State Hacks

Obama’s commitment to Transparency and Open Government

Posted on: 27 July 2009

From the perspective of political aspects of openness and collaboration in the “public sphere” (i’m not sure i can agree that such thing exists, but in the lack of a better term), Obama’s commitment is one of most amazing documents in the history. How much of it will actually be implemented remains to be seen. We’ll track some aspects of it on this blog. There have been already developments, action taken, in this area, but best is to start with the original document a MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, called Transparency and Open Government
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.
Government should be collaborative.  Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.  Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.

1 Response to "Obama’s commitment to Transparency and Open Government"

I think we should be looking to create a global meta-government; a site that just tends to harvest the collective wisdom and insight of enormous numbers of people. The goal is to publicly solve the problems that face humanity in ways that make good solutions easier for government to discover and adopt.

A collection of thoughtful briefings on every issue imaginable. Each co-signed by hundreds of millions of registered voters. A site that creates political capital by giving people imaginative ways to spend theirs to express their support or opposition for an issue, or advocate an issue of their own, or delegate it to others without the recipient knowing it.

Of course I think it has to start at the most local level, a small city, to fully demonstrate and develop the specific design and discover how to best scale it to larger groups. This seems to be inline with the principles you’re proposing.

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Focus is on reviewing, analysing state hacks. Bits of code, procedures, whatever fits. The State was designed as a compromise between the rising aspirations of various groups and the monarchs. It was not designed for a wider, and definitely not for participatory, nor direct, democracy. Now we have the tools to do so. No need to start from scratch though: state hacking time.



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