September 20, 2020

Texas Bill Would Close Meetings About Computer Security

A bill (HB 3245) introduced in the Texas state legislature would exempt meetings discussing “matters relating to computer security or the security of other information resources technologies” from the state’s Open Meetings Act.

This seems like a bad idea. Meetings can already be closed if sufficient cause is shown. The mere fact that computer security, or matters relating to it, will be discussed should not in itself be sufficient cause to close a meeting. Computer security is a topic on which Texas, or any state or national government, needs all the help it can get. The public includes many experts who are willing to help. Why shut them out?

The bill is scheduled for a hearing on Monday in the Texas House State Affairs Committee. If you live in Texas, you might want to let the committee members know what you think about this.

(Thanks to Adina Levin for bringing this to my attention.)

Comments

  1. I wonder if discussing the security of a computer on which unrelated information is stored – like redistricting or lobbying – could provide blanket closure. Remember that DeLay used the Patriot Act to track down the democratic lawmakers who were trying to stop the DeLay redistricting. I think this makes sense only if you think “computer security” actually applies only when the major focus is computer security. I suspect it is a highly useful bit of legislation that could cover almost any bit of discussion.

    “Did you send me an email on that? Was it secure?”
    -closed meeting-

  2. David Whit says:

    I suppose you spend too much time thinking inside the box…

    This policy would also serve well to help hide things within computer programs that the state of Texas is well aware of- like the absolute ability of Windows platforms to provide TOTAL surveillance on all you do, see, and hear through its use.