Making Public Documents Public Online

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There used to be a notion that instead of selling books, or downloading porn, or collecting marketing statistics, the Internet was actually for transmitting information for getting data into the public sphere in a way that other mainstream media either couldn't or wouldn't (depending on how paranoid you are). Fortunately for those who would oppose the grand media conspiracy, there are a few people out there who still use the Internet for its original purpose. They run a site called The Smoking Gun.

The purpose of The Smoking Gun is to make interesting documents available on the Web. By combing through court records and taking advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, the editors of The Smoking Gun have managed to secure: an FBI report on Elvis's drug use, three years before his death; a copy of the NDA potential employees have to sign to work for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman; tidbits from Sonny Bono's FBI file (did he really keep an AK-47 in his basement?); a 1966 report by the British ambassador on the Beatles' tour of Japan; and a police report describing Shaquille O'Neal acting up at Disney World. You get the idea. MORE >>