Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who benefits from restricting access to government records?

I don't intend to answer the question in the title to this post, but the question is far from rhetorical. One thing I can say for certain, the reasons given by governments for restricting access are seldom, if ever, intended to reveal the true beneficiaries. Oppressive governments thrive on restricting information. We have plenty of examples around us in the world today.

How does that apply to genealogy? Unfortunately, it is a fact of life in genealogical research that we have difficulty in obtaining information due to both public and private restrictions on access. During the past few months users of the Internet in the U.S. have been faced with several legislative assaults on the freedom of information. This battle will never be fully over. There will always be a balancing act between legitimate issues of privacy and oppression.

In every instance of a restriction of public records, it is a good idea to ask, who benefits from restricting access to the records?

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