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Cloudy skies in PA

Are the folks at the NYT reading FCW?

I noted earlier this week that the NYT had opined about the need to step up cyber-security measures, which is not something that one typically reads about on the edit pages of most newspapers.

This morning... the subject is the National Weather Service. Last month, FCW did the story about how Sen. Rick Santorum is looking pass a law that would bar the National Weather Service from competing with commercial weather companies.
Here is the NYT editorial:

Overcast in Pennsylvania [NYT, 6.4.2004, registration required]
Senator Rick Santorum is proposing to squelch the National Weather Service's growing role in the information age.

The gist:
The Weather Service provides a priceless flow of nonstop measurements and readings that commercial forecasting companies package and sell to the public. Lately, the Weather Service itself has been trying to make all its information more accessible to anyone who wants it. But Mr. Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, has introduced legislation that would basically require the service to give much of its data only to those private weather forecasting companies. A dozen of those businesses happen to be located in Mr. Santorum's home state, Pennsylvania.

But here is a hint for the NYT editorial team -- read this story:
Chemical publisher goes after NIH [FCW.com, 5.27.2005]
The American Chemical Society is lobbying Congress to rein in a new National Institutes of Health database designed to accelerate biomedical research.

This confrontation between what is the job of government and what should be left to the private sector is going to be an ongoing one in this age of open information.

This is one of those difficult situations because both sides have very valid arguments. Yet people have the right to access data which they pay for after all. But as a believer in competition, it doesn't seem to make sense to restrict access to public data. And competition spurs AccuWeather (based in PA) or The Weather Channel (based in Atlanta) to do their jobs better.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 04, 2005 at 12:14 PM


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