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.