Some Silliness of SSI

Needless to say, SSI (Sensitive Security Information) is a very needed and useful thing, especially after the disastrous events of 9/11. But overclassification has thrown our government into a tailspin of trying to cover-up public records.

Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government has advised airplane pilots against flying near 100 nuclear power plants around the country or they will be forced down by fighter jets. But pilots say there’s a hitch in the instructions: aviation security officials refuse to disclose the precise location of the plants because they consider that “SSI” — Sensitive Security Information.

“The message is; ‘please don’t fly there, but we can’t tell you where there is,'” says Melissa Rudinger of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a trade group representing 60% of American pilots.

Determined to find a way out of the Catch-22, the pilots’ group sat down with a commercial mapping company, and in a matter of days plotted the exact geographical locations of the plants from data found on the Internet and in libraries. It made the information available to its 400,000 members on its Web site — until officials from the Transportation Security Administration asked them to take the information down. “Their concern was that [terrorists] mining the Internet could use it,” Ms. Rudinger says.

Schneier < WallStreetJournal


Personal note: What I find the most amusing is that terrorists would not go and call up a government official to find out where whatever they’re seeking lies. The first source would definitely be a public library, or the Internet.
So, as proven by AOPA that the information is very easily researched from public sources and the Internet, what’s to stop terrorists (if they were going to anyways) to do the same?
Also, if the government starts tightening the ropes on public information/records, then where does it end? Will the solution be eventually setting up a Ministry of Information like China to filter all information and censorship based on SSI?
There are so many questions, but not very many answers. However, in this particular case, common sense rules.