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A Legislative Agenda for Transparency

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  • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
    A few days ago Dan Newman of Maplight.org pointed me to a blog post by Zephyr Teachout of the Sunlight Foundation (who I met a few weeks ago):
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2006
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      A few days ago Dan Newman of Maplight.org pointed me to a blog post by
      Zephyr Teachout of the Sunlight Foundation (who I met a few weeks ago):

      http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/node/1567/599

      > Every day there are new rumors about what Congress will and will not
      > do, but it appears that we have a specific opportunity to open up
      > Congress in the first few months of the next year. The Democratic
      > Leadership has announced that it is going to spend a week of floor
      > time allowing members 15 minutes each to propose parcels of a
      > transparency and reform Agenda.

      Dan posted a comment there and suggested five things that Congress
      should mandate w.r.t. open data, and I asked him what he thought we
      could do to actually suggest these things to someone in Congress.
      Here's part of his response (posted with permission):

      > In my experience, the way to proceed is to develop specific proposals
      > of what we want done, and then organize a coalition around the issue
      > (adapting and improving the specific proposals with the input of the
      > coalition members)....
      >
      > There will be opposition to some of the provisions from, for example,
      > private data vendors, and others, so that is why a broad support base is
      > needed.
      >
      > With Congress set to act soon on reform legislation, one approach is to
      > get the data reforms put into that package. This means lobbying existing
      > groups to make the data reforms part of the reform package, rather than
      > having to build our own separate coalition (which is time-consuming and
      > expensive in terms of staff/volunteer time).

      So I thought that it would be interesting to set up a wiki where ideas
      for a legislative agenda for open data could be posted and commented on.
      I've set up a new wiki here:

      http://wiki.govtrack.us/ (Registration needed to edit to avoid spam.)

      There's one page on the wiki now, where I invite anyone to submit ideas
      for what legislation Congress should enact regarding open data and to
      comment on existing ideas. Once ideas are fleshed out (if that
      happens), it will be a place for organizations to note their support --
      and if *that* happens, we can actually see if a broad coalition forms
      over any set of proposals.

      Comments welcome.

      --
      - Josh Tauberer

      http://razor.occams.info

      "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
      falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
      Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
    • dale
      added metavid s ideal legislative transparency initiative :) Also if we can somehow request that all these digital transparency initiatives are implemented
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2006
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        added metavid's ideal legislative transparency initiative :)

        Also if we can somehow request that all these digital transparency
        initiatives are implemented with open source software or at very least
        open formats it would be all the better for promoting transparency at as
        many levels as possible. Adopting open source greatly reduces the
        amount of corruption or cohesion that comes about in "outsourcing" these
        projects to private corporations which ultimately restrict or obscure
        transparency to enable vendor lock in / continued contracts and in the
        end reduce public accountability for government services. If the
        government pays for the creation of software it should be mandated that
        is open source similar to existing legislation that dictates that
        government works (unless classified) are public domain. There is a lot
        of literature about open source and government that communicates these
        points and other much better than I am doing... at any rate hopefully
        the open source concept can be integrated into the issues of
        transparency. Maybe this can even carry over to other important
        government software like i don't know.. voting machines ...there is
        wishful thinking anyway ;)

        --michael

        > A few days ago Dan Newman of Maplight.org pointed me to a blog post by
        > Zephyr Teachout of the Sunlight Foundation (who I met a few weeks ago):
        >
        > http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/node/1567/599
        > <http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/node/1567/599>
        >
        > > Every day there are new rumors about what Congress will and will not
        > > do, but it appears that we have a specific opportunity to open up
        > > Congress in the first few months of the next year. The Democratic
        > > Leadership has announced that it is going to spend a week of floor
        > > time allowing members 15 minutes each to propose parcels of a
        > > transparency and reform Agenda.
        >
        > Dan posted a comment there and suggested five things that Congress
        > should mandate w.r.t. open data, and I asked him what he thought we
        > could do to actually suggest these things to someone in Congress.
        > Here's part of his response (posted with permission):
        >
        > > In my experience, the way to proceed is to develop specific proposals
        > > of what we want done, and then organize a coalition around the issue
        > > (adapting and improving the specific proposals with the input of the
        > > coalition members)....
        > >
        > > There will be opposition to some of the provisions from, for example,
        > > private data vendors, and others, so that is why a broad support base is
        > > needed.
        > >
        > > With Congress set to act soon on reform legislation, one approach is to
        > > get the data reforms put into that package. This means lobbying existing
        > > groups to make the data reforms part of the reform package, rather than
        > > having to build our own separate coalition (which is time-consuming and
        > > expensive in terms of staff/volunteer time).
        >
        > So I thought that it would be interesting to set up a wiki where ideas
        > for a legislative agenda for open data could be posted and commented on.
        > I've set up a new wiki here:
        >
        > http://wiki.govtrack.us/ <http://wiki.govtrack.us/> (Registration
        > needed to edit to avoid spam.)
        >
        > There's one page on the wiki now, where I invite anyone to submit ideas
        > for what legislation Congress should enact regarding open data and to
        > comment on existing ideas. Once ideas are fleshed out (if that
        > happens), it will be a place for organizations to note their support --
        > and if *that* happens, we can actually see if a broad coalition forms
        > over any set of proposals.
        >
        > Comments welcome.
        >
        > --
        > - Josh Tauberer
        >
        > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
        >
        > "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
        > falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
        > Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
        >
        >
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