Online tools for transparency

March 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Coincidentally, after writing yesterday about Congress’ decision to not post complete information online regarding stimulus spending, I read a great recap of TransparencyCamp at Care2’s Frogloop blog. And I have to admit, it made me feel a bit better about the state of open government … and made me wish I could have attended.

The goal of the meetup:

This un-conference is about convening a trans-partisan tribe of open government advocates from all walks ā€” government representatives, technologists, developers, NGOs, wonks and activists ā€” to share knowledge on how to use new technologies to make our government transparent and meaningfully accessible to the public.

What I find most exciting are some of the experiments in enhancing open government and civic participation through the Internet. One of my favorites, AskYourLawmaker, provides a format similar to Digg, in which people rank questions for lawmakers. The site’s creators, Pundit Productions Inc., pick the top ranked questions and put their journalists to work getting the answers.

Other great “wiki” tools include Whitehouse Wiki (tracks all changes to Whitehouse.gov) and Budget wiki (from the League of Technical Voters).

The key takeaway from all of these tools is that they recognize one simple, somewhat cliched fact: Knowledge is power. Clearly, government is only willing to do so much to keep itself accountable and transparent. The rest of the job is up to us, as citizens, to inform ourselves about the political process, search out information on such things as government spending, and use this information to take action.

Check out the list of TransparencyCamp sponsors here.

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Entry filed under: Advocacy. Tags: , , , .

So much for government transparency Feeling stimulated … sort of

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