Down the Memory Hole

In the book 1984 the Party uses a device called a memory hold to dispose of information that it wants censored. A little known fact is that the United States government (and probably every other government) also have memory holes in the form of classified information. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently got to see this wonderful eraser of information as the National Security Agency (NSA) attempted to rewrite the history of a court transcript:

On June 6, the court held a long hearing in Jewel in a crowded, open courtroom, widely covered by the press. We were even on the local TV news on two stations. At the end, the Judge ordered both sides to request a transcript since he ordered us to do additional briefing. But when it was over, the government secretly, and surprisingly sought permission to “remove” classified information from the transcript, and even indicated that it wanted to do so secretly, so the public could never even know that they had done so.

Read the story, it’s an eye opener if you’re one of those poor unfortunate souls who still trusts the state. What’s more worrisome is that an unknown number of court case transcripts may have been altered in the past. In other words even the reliability of the judicial system is in question in this country. It’s pretty hard to set precedents when the information regarding a case is classified.