University of Southampton’s ILAWS group was commissioned to investigate both legal and ethical issues
E-challenges11 WeGov Workshop
WeGov Project Overview eChallenges Florence, 27 October 2011 Paul Walland & Steve TaylorUniversity of Southampton IT Innovation Centre
Contents• Project overview• Background & rationale for project• Approach of project – Toolbox – Best practices for its use• Current status & next steps• Demonstration – Exemplary use case from end users – Demonstration of toolkit for this case• Discussion / Q&A
WeGov: the project• Collaborative Research Project supported by the EC under Framework 7• 8 partners with expertise in policy making, social networks, technology R&D, ICT industry• 30 month project, now at month 22
Why WeGov?• Plenty of talk about government portals, minister blogs, opinion collecting web sites…• But do people really use them?
Bridging the gap• Allow policy makers to interact directly with citizens using Social Network Sites – Use the tools the citizens already use• Find and understand people’s opinions• Become part of the discussion• Open dialog• Respect privacy• Encourage trust
Target Outcomes• Tools for use by policy makers that: – Extract information from Social networks – Inject information into selected Social networks – Analyse discussions and opinions within social networks – Utilise best practice and methodologies • Technical • Procedural • Legal • Ethical – Allow policy makers to take advantage of social networks – the people’s choice!
Understanding the Legal & Ethical Issues• Policy makers must have confidence that the WeGov toolkit can be deployed both legally and ethically• Laws are mandatory, ethics are aspirational• Citizens must have confidence that ‘big brother’ isn’t snooping on their private conversations• The expectation of privacy is different for different social networks• Legality isn’t enough on its own – perception will be critical to the success of the WeGov toolkit
Toolbox• Toolbox allows the policy maker to: – Discover opinions from citizens on different topics – Visualise and analyse those opinions – Provide feedback into discussions – Start discussions• Toolbox is a framework – New tools can be added as they become available
Benefits to Policy Makers• Automatic scheduled searching of multiple SNS• Recommendations of which SNS users to follow• Current hot topics• Find out where people are talking about a topic – e.g recommendation of places to start / contribute to debates• Summaries of themes and opinions
Toolbox INPUT / OUTPUT Data Tools Policy Maker (User)Execution Control Display
Toolbox• Tools – “Functions” to get and process SNS data• Data – Configuration, input & output for tools• Tools can be “chained” into Workflows – One tool’s output can be another’s input• Execution Control – Immediate execution (run tool now) – Schedules • Automatic, repeated execution – Monitor runs’ status
Tool Categories Search Find users, posts from different SNS, monitor groups, collect data AnalyseAnalysis themes, topics, opinions in search results, behaviour Make posts, tweets, etcInjection in SNS to promote debate
Topic-Opinion Analysis: Challenges• Discussions may go across different themes/topics – We want to recognize them• Users express different opinions and arguments in their contributions – We want to understand them• Long discussions may contain hundreds of posts – We want to find out most important ones• Some users receive higher attention in discussions – We want to identify them• Results should be presented in a simple manner, supporting user navigation through to online contents
Topic-Opinion Analysis: Outcomes• Topics are latent (sub)themes of interest – represented by most frequent, characteristic terms• SNS posts can be classified into topics – most relevant posts for a topic can be shown to the user• Opinions are indicators of emotional states – (e.g. agreement, disagreement, skepticism..)• Opinions can be recognized via characteristic words and phrases („indicators“). – SNS posts often express opinions
Workflow Examples • Search SNS for keywords, posts, users • Analyse search output for Search Analyse themes, topics and opinions • Begin a debate by injecting posts • Monitor debate Inject Search Analyse • Analyse debate • Find a debate by searching • Contribute by injecting Inject postsSearch Search Analyse • Monitor debate • Analyse debate
Current Status• Requirements analysed – Set of exemplar use cases the project should address• Legal and ethical analysis conducted – Large impact on project’s decisions• Now on second prototype• Toolbox infrastructure mostly complete – Data store, execution control, dashboard UI – Plug-in design allows new tools to be integrated as they become available
Current Status• Exemplary tools in toolbox – Twitter search – Socialmention search – Topic & opinion analysis• Other tools in pipeline – Injection – Discussion activity & behaviour analysis – Other searches (Facebook, other aggregators) – News item search (actually any internet document) • where is it being discussed?
Next Steps• Integrate new tools already developed• Updates to existing tools• Complete second prototype system – Aimed for completion end 2011• Jan-June 2012: Evaluation in hands of end users – Internal to project – Invited external partners• New uses and tools for the toolbox!
End-Users & Sample Story eChallenges Florence, 27 October 2011Timo Wandhoefer, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Somya Joshi, Gov2u
Policy Makers GESISCriteria: “Decision makers using Web2.0”• German Parliamentary Party – Sample topic: German middle class• Federal Parliament (Germany) – 3 MPs – Sample topic: Nature protection• German Parliament – 29 MP office members (all parties) – Sample topics: Nuclear phase-out, web policy
Policy Makers Gov2u• European Parliament – Dr. Andreas Schwab • German – EPP, currently rapporteur for the new consumer rights directive including EU-rules for on-line shopping – Mr. Damien Abad • French – EPP, initiator of MEP 2.0 classes on how fellow MEPs can use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to voters – Mr. Wim van de Camp • EPP, currently rapporteur for the cleaner and safter motorcycle regulation
Process of Consultation• Initial use case & mock-up iteration – Presentations & discussions• First prototype “Testing a statement” – Presentation & discussion at German Parliament (pre-test for evaluation) – Modification “Newspaper story”• Evaluation of the initial toolbox – 16 semi-structured interviews
Key Highlights of the initial Evaluation• Politicians already – Post on SNS for public relation purposes – Monitor particular topics, groups, profiles on Facebook and Twitter – Use information services with similar patterns to the WeGov topic opinion analysis• Politicians needs – Finding influential groups & users in order to find suitable places to disseminate messages – Engaging with constituencies – Tools for initiating a dialog with citizens as well as getting an information advantage in terms of social media
Benefits confirmed by Policy Makers• Create / modify / schedule workflows• Disseminate posts / analyse feedback• Analyse groups / discussions / users / topics• Setup information feeds• Use multiple SNS with less SNS knowledge
Example Case “Occupy“• Across Europe people are demonstrating for social justice and against the power of bank• The German chancellor announced her understanding for the people… – But does she really understand what drives people?• A German Parliamentarian wants to conceive what people are talking about and what they think
Toolkit Usage for Case “Occupy”• This is a “search-analyse” situation Search Analyse• We create searches for relevant keywords – We can schedule automated regular searches – Gathering data at points in a time period (or indefinitely)• We select search results as input for analysis – To discover themes, opinions and influential posts – We can select the whole result set or subsets of it