Friday, December 23, 2011

A VERY difficult issue

With the exeption of a few libertarians, no-one has ever advocated completely free speech. Libel, for instance, has always been actionable. So one could in the case below reasonably argue for the complete destruction of any of the knowledge referred to. As it is, some sort of reasonable compromise seems to be in the works but information could still leak out and get into the wrong hands

I think a libertarian compromise would be to enable a mass vaccination against the new virus and then do a full release of the information
The US government has asked the scientific journals Nature and Science to censor data on a laboratory-made version of bird flu that could spread more easily to humans, fearing it could be used as a potential weapon.

The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity asked the two journals to publish redacted versions of studies by two research groups that created forms of the H5N1 avian flu that could easily jump between ferrets - typically considered a sign the virus could spread quickly among humans.

The journals are objecting to the request, saying it would restrict access to information that might advance the cause of public health.

The request was a first for the expert panel, formed after a series of anthrax attacks on US targets in 2001. It advises the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies about "dual use" research that could serve public health but also be a potential bioterror threat.

The National Institutes of Health funded the two research labs' work to see how the virus could become more transmissible in humans, with the aim of getting early insight to contain threats to public health. The NSABB wants to keep this information from falling into the wrong hands.

But the NIH said the government was working out how to allow secure access to the information to those with a legitimate need to see it.

"It is essential for public health that the full details of any scientific analysis of flu viruses be available to researchers," the editor in chief of Nature, Dr Philip Campbell, said in a statement.


There are some reports that the cat is out of the bag already


Uno Hu said...

I am of a libertarian bent, but still sane. The results of this experiment, this "modified virus" whatever the motives involved, has excellent potential as a bioweapon and would not be nearly as difficult as anthrax to "weaponize". And the justification for releasing details about it is what????? Some abstract notion that libertarianism prohibits "censorship" to control the release of real national security data?? Get real people!! Libertarians individually cannot expect to be taken seriously or the movement thought of as reasonable and a viable political philosophy unless the positions that we espouse are reasonable. Arguing for publishing how to produce what amounts to a weapons grade flu virus is nutz!!

Kee Bird said...

`Some now belive that the influenza that hit americ around WW I was a form of BIRD FLU

Anonymous said...

Although they would be in the best position to help, they would also likely be the first against the wall if their monster gets out.

Anonymous said...

Kee Bird. Not just "americ" but some 20 million people around the world contracted that form of pneumonia following WWI.

Go Away Bird said...

What kind of secrets do they want to hide?

Anonymous said...

Yay, Birdbrain is still here!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but this is a non-issue and everyone in government knows it. Seems the data was already released by the researchers well before the debate on publication in Nature and Science broke out. So if the data is already out there, what is the agenda? The Feds trying to suppress data "for our own good". They WANT this to end up in court and they WANT you all to believe that some information should be suppressed "for your own good". They NEED a judge to give them that power so they can get started really pulling the wool over everyone's eyes.

So in answer to prior posters...
@Uno- too late for that. Now it's just an excuse
@Kee- You are too ignorant to speak to. Please go look at porn.
@GoAway- all of them. But I'm betting you already guessed that...