There's a lot that I like about Heather Brooke's talk, I like her point that many governments are facing "a crisis of legitimacy" and we've seen "transparency" become parodied by those that claim it. People that think #biggovernment
is the answer should really listen to what she has to say. I know that anyone reading what I write probably moved past the competent government fantasy long. But I think there is great value to watching this because she makes a grave mistake in the first half.
She is happy to have access to government data. But she is missing the fact that by the time it's published and made available to us, it's made available on their terms. It's basically whitewashed to improve appearances. Whether removing a metric like the M3 money supply, redefining the calculations (unemployment, inflation, etc), it all adds up to the same thing; they removing our ability to see what's really happening, or they are feeding a whitewashed lie (which idiots and journalists alike) assume to be truthful, particularly when it aligns with their ideology.
Anyone familiar with the saga of Phil Jones, Michael Mann and their "respect" for the FOIA requests they received, also understands how data can become "lost" once it's requested.
I think the important thing for people to be aware of is that data often comes in three stages: 1) raw data, 2) cleaned data (3.5 sigma moves investigate, explained corrected) and, 3) "adjusted data." I have great concern when that last category is presented as the "official" data.
Most people know that Eisenhower warned about the Military Industrial Complex in his Farewell Address. Yet there was a second warning in that same section of his address. "The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite."
The 'opposite danger' has not yet emerged. But the problem of our government leading the "data" with research grants and other monies is a real one; the government does now, for their own agenda, what tobacco companies did for theirs not too long ago. If you put a $2.1B budget on the table, and tell people the answer you want, the "researchers" will find that answer. People that are happy to have the Government "massaging" the answers to things that they agree with are courting a dangerous precedent because it's only a matter of time before the other party assumes power and uses the same platform to abuse an issue they disagree with.
Eisenhower's speech is a quick and worthy read:http://americanliterature.com/history/dwight-d-eisenhower/speech/eisenhowers-farewell-address-to-the-nation
Don't make it easy for them to lie to us.