Posts Tagged ‘transparency’

Participatory Government (Obama’s first memo)

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

Pleased to see some of President Obama’s first executive memo’s having to do with open and participatory government.  Below is the Memo re: Transparency and Open Government.  Lot’s of good stuff.  My personally favorite “Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government.”

Full text from memo:


SUBJECT: 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.

I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register.



Apps for America (Yet another cool project from Sunlight Foundation)

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2008 at 8:54 am

Sunlight Foundation has a great development content underway.

Apps for America is Sunlight’s annual development contest! Prizes go to developers who can use data from Sunlight and their partners that makes Congress more accountable, interactive and transparent.  Sunlight helped create insanely useful applications like: OpenCongress , MapLight and Congresspedia.

*personally, I’d love to see an application which combines OpenSecrets.org API with Hoover’s API’s. But then someone would have to pay for Hoover’s data…  It would make targeting corporations and lobbyists easier and more powerful.

Back to the contest:

How to Compete

  1. Contestants must join the Sunlight Labs Google Group
  2. Entries must use one of the following APIs or Datasets in their mashup:
  3. While not required, bonus points go to using one of Sunlight’s open source libraries
  4. All software you write has to be licensed under the MIT, New BSD, or the GPL family of licenses.


Submissions have three parts:

  1. A link to a fully functional demonstration of the software on a web server you provide
  2. A link to a public source code repository (Subversion, Git, or just a Tarball is fine)
  3. An email describing the software also containing the links to 1 & 2 sent to labscontest@cjoh.otherinbox.com


Submissions are due on March 31st. Winners will be announced on April 7th.