Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Lobbying By Form E-Mail Endangered

from the disregarded dept

The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has decided that they might be better off ignoring any email sent to them from a lobbying group website form. They're reviewing a regulation that would basically say that any "duplicate" emails would just be thrown out and ignored. There's a fine line here that may have been crossed. While things like "astroturfing" local newspapers with identical letters seem underhanded - using a web form to send a letter to a government agency to explain your position seems legitimate. While it would be nice for everyone who wants their opinion counted sat down and wrote an informed letter, that's simply not going to happen. Web submissions let people express their opinion - not necessarily in the text, but in numbers. This proposal says that the number of people who support (or don't support) a proposal doesn't matter any more. Seems like a way to cut out public input on government policies.

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  • identicon
    Agent Orange, 18 Apr 2003 @ 1:07pm

    Ignoring public forms

    Thanks for the article. I wonder if this means they will ignore any "similarly" worded e-mail as well. If so, legitimate comments are being left out and ignored and activism is being shot the finger by an uncaring government which is shutting out its "masters" (Ha - like they believe that ,of the people, by the people, for the people drivel they say). That government would be called tyranny instead of democracy. Which are we again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    xdroop, 19 Apr 2003 @ 6:16am

    No Subject Given

    Yet the EFF's Cohn says this would unfairly "place a burden on the average citizen to write their own unique analysis of the situation from scratch."

    Imagine that. Having to form an opinion of your own rather than merely helpfully parroting whatever the lobbyists want you to parrot.

    Exactly why are the motives of lobbyist groups automatically pure and above scrutiny? Must be the same reason why government's motives are automatically evil.

    I must have missed that civics lesson.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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