Down the Memory Hole

There’s no doubt that the Internet has been one of the greatest tools for information sharing every invented. Instead of having to go to the library, request a book, wait two weeks for that book to arrive, and squeeze every bit of knowledge you need out of that book in one or two weeks we not open a browser and type a search into Google. But it’s not limited solely to books. The state, failing to comprehend a future where the plebs could access and read its documents, put a bunch of stuff online for us to access. This saves a lot of people a lot of headaches having to go to a court to obtain a physical copy of records related to cases. Slowly the state is realizing its mistake and disappearing things down the memory hold:

The Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) has removed access to nearly a decade’s worth of electronic documents from four US appeals courts and one bankruptcy court.

The removal is part of an upgrade to a new computer system for the database known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER.

Court dockets and documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, were maintained with “locally developed legacy case management systems,” said AO spokesperson Karen Redmond in an e-mailed statement. Those five courts aren’t compatible with the new PACER system.

If your tax funded upgrade of a public system removes public records then the upgrade was not done correctly. As somebody who relies on being able to download the state’s dirty laundry and court records (but I repeat myself) to entertain my readers this kind of shit pisses me off. And I’m probably going to be pissed off more and more because I guarantee the state is going to “upgrade” more of its systems and toss a ton of online records down the memory hole. It’s a classic maneuver, if you can’t get away with destroying public records then you just make them very difficult to access.