Good morning, Senator (or should I say "President-elect"?), and congratulations. You talked during your campaign about using the Internet to engage with regular folks, and surely you did. So did your opponent. The last time I checked, the two of you had amassed about two million friends between you on Facebook and MySpace, and another few hundred thousand followers on Twitter and YouTube.
I don't need to tell you how useful those networks were for fund-raising and organizing. Internet outreach brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in political donations, and Web video helped you distribute viral campaign spots. Reporters fawned over Web applications and online wikis that managed canvassers and phone banks. Certainly digital media was more important in this election than it had been in any other in the history of the country.
With your inauguration just a couple months away, you'll soon have the opportunity to convert your Web-enabled campaign -- and vast community of online supporters -- into a new kind of government. Forgive the jargon, but we're talking about White House 2.0. You now have the chance to give the executive branch a complete technological makeover, endowing it with all the extraordinary capabilities of the modern Internet. This isn't a partisan issue. A truly modern presidency would tap into the vigor and potential of all Americans, by means of searchable online databases, full-scale interactivity, and the distributed problem-solving that comes with social networks. For the first time ever, and under your leadership, the federal bureaucracy can become more accessible, more transparent and -- most important -- more effective than it's ever been.
These aren't just vague ideas and Webby catchphrases. A movement is building around the country -- indeed, around the world -- to work out how information technology might promote democracy and improve government. I've collected ideas from some of the engineers, activists and visionaries who are leading the way. And now I'd like to provide you with something of a wish list. How should you use the Internet to revolutionize government? A few suggestions.
Seldom have I ever read anything less worthy of reading, so I quit after 1 of 2. Hide everything on line where the old folks that actually vote do not venture. Science is good and the internet is good, but sometimes old is better.
Is. . . anyone worried about hacking?
I mean, modern computer users can get in to even the Pentagon and such. Some hackers can take over whole computers even. I'm canadian, and also very inexperienced : P. But how fool proof /IS/ the government's system?
There was a quote from an ex-CIA agent;
"Bring me 50 of the world's best hackers, and I will bring this country to its knees"
In order to set up an interactive community, AND online as well, there will need to be several hundreds of layers of security precautions. More so, what about leaks? Getting a hold of a government operator would be easier, and you could be breaking into servers in and out easily. As well, you'd have hundreds of members in such a community, and I don't think the president can handle ALL of them. You'd need thousands of staff, all trained to best answer questions. And even then, it's not really average american-president interaction. It's like talking to Kid's Help Phone, trying to figure out your life.
Thankfully, most of the data they are talking about providing online is already publicly available. Voting records are already online, but they're only listed by the bill that was voted on - it's not currently possible (at least on the government website) to select a senator and see that PERSON'S entire voting record.
Additionally, providing online community tools to make suggestions for bills, provide feedback to posted suggestions and such would need no more security than facebook, myspace, or whatever. All of that correspondence to senators, governors, etc are available for public request via a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.
This article is talking, primarily, about enabling easier communication between elected officials and their constituency.
As a patent agent and active participant in Peer to Patent, I can say that this “crowdsourcing” approach to citizen government relations has merit. There’s a lot more work to be done, however. One of the challenges for the creative patent agent is to find a way to write a patent application that can be reviewed equally well by two very different audiences, the Peer- to-Patent reviewers, and USPTO patent examiners. This is no small feat, but for those that can master it, dramatically higher quality patents and much more efficient patent examination should result.
the system must have a progressing effect to boost a new generation of democracy