be of any help to the person who mentioned looking for what data there is to find...I will gladly try to help. Because the individual contributors to
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 1, 2005
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          If I can be of any help to the person who mentioned looking for what data there is to find...I will gladly try to help.
           
          Because the individual contributors to this discussion are technically proficient far beyond my poor powers to add or detract, I've been able to learn much just "listening in". 
           
          To the extent the electoral process is transparent we can say an attempt has been made to protect "the public's right to know". 
           
          Technical mastery of ignorance aside, I think it's safe to say that the main obstruction to the public's right to know is the public's tendency not to bother....
           
           
          As for candidate name availability...the info concerning most candidate names and similar information about who files to run, for some time already has been available by various jurisdictions.   Moreover, information like this, is becoming more readily available (and the process is becoming more transparent) as the technology becomes more user friendly and as it becomes more of the standard for the general public.
           
          Knowledgeable people like those on this list are essential to protect the public with any deployment of new technology.
           
          It is at least equally important that we persist in asking: should there be any such public debate or discussion in the first place?  Is a government forum or edict the right way to "protect" one or more specific "public goals".
           
          One look at the recent money grabbing and distortion of facts involved in various ballot counting mechanisms and processes, tells a sordid slice of another story...the fact that often the public is not served by the very fact of government intrusion.
           
          Ballot machines don't rig themselves.  Sometimes no problem existed UNTIL someone stepped forward "to protect us".
           
          There always is danger whenever a few meet to determine how best to "protect" all.
           
          I probably can help little or not at all with technical matters, at least not at the expert level of those I've  noticed on this discussion.  Since someone asked recently about how to locate what data is there to be got, I am certainly willing to try and help there.  Knowing what "govt" info exists (especially that info concerning electoral matters) and where it might be is more in alignment with my professional experience and abilities.  My many thanks to all of you for the informative discussion.
           
           
           
           
          Scott Lay <scott@...> wrote:

           

          “Ditto” from the other California Scott.

           

          Scott

          http://www.aroundthecapitol.com

           


          From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Lucy Barber
          Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 11:56 AM
          To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [govtrack] Privacy and candidates

           

          As the lurking archivist from the California State Archives, I have to say that I would not have any qualms about posting candidate's names and addresses on a website.  These people put themself in the public eye and knew the information was public.  The "people" deserve to know this information, and Scott's efforts to make it more readily accessible are great. They are inspiring me to work for easier access to the information directly from the Secretary of State or State Archives as appropriate.

           

          Lucy Barber

          [these are my personal opinions and not be confused with the State Archives or any public officials belief --

          Scott Beardsley <sc0ttbeardsley@...> wrote:

          --- "Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us"
          <tauberer@...> wrote:

          > no bounty for you!

          Bounty nazi! I'm not really a betting person but I'd
          be willing to bet (say $150 of my own $$$ on top of
          Josh's contribution) that some other state won't be
          able to beat me and Cali. My only conditions are
          primary sources, public domain data, and CC'd or
          similar) code. Josh maybe we should quantify what
          we're looking for (say number of *meaningful* rdf
          statements)?

          > I'm not sure you should even include that in your
          > data for privacy reasons.

          Hmmm. I've thought a bit about this since you've
          brought it up. It really begs the question: should
          political representatives be held to a different
          standard with regards to privacy? Should information
          designated as "for business purposes" be publicized? I
          mean, everything I'm gathering is 1) in the public
          domain 2) volunteered by the candidates themselves and
          3) on the internet already. Knowing that, doesn't it
          make publishing this data OK?

          On the other hand, the people this might affect the
          most negatively are the casual politicians who maybe
          ran once and never fully understood that address/phone
          number were optional (and submitted their home address
          and phone). Also, most of the lifer politicians seem
          to have PO BOX's and dedicated business phones listed.

          > The VCard spec does this, I think:
          > http://www.w3.org/TR/vcard-rdf

          Thx, ya I've stumbled across vcard before. I'll hold
          off on integrating addresses and phones until we
          decide if it's kosher or not.

          > I haven't used RDF::Core, so I'm not sure how you'd
          > end up with that.

          I imagine it's a bug and I'm posted a msg to their
          list. Thanks for the explanation. RDF::Core has some
          very useful features despite my difficulties.

          Scott



                     
          __________________________________
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          Stay in touch with email, IM, photo sharing and more. Check it out!
          http://discover.yahoo.com/stayintouch.html



          ___________________________________
          Lucy Barber
          lgbarber@...
          author of Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political Tradition (University of California Press) Now in paperback:
          http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9234001.html



          In Liberty,

          John P. Slevin owner of ElectionGypsies


          Discover Yahoo!
          Stay in touch with email, IM, photo sharing & more. Check it out!

        • Scott Beardsley
          ... That s exactly how I see things too. Josh s initial scepticism is very healthy. Discussion about these issues is critical and should be encouraged. I don t
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 3, 2005
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            > These people put themself in the
            > public eye and knew the information was public.

            That's exactly how I see things too.

            Josh's initial scepticism is very healthy. Discussion
            about these issues is critical and should be
            encouraged. I don't want to be the person putting
            innocent citizens personal data online either. On the
            other hand, anonymity in the political process opens
            it up to abuse. Translucency is always the best policy
            IMO. I think we need to rise above the political games
            and do what is right. Is it right to publish a
            contributors home address/telephone (in the case of
            FEC records)? Maybe not, but I think it *is* fair to
            publish the fact that the contribution occured (and
            some other details like names, amounts, districts,
            etc).

            As far as privacy advocates/watchdog groups goes... I
            agree, we are in our infancy and it would unwise to
            put too much data out pushing the privacy issue to the
            forefront. In the case of FEC contributors we might
            want to tread lightly for a bit.

            > Scott's efforts to make it more readily accessible

            I should note that Josh (govtrack.us) and Scott Lay
            (aroundthecapitol.com) both have already made many
            more contributions to this cause than me. I'm just
            hoping to catch up to them.

            > They are inspiring me to work for easier access

            This is great news! I think working within the system
            is necessary until we reach a critical mass.

            Scott




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