- May 2020
Filer, T. & Kaminer, R. How governments can engage digital resources to manage their Covid-19 response. (2020, March 9). StateUp. https://stateup.co/how-governments-can-engage-digital-resources-to-manage-their-covid-19-response/
- digital resources
- civic tech organization
- public knowledge
- Jan 2016
So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen. To vote. To speak out.
Absolutely, but it's government's job at all levels--from our hometowns to Washington, DC--to make it easier for citizens to do that. Far too many Americans simply can't fulfill many of these "obligations as a citizen," due to work, or kids or fear or lack of information, or school, basically, life. Government has to lower those barriers, make it way more possible for citizens to do their civic duties. There's a tremendous opportunity to deploy free, open source tools--heck, even proprietary ones--here.
It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic. Democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise; or when even basic facts are contested, and we listen only to those who agree with us.
C'mon, civic technologists, government innovators, open data advocates: this can be a call to arms. Isn't the point of "open government" to bring people together to engage with their leaders, provide the facts, and allow more informed, engaged debate?
That’s how we forged a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open markets, protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership in Asia. It cuts 18,000 taxes on products Made in America, and supports more good jobs. With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in that region, we do. You want to show our strength in this century? Approve this agreement. Give us the tools to enforce it.
Back when this was still being negotiated in secret, a leaked chapter of TPP was opened on the very first version of Madison. What could've been as far as harnessing open online annotation for transparent, smarter policy outcomes.
how do we make technology work for us, and not against us
This is a critical question for both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and for every presidential candidate. But at least the President and Congressional leaders are talking about it--we've heard next to nothing from all the candidates for the White House, and next to nothing at all the debates.
I wonder: what happens to 18F, USDS, each agency's online engagement staff, etc. the day after a GOP candidate wins? What happens if the White House stays with Democrats? Beats me, and that's incredibly problematic.
Either way, Congress can and should also play a role in supporting--at least maintaining--the progress made on open source, adopting/creating better tech, outfits like 18F/USDS. Building out a Congressional-and-civil-society "tech transition survival" plan would be a great, bipartisan, bicameral project. I think it's also fully within the realm of possibility.
- Dec 2015
Likewise, the era of "open data", "big data" and "open source mapping" has made previously inaccessible spatial datasets (or perhaps only accessible to those within certain, largely governmental, institutions) more widely available, allowing a range of people to come to grips with the geographies (aka map) any number of phenomena.
Worse, civic tech possibly is creating problems while intending to provide solutions.