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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yes, U.S. sold out its legislative history

Cory Doctorow, General Accounting Office has sold exclusive access to legislative history down the river to Thomson West, Boing Boing, April 14, 2008.
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

Readers may remember a previous Boing Boing post Did the US gov't sell exclusive access to its legislative history to Thomson West? Well, the answer is now a definitive yes, that data has been sold down the river and is out to sea.

Public.Resource.Org sent in a FOIA request to GAO on this topic seeking access to the scanned data. Today's letter answering our FOIA request spells out the bad news. Turns out the GAO doesn't even get the data, they simply are given an account on Thomson's service. The rest of the government doesn't get access to this data, and the public is invited to stop by the GAO headquarters and pay 20 cents per page to copy paper.

This is one of those deals where the public domain got sold off ... GAO gets a bit of convenience by having their stuff scanned for them, but they gave up way more than they got in the deal, and the public (including government workers and public interest groups who need to consult this data) lost big-time. ...

Comment. We previously covered this story at OAN, but before the answer was definitive.