EP 05 NH Secrets: The Way We Were Pt 2 - The Battle Over Computer Access, Right to Know, and Open Access to Information with V. Michael Hutchings and Susan Clay of Common Cause
The First Debate Over the Access to Digital Information May Have Taken Place Right Here in NH.
In 1985, before the Internet was much more than a twinkle in DARPA's eye. Governor John H. Sununu asked the NH Legislature for money to computerize the system by which the state raised and spent what was more than $1 billion a year at that time. It was termed the Integrated Financial System.
But when the new financial system was about to go into use, some lawmakers, particularly Michael Hutchings (R-Plymouth) and myself began to fear that we had created a bank of information to which the executive branch would have access while the legislature did not.
Initially the battle lines related to the balance of power between the legislative branch and the executive branch, a tussle that has been occurring since the Republic began.
However, it quickly became evident, from the fact that the fight made the pages of the Financial Times of London, the NY Times, and Wall Street Journal as well as Newsweek magazine, that this battle had huge ramifications not just in NH but beyond that. As it turns out, this fight was the opening salvo in what would become a long term debate over the access to information.
It would be more than a decade before the Internet would ramp up the debate even more dramatically but it appears that this was the first public debate over the access to information in the computer era -an issue that has occupied the nation ever since.
Here's the conversation with Former Representative Michael Hutchings and Susan Clay, Director of Common Cause NH who was also engaged in the debate.
Ep 05 Part 2 NH Secrets_VMH2 Computer Access - Right to Know - Citizen Access by New Hampshire Secrets, Legends & Lore
<iframe width="100%" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/610303827&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true"></iframe>