Which Government Records Should Be Open to the Public?

Lawprof Daniel Solove argues that records related to divorce proceedings (presumably not the fact of the divorce itself, but the facts discovered or alleged during the proceedings) should generally be kept private, even when the divorce involves a politician, such as former Illinois senatorial candidate Jack Ryan.

I strongly support people's right to speak about others, even when such speech is said to infringe others' privacy; but it doesn't follow that the government should always make such speech easier by publicizing information that's in its hands -- often information gotten using the government's coercive power. The question, to which I don't have a ready answer, is: Which information should the government release? A few items to get the discussion going:

  1. Records of criminal trials, including information that was gotten from witnesses (such as the witness's medical history, sexual history, wealth, religious or political beliefs, and the like), as well as information about defendants' s past criminal convictions.

  2. Records of criminal or quasi-criminal trials involving offenders who were under 18 at the time of the crime.

  3. Records of civil proceedings, including normal civil litigation, divorce, bankruptcy, and the like.

  4. Income tax records, which have historically been kept highly confidential.

  5. Property tax records, which have historically been public records.

  6. Gun registration records and concealed carry license records; the latter, I'm told, are public records in at least some states.

  7. Grades and disciplinary records of students at government-run schools and universities; I believe federal law generally requires that these be kept confidential.

  8. Salary records and disciplinary records of government employees; the federal government and many state governments makes the salary information publicly available, though generally not easy to get.

Should the government keep these confidential? Should it make them publicly available? Should it make them publicly available but hard to get, for instance by keeping them in storage and not putting them on the Internet?