carl malamud – public

carl malamed

Just learning about him.

Read his wikipedia page here.

He founded

who’s motto is “Making Government Information More Accessible”.

He just posted this:

When the U.S. Attorney told Aaron he had to plead guilty to 13 felonies for attempting to propagate knowledge before she’d even consider a deal, that was an abuse of power, a misuse of the criminal justice system, a crime against justice.

And that U.S. Attorney does not act alone. She is part of a posse intent on protecting property not people. All over the United States, those without access to means don’t have access to justice and face these abuses of power every day.

When people try to restrict access to the law, or they try to collect tolls on the road to knowledge, or deny education to those without means, those people are the ones who should face the stern gaze of an outraged public prosecutor.

re: Aaron


The bottom line is that fixing PACER is not a technological challenge, but a political one, and technology has yet to solve the problem of getting the politically powerful to focus on the right things at the same time.


talk at mit april 7 2015 – as tweeted by Ethan:

began with the belief that all citizens should have access to the laws and materials of government, sez

. began posting building codes because they’re copyrighted, but also incorporated into law, which is outside copyright.

National Fire Protection Association finally sued over the national Electrical code. and two other firms defending him.

“PACER is the working of our federal courts” sez . If you’re a researcher who wants to download 1b documents, you’ll need to pay.

The PACER work moved from “recycle the public domain” to downloading 700GB from a library – there was no appropriate use policy.

. theorizes that judges get little fan mail, so he’s encouraging us to send postcards re: PACER to the Mass. chief justice

“On Mayday – also Law Day – we’re opening a PACER polling place at the Internet Archive” to solicit anti-PACER postcards –

. acknowledges a problem with suing courts over PACER: Congress ordered the courts to charge for access to the system

.: PACER’s fees are a poll tax on access to justice.

. conducted a privacy audit of PACER in 2008… discovered that the documents with personally identifiable info are still online

. is proposing the Swartz Cup to award groups or law schools that download and republish the most PACER docs (without paying)

PACER is a distributed system, explains , run by a contractor in Texas. Very hard to search across court systems.

Who does PACER access really matter for? Journalists, esp. data journalists. Academic researchers. Big data analysis sez

One of ‘s core concerns: smart, well-meaning people working with broken, outdated tools, which cost fed gov’t $80b a year

The federal government pays itself $30m to access PACER, and fees occasionally get in the way of Justice department defending the US…



.@carlmalamud is a national treasure. Georgia suing him for making state law accessible to citizens is disgraceful.…

july 2015

It takes a special kind of ridiculousness to argue that someone seeking to make the laws of the land more accessible to the public is somehow looking to “control the accessibility” of those laws.


Carl Malamud (@carlmalamud) tweeted at 5:17 PM on Thu, Apr 20, 2017:
Book of Swaraj sources just sat on my shelf. When I sent it down to @internetarchive 636 people read it in a year.


find/follow Carl:

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