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Sunlight or sunburn: A survey of attitudes toward online availability of US public records

Sunlight or sunburn: A survey of attitudes toward online availability of US public records Many have enthusiastically greeted the ability to search and view public records online as a great advance for transparency and accountability. Such ability, however, also creates value tensions with privacy and other important human values. In this paper, we report findings from a survey of 134 residents of the US Pacific Northwest on their awareness of and attitudes towards online access to political campaign records and real estate transaction histories, bringing to light some of the social implications of technological changes that increase ease of access to public records. We show that, while respondents often understood the reason behind making these records public, considerable concern about the current accessibility of these records exists, along with a precautionary indication that such open access may reduce public participation for some individuals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Polity IOS Press

Sunlight or sunburn: A survey of attitudes toward online availability of US public records

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Publisher
IOS Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by IOS Press, Inc
ISSN
1570-1255
eISSN
1875-8754
DOI
10.3233/IP-2012-0267
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many have enthusiastically greeted the ability to search and view public records online as a great advance for transparency and accountability. Such ability, however, also creates value tensions with privacy and other important human values. In this paper, we report findings from a survey of 134 residents of the US Pacific Northwest on their awareness of and attitudes towards online access to political campaign records and real estate transaction histories, bringing to light some of the social implications of technological changes that increase ease of access to public records. We show that, while respondents often understood the reason behind making these records public, considerable concern about the current accessibility of these records exists, along with a precautionary indication that such open access may reduce public participation for some individuals.

Journal

Information PolityIOS Press

Published: Jan 1, 2012

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