For today, a little counterpoint: what if transparency is sometimes bad in government? That's the argument made in "Against Transparency" a 2009 essay by Lawrence Lessig.

Lessig's primary beef is that transparency for the sake of transparency sometimes just confuses people, given the vast amounts of information at hand and the completely different ways we respond to it. He writes:

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"The problem, however, is that not all data satisfies the simple requirement that they be information that consumers can use, in a presentation they can use it ... to know whether a particular transparency rule works, then, we need to trace just how the information will enter these 'complex chains of comprehension.'"

Read Lessig's essay from The New Republic, which also takes a big detour through a theory on how transparency is killing the news and recording industries, in full here.

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Contact Joe O'Sullivan at 394-8414 or joe.osullivan@rapidcityjournal.com

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