Secrecy News 02/22/05 VANISHING INFORMATION RESOURCES

With almost every passing day, public access to yet another government information resource is extinguished. Like an exotic species or a nearly forgotten language that suddenly becomes extinct, its disappearance excites little attention or protest. But the cumulative effect of many such losses is bound to be significant.

The latest official resource to vanish from the public domain is the U.S. Air Force “orbital element” database. These orbital elements, which characterize the orbits of satellites in Earth orbit, have been freely available to the public through NASA for nearly twenty years. Now they won’t be.