January 14, 2013

New York Times op-ed writer and former executive editor Bill Keller on the debate over publishing gun owners’ names and addresses:

When it comes to privacy, we are all hypocrites. We howl when a newspaper publishes public records about personal behavior. At the same time, we are acquiescing in a much more sweeping erosion of our privacy — government surveillance, corporate data-mining, political microtargeting, hacker invasions — with no comparable outpouring of protest. As a society we have no coherent view of what information is worth defending and how to defend it.

Related: For the fifth time since publishing the data, a suspicious package was received by The Journal News or one of its journalists. Testing showed the package, sent to the editor’s home, contained only “fecal matter.” | Police are investigating what role, if any, The Journal News map had in a burglary at a home included on the map. The owner’s gun safe was targeted, reports Newsday. | Most states keep gun data private, but that can be dangerous too, writes Gary Miles. | Jeff Jarvis: “I say that news organizations should become advocates for open information, demanding that government not only make more of it available but also put it in standard formats so it can be searched, visualized, analyzed, and distributed. What the value of that information is to society is not up to the gatekeepers — officials or journalists — to decide. It is up to the public.”

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Julie Moos (jmoos@poynter.org) has been Director of Poynter Online and Poynter Publications since 2009. Previously, she was Editor of Poynter Online (2007-2009) and Poynter Publications…
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