Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Paper, please

A news report I saw today asserts that the Labor Department recently ordered reporters to start using government-provided software and equipment to access data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, I can understand an agency in, say, the Defense Department or the State Department needing to be very careful about who sees what information, and actually needing to control the methods of access. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics? Are they afraid that WikiLeaks will get hold of scandalous facts about unemployment in Poughkeepsie?

Why would this be happening now? Oh, yeah. It's an election year, and job numbers will be important to political victory.

Personally, I sometimes yearn for the days when such information arrived on paper. Once the publication was in your hands, you only needed standard human software and equipment -- a brain and eyesight -- to have access to it permanently, and nobody could sneak around electronically and expunge potentially politically inconvenient information in it.