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New Jersey officials removed from the Internet some Web pages that officials fear could be useful to terrorists in planning attacks. The state Department of Environmental Protection recently removed a database listing the hazardous chemicals and substances used or stored at 33,000 businesses throughout the state. The department also removed maps showing New Jersey’s reservoirs, which serve 4 million people. The information was removed “for security reasons temporarily,” DEP spokeswoman Loretta O’Donnell told the Daily Record of Parsippany, N.J. The reservoir information is available on paper maps of the state. But the DEP felt it was safer to remove it from the Internet, where it could be downloaded and used in computer mapping programs, she said. There is no blanket order on Internet data, but all departments were told to review their policies to address the safety of the citizens of the state, said Rae Hutton, spokeswoman for Acting Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco. The federal government also has pulled Web pages it believes could aid terrorists. OMB Watch, a group in Washington, D.C., that keeps tabs on the White House Office of Management and Budget, said federal agencies have removed information about the nation’s nuclear sites, energy plants, pipelines, road mapping data, aviation enforcement actions and a report critical of the lack of security at many chemical plants. Private Web sites also have censored their data. Another Washington group, the Federation of American Scientists, which usually advocates making government information available to the public, has removed about 200 Web pages that contained potentially sensitive information about federal facilities, the newspaper reported Friday. State watchdog groups have not been critical, citing the unprecedented situation in the country since Sept. 11. Still, removal of public information from the public domain must be monitored, they say. “These are troubled times, so we are being more understanding,” said John J. O’Brien, executive director of the New Jersey Press Association, which represents the state’s newspapers. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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