Deep irony too that while most in South Dakota look the other way mumbling things like, "If you don't have anything to hide, what does it matter if your phone calls are recorded and call data collected into a huge federal government database." Meanwhile however, the State of South Dakota thinks almost everything it does should remain secret with a court-ordered need to know required to pry out much of anything in contrast to many states where most information is available by default unless locked for sufficient reason.
The most recent eruption of news in this area compliments of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader story on the "secret" ownership of the South Dakota video gambling machines. Also apparently state contracts issued without bids, etc, etc. Good golly, If they don't have something to hide, what difference does it make? [Doug Wiken, "South Dakota Focus and Those Bloggers and Newsmen," Dakota Today, 2008.12.22]
To their credit, Republican state senators Gant and Abdallah, along with outgoing senator Napoli, all state in Jonathan Ellis's video lottery article that the names of video lottery owners should be public.
Senator Napoli notes that video lottery comprises an alignment of the "biggest guns in Pierre"—retailers, petroleum dealers, beverage distributors, and others. The power behind video lottery and other government operations explains why, far from arguing for consistency in individual and government secrecy, I will argue the double standard should be flipped: government affairs like video lottery should be subject to much more public scrutiny than the state can impose on my phone calls. As an individual, I have relatively little power to do social harm on a daily basis. The content of my phone calls to friends in Canada or Russia should be subject to state inspection only upon demonstration in court of reasonable suspicion. Governments have much more daily impact on our social welfare; the actions of our governments (local, state, and federal) thus warrant much more transparency.
I've never liked the "if you have nothing to hide" argument on privacy. Try getting strip-searched at the airport, and you'll see where that argument fails. Privacy for individuals is a recognition of human dignity and autonomy, not individual innocence.
Secrecy for government affairs is much different. Government action is an extension of our popular will. We as the generators of that will thus have a right to know what our will is doing.