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Transparency in Government Transparency in Government Document Transcript

  • GSA Office of Citizen Services and Communications Intergovernmental Solutions Newsletter Transparency and Open GovernmentSpring 2009 Transparency in Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Transparency in Government Memorandum for the Heads of Executive By Darlene Meskell Departments and Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Director, Intergovernmental Solutions Recovery.gov Reveals Details GSA Office of Citizen Services and Communications of the Stimulus Spending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Democratization of Data ewly elected President Barack Obama has taken bold steps to N Unfettered Access to Data Can Transform Government? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 inaugurate an era of government openness and transparency. In Technology as a Game-Changer . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 one of his first official acts, the President issued a Information as a Public Good . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, affirming Citizen Views On Transparency . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 his commitment to achieving an “unprecedented level of openness in government.” Making known his belief that transparency is aPractices at Work in Government fundamental responsibility of a democratic government, he called for the Texas Websites Improve Accountability . . . . . .13 creation of an Open Government Directive that would require agencies Georgia’s Commitment to Customer to reveal their inner workings and make their data public. Service and Good Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Transparency 2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 A commitment to government accountability is at the heart of this Measuring E-Government 2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 message. By allowing citizens to “see through” its workings and E-discovery, Transparency investigate whether or not their leaders and organizations have met and Culture Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 their expectations, the government brings the public into its inner circles AGA Opens the Doors of Government and empowers citizens to contribute to decision-making. As citizens to the Citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 gain knowledge and understanding, their trust in government begins toShedding Light on Corruption grow. India: Revolutionizing Land Records . . . . . . . . .23 Providing government data to citizens in a meaningful way will require a Fighting Corruption, While Building culture change, away from one where data are stored away for internal Energy Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 purposes to one that looks broadly at how data can be made accessible Through a Glass, Darkly. What do we for re-use by the public. The federal website Recovery.gov Reveals mean by transparency in government? . . . . . . .28 Details of the Stimulus Spending on the $787 billion American Transparency in Government Begins Outside .29 Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It will put the data out in useable formThe Collaborative Government so that people can slice, dice and mash it up to gain meaningful Beyond Transparency in Government . . . . . . . . .31 information about how government is working. Get Ready for Wiki-Government . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 These data feeds create opportunities to look at government programs Building the Digital Public Square . . . . . . . . . . .35 in new ways that could never have been imagined by the data collectors. Open Government Serves Citizens . . . . . . . . . .37 The District of Columbia’s Apps for Democracy Contest drew upon the public’s imagination to make D.C. data more useful to constituents. Under the leadership of then-CTO Vivek Kundra, the District sponsored a contest seeking creative applications that use D.C. government data. The results were astonishing. The 47 entries submitted to Apps for Democracy within only 30 days “produced more savings for the D.C. government than any other initiative,” according to Kundra, who has since been named federal CIO. Continued on next page... The Intergovernmental Solutions Newsletter is produced twice a year by the Intergovernmental Solutions Division, GSA Office of Citizens Services and Communications; Lisa Nelson, Editor. Send comments and suggestions to: lisa.nelson@gsa.gov.
  • The president’s January 21, 2009, memo on transparency and open government viewed as a word cloud. http://www.wordle.net/Making government data available is government’s need to look beyond local government is to providejust the beginning of the process. To transparency and accountability when citizens with timely, easy toreach the president’s goal, agencies delivering data to increase worker understand information on how theirmust solicit public feedback to productivity and citizen engagement. how their taxpayer dollars are beingidentify information of greatest use to Technology as a Game Changer spent. Texas Websites Improvethe public, expanding citizen looks at the transformational Accountability describes the state’sparticipation in public policy possibilities of inviting greater three initiatives aimed at improvingdecision-making. It will bring a new participation and collaboration from government accounting, spending andwave of remarkable technological citizens. Information as a Public transparency. The State of Georgia’sapplications that will have Good presents examples of Web- gateway to information and keygovernment and citizens working based geospatial technologies that documents about how the statetogether in partnership. The resulting are leveraging government data as a spends tax dollars and other revenuesnetwork within which citizens and public good. The results of a survey is outlined in Georgiastheir government can work together to conducted by Rutgers University on Commitment to Customer Servicesolve problems, will change the way the different dimensions regarding and Good Government.citizens and governments interact. what citizens are looking for in the New Zealand is moving strategically way of transparency are detailed in to use online tools to engage citizensDemocratization of Data Citizens’ Views on Transparency. and learn their views on mattersInformation technology has made important to them. Onlinedata available to everyone. This Practices at Work in Government communities are viewed as partnersdemocratization of data unveils the Web 2.0 practices are changing public working to improve the quality ofinternal workings of government and services now. Governments are government in Transparency 2.0.sets in motion the wheels of providing citizens with extraordinary Recognizing the need for a newtransformation. Unfettered Access tools that inform them and others approach in the maintenance ofto Data that Can Transform with similar interests. One of the federal records, E-discovery,Government examines the fastest growing trends in state and Continued on next page...2
  • Transparency and Culture Openness and transparency are government using collaborativeChange lays out a framework for necessary for effective government technologies.changes that will enhance access to oversight and accountability. The idea Even today, Open Governmentpublic documents. Current that transparency does not guarantee Serves Citizens, as Maryantonettmethodology for measuring accountability is explored in Through Flumian, the founding head of ServiceeGovernment progress is nearing the a Glass, Darkly: What do we mean Canada illustrates, offering numerousend of its usefulness. Measuring E- by transparency in government? examples of transparent governmentGovernment 2.0 presents a new The need for government to tap into from the public and private sectors inbenchmarking approach for the expertise of others and withstand the U.S. and around the world.measuring e-government’s return on public scrutiny is discussed in Following her lead, this newsletterinvestment. The Association of Transparency in Government offers more of the many stories ofGovernment Accountants establishes Begins Outside. As U.S. Supreme how cooperation and innovativea baseline for understanding public Court Justice Louis Brandeis so aptly technology are being used to confrontattitudes with regard to transparency put it “sunlight is the best the huge changes required to createand accountability in AGA Opens disinfectant.” an open and participativethe Doors of Government to government. The range of subjects isCitizens. Collaborative Government just the tip of the iceberg, and shows The issues of culture and policy need how better communications—on allShedding Light on Corruption to be addressed before major levels—must be a key priority forIncreasing transparency and citizen progress can be made toward a truly government in the future.participation goes a long way toward collaborative government. President Obama’s January 21 openundermining the problem of Transparency in Government government memoradum calls forcorruption. Transparency in the oil, speaks to theses challenges and the transparency, participation andgas and mining industry has been need to engage citizens to solve collaboration in government. Thesegaining traction over the last decade. today’s complex problems. Get three concepts have been underlyingFighting Corruption while Ready for Wiki-Government looks American democracy since the start,Building Energy Security looks at at the millennial generation’s use of but never have they been so central tothe paradox of resource-rich countries social networks. This generation will a presidential vision. With advancedthat are impoverished because of change the shape of America’s technologies and creative use of thecorruption and conflict. In India, land governing processes to one where Internet, a commitment to openrecords are vital documents for both some decisions will be made by government will go a long way towardfarmers and the government. They are crowds. giving the public control of the leversused to prove ownership and are of power, and encouraging Government in ancient Athens wasrequired for numerous administrative widespread participation in the civic conducted in the public square.functions. India: Revolutionary life of the nation. I People met there to debate civicLand Records reveals the incredible issues and drive policy decisions.impact computerization of land Building the Digital Public Darlene Meskell is the Director,records has had on the livelihood of Square describes how the District of Intergovernmental Solutions, GSA. Forsmall farmers. additional information contact Columbia is re-creating the public square to bring people closer to their lisa.nelson@gsa.gov 3
  • Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government y Administration is society, and public officials benefit M committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans work together to ensure the public increased opportunities to trust and establish a system of participate in policymaking and to transparency, public participation, provide their Government with the and collaboration. Openness will benefits of their collective expertise strengthen our democracy and and information. Executive promote efficiency and effectiveness departments and agencies should in Government. also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve Government should be transparent. opportunities for public participation Transparency promotes in Government. accountability and provides information for citizens about what Government should be collaborative. their Government is doing. Collaboration actively engages Information maintained by the Americans in the work of their Federal Government is a national Government. Executive departments asset. My Administration will take and agencies should use innovative appropriate action, consistent with tools, methods, and systems to for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, Information maintained by the Federal that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions Government is a national asset. implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The law and policy, to disclose cooperate among themselves, across independent agencies should comply information rapidly in forms that the all levels of Government, and with with the Open Government Directive. public can readily find and use. nonprofit organizations, businesses, Executive departments and agencies and individuals in the private sector. This memorandum is not intended to, should harness new technologies to Executive departments and agencies and does not, create any right or put information about their should solicit public feedback to benefit, substantive or procedural, operations and decisions online and assess and improve their level of enforceable at law or in equity by a readily available to the public. collaboration and to identify new party against the United States, its Executive departments and agencies opportunities for cooperation. departments, agencies, or entities, its should also solicit public feedback to officers, employees, or agents, or any I direct the Chief Technology Officer, other person. identify information of greatest use in coordination with the Director of to the public. This memorandum shall be published the Office of Management and Government should be participatory. Budget (OMB) and the Administrator in the Federal Register. I Public engagement enhances the of General Services, to coordinate Government’s effectiveness and the development by appropriate improves the quality of its decisions. executive departments and agencies, BARACK OBAMA Knowledge is widely dispersed in within 120 days, of recommendations4
  • Recovery.gov Reveals Details States were also expected to create their own Recovery Act pages providing data and information from, and links to,of the Stimulus Spending every participating state agency, locality and municipality in the state. The states’ certifications and theirBy John R. Murphy recovery pages are linked to a stateDeputy Program ManagerRecovery.gov section of Recovery.gov.This map shows Recovery.gov’s links to state sites at the beginning of April 2009. ecovery.gov is the government generate information about the flow ofR website created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(Recovery Act) to track $787 billion in the stimulus funds. The website will allow users to track where the money is going, search by Additional information will be posted on and linked to Recovery.gov as the multi-year spending program is implemented. Over time, it willfederal funds Congress appropriated to demonstrate the impact of state or Congressional district, look upstimulate the economy. It is introduced transparency in government as citizens names of Federal contractors or otheron the home page: use it increasingly to build their own recipients of Federal dollars, and sendThe Recovery Act “provides for in comments, thoughts, ideas, understanding of how their taxpayerunprecedented levels of transparency questions, and responses to anything dollars are being spent.and accountability so that you will be on the site. Recovery.gov is overseen by theable to know how, when, and where your Recovery Accountability and Recovery.gov also features differenttax dollars are being spent. … This Transparency Board, which reports to federal programs, updated informationwebsite, Recovery.gov, will be the main the Vice President and is responsible about news related to the stimulusvehicle to provide each and every citizen for ensuring that federal agencies are program, and links to related webwith the ability to monitor the progress transparent and accountable in pages.The screen shot is an earlyof the recovery.” reporting and spending Recovery Act version of the home page.All federal agencies will post funds.The Board is composed of 11 For the most part, Recovery Act funds inspectors general for federal agencies,information to Recovery.gov about the are funneled through state and local led by Earl Devaney of the Departmentsources, recipients and use of governments, which manage citizen- of the Interior.The website is managedexpenditures under the Recovery Act, facing programs. State governors were by the U.S. General Servicesto make it easy for citizens to follow given 45 days after the law was signed Administration. Iand understand the impact of the to claim the funds allocated for theirstimulus legislation. Live data feeds to states by certifying that they wouldthe site will provide raw data that can For further information about the website “request and use” the funds to createbe re-used in graphic presentations or and the distribution of Recovery Act funds, jobs and promote economic growth. go to www.recovery.gov.in combination with other data to 5
  • Democratization of DataUnfettered Access toData CanTransform GovernmentBy W. David StephensonPrincipalStephenson Strategies hen SEC ChairmanW Christopher Cox announced in December that,beginning on a phased-in basis thisyear, corporate reports to the SECmust be filed with XBRL tags so thedata would be interactive, he held upa hand-typed SEC report. It was thekind was common during mychildhood many years ago, and, Coxsaid, “When it was published, thiswas a useful report.”Back then, gathering anddisseminating data was a long andlabor-intensive process, so perhaps itwas justifiable that data only had tobe reported infrequently and only aselect few agency leaders had access transparency, however, is to ignore • Made available externally in formsto it. Unavoidable delays in some of their more creative uses. that enable civic groups,distributing data made it better for Instead, we need to think of entrepreneurs and individuals torecording past mistakes than guiding “democratizing data,” creating a become “co-creators” withdaily decisions. seamless, continuous data loop in government, integrating intoToday, it is technologically possible to which data is: applications, services, and evenhave a continuous cycle of data • Collected in data bases and businesses can use to improve civicin/data out. There is no longer warehouses life and individuals’ lives.justification for withholding data Whether it’s public companies that(unless there are overriding security • Structured (using “tags” such as XML and KML) so that it can easily now must meet the new SECand privacy issues) from anyone who regulations or agencies that mustlegitimately needs it. Today, a “useful” be queried and seamlessly shared comply with Coburn-Obama, the majorreport is a real-time report. between various systems cost involved is cleaning up andTo date, most have focused on access • Automatically syndicated so that it structuring the data by adding on theto this data for transparency (for is available when and where it is “tags.” Once tagged, data can be usedexample, the Coburn-Obama Federal needed, and, ideally, on a real-time and shared anywhere and the time andFunding Accountability and basis money spent on adding new uses isTransparency Act of 2006), so that the • Made available to all workers who negligible.public, watchdog groups and the need it, in forms they can use to That portends an excitingmedia can scrutinize it. That is manage their work and collaborate transformation for governmentimportant particularly in light of the with others workers. Many will get access to real-controversy about how the first round time, location-based information thatof money in the financial bailout was • Made available externally so that watchdog groups can analyze it, as a can really help them do their jobs(or wasn’t!) spent. better, especially if they also have means to restore public confidenceTo look at data feeds just for in government’s integrity. access to data visualization tools (the Continued on next page... 6
  • private sector Many Eyes and Swivel assigned a different color rectangle. In less than a month, 47 usablesites are good examples) that will help City blocks where multiple indicators applications were created, rangingthem interpret, make sense of, and are present (and which are at higher from do-it-yourself walking historicalshare the data. risk of serious socio-economic tours using an iPhone to a “We the problems) are immediately obvious to People” transparency & accountabilityThe District of Columbia used such an users. Because these seven sets of wiki to help the public track D.C.approach with a high-priority program data are typically created by different spending. The crowdsourcingto deliver more than 6,000 PCs to agencies, it is highly unlikely that they phenomenon offers access to data andpublic school classrooms. The team were shared in the past. Agencies that free rein to a wide range of people withcharged with executing the project had might have previously treated differing interests and expertise.access to the District’s GIS systems, symptoms of decay in isolation can BTW: I wonder which agency will beand created custom Google Maps now see which blocks must be the first to sponsor an internal “Appsallowing them to deliver and install all addressed first and work together, for Democracy” contest that allows itsof the PCs in only 7 weeks. An earlier reducing the cost and increasing their employees, no matter whether they’replan, without the data-sharing tools, effectiveness. in IT or not, to design a widget or otherhad estimated the project would take a application that would help their co-year. Finally, democratizing data can workers! facilitate an uncharted area ofAnother example of how real-time government innovation, in which the Why stop with accountability if theaccess to actionable data can public takes structured data feeds and same mechanism that makes possibletransform government was pointed out creates new computer applications automatic delivery of structured databy the Neighborhood Knowledge LA that provide real service to the public. can also help government workers be(NKLA) project, a collaboration The District of Columbia was again more productive and even involvebetween UCLA and neighborhood the pioneer in this regard, with its citizens in designing innovativegroups. They used the Center for “Apps for Democracy” contest in 2008. applications to supplement traditionalNeighborhood Technology’s Design firms and individuals were governmental services. I’d call that“Neighborhood Early Warning invited to use one or more of the more Transparency Plus. ISystem,” which looks at seven than 260 different data feeds in theindicators of neighborhood decline, “Citywide Data Warehouse” to drive W. David Stephenson is an e-gov and Websuch as code violations and/or applications that would increase 2.0 consultant and theorist. He is the leadproperty taxes in arrears. NKLA’s site transparency or enable public use of author of the forthcoming Democratizingplots the information on city maps, Data. the data.with each of the seven factorsTechnology as a Game-Changer proposed a “contracts and influence database” that publicizes how much money federal contractors receive, how much they spend on lobbying,By Darrell M. WestVice President and Director of Governance Studies and how effectively they fulfillBrookings Institution government contracts. Improving transparency through online information will be a great boon to researchers, reporters, and ordinary he goal of electronic transforms the culture, organization,T citizens, and make it easier to follow government is not just to and functioning of government. the government money trail. substitute one delivery system During the campaign, candidatefor another. If people go online and Barack Obama pledged to put Digital technology represents a wayprint out a report instead of calling up detailed public sector information for government to become morethe Food and Drug Administration, online and make it searchable. He transparent and pro-active in dealingthat is not a major system stated that he wanted to create “a with citizens and businesses. Manytransformation. It doesn’t change how centralized Internet database of government agencies today aregovernment functions or how officials lobbying reports, ethics records and reactive in nature. They wait forthink about their mission. campaign finance filings in a people to request information or searchable, sortable and services. However, the InternetRather, it is important to think of allows government agencies to downloadable format.” In addition, hetechnology as a “game-changer” that customize information and push Continued on next page... 7
  • material out to people. On some Digital tools offer the potential to domestic agenda (health caregovernment websites, you can involve more people in decision- reform).register as having interests in making. Before President Obama There are 13 million email addressesparticular subjects. Let’s say you are a signs legislation, he plans to wait five in the Obama campaign database.soybean farmer in Iowa and have days to allow for public comments. After the election, the campaign sentregistered that interest with the U.S. People will be able to go to a website a survey to each of these, asking forDepartment of Agriculture website. and say,”Yes, you should sign this zip code, phone number, issueWhen new research comes out of bill” or”No, you shouldn’t, and these interests (such as gay rights,Iowa State University on soybeans, or are the reasons why you shouldn’t.” In disability, health care, or education),market conditions change, the same vein, the Environmental and willingness to contact publicgovernment agencies can email Protection Agency has been using e- officials. It is obvious what Obama isreports to those people and say here rulemaking on proposed federal going to do with this information.is something you should know about. regulations to broaden citizen When tough votes come beforeIt brings a different mentality to participation in government. The Congress, he is going to askgovernment and puts agencies in the Brookings Press is publishing a book supporters to contact legislators inmold of helping people where they entitled Wiki-Government by Beth same way President Reagan did inwant to be helped. You can envision Noveck formerly a professor at New 1981 with letters and phone callssimilar applications in health care, York Law School, and now in the when he wanted to pass his landmark It is important to think of technology as a “game-changer” that transforms the culture, organization, and functioning of government. tax cut legislation. Electroniceducation, climate change, and Office of Science and Technology technology will allow Obama tovariety of other areas. If someone Policy at the White House. It is terrific harness his grass roots movement toattends a public school in Cleveland, research on how governments can further his political objectives.Ohio, local education officials can harness the power of collectivenotify parents of important knowledge in decision-making. She When you add all these thingsdevelopments affecting that school. proposes that agencies such as the together, Obama has the potential toHospitals can target people Patent and Trademark Office set up use technology to improveinterested in staying up-to-date on wikis in which people can comment government transparency anddiabetes treatments by sending them on proposed patents and help reinvigorate democracy. His mostmaterial on new research in the area. authorities decide what truly is new. important challenge, though, will be public and media cynicism. PublicInformation technology provides The digital revolution gives political trust in government is at an all-timefeedback on how agencies are doing. leaders a way to bring outside low. When people are cynical, theyI visited China a couple of years ago pressure to bear on Congress and don’t believe anyone really is going toas part of a technology delegation. thereby help break the partisan make a difference. But if Obama canGoing through passport control when gridlock that has plagued our national maintain the sense of hope, he willwe landed at the Beijing Airport, I government for years. There has been become our first truly digitalnoticed an electronic device that inaction on leading issues such as president. Iasked me to rate the performance of health care, Social Security, climatethe passport officer on a 1 to 4 scale. change, and immigration. PresidentThis represented an innovative Obama has substantial Democratic Darrell M. West is Vice President andexample of introducing transparency majorities in the House and Senate, Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author ofand accountability into the system. If but he should remember that Digital Government: Technology andthere is a spike upward in complaints Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Public Sector Service and previously wasabout a particular official or specific Clinton had the same thing early in the Director of the Taubman Center foragency, administrators know there is each of their administrations. Neither Public Policy at Brown University. Fora problem and this feedback provides of those Democratic presidents was additional information contactan opportunity to address inadequate able to get much passed and Clinton dwest@brookings.edu.performance. was not able to get Congress to take a single vote on the centerpiece of his8
  • Information as a Public GoodBy Sean Gorman, PhDCEO and FounderFortiusOneIntroduction asking agencies to share with citizens with companies and non-profits can be viewed as a public good. If the taking open government data andThe new administration has made EPA makes information on the creating sophisticated technology andtransparent and open government a location of toxic dumping available, services around them. A stellartop priority. As part of this mission, and I use that data to inform my example of this is the phenomenalagencies are encouraged to “harness neighborhood of hazards, I have not growth of Web-based geospatialnew technologies to put information inhibited anyone else from using the technologies – often called theabout their operations and decisions data for other purposes. There is a GeoWeb. Google Earth uses dataonline and readily available to the societal benefit to making information from NASA, NOAA, U.S. Navy,public.” Further, agencies are asked open and available to the public. National Geo-spatial-Intelligenceto view information as a “national Agency and other governmentasset” to be shared with the citizens. This concept is not new, but if we agencies to create the virtualI would contend that the information connect the idea to technology there panoramas of our planet. The government can make information available as reports, maps and charts, but it can also make it available as data.President Obama is asking is the opportunity to create even EveryBlockgovernment to share with citizens is a greater benefits beyond transparency. Another innovative example ispublic good. If we view information The government can make Everyblock, a web application thatas a public good then there is the information available as reports, combines metropolitan data likeopportunity to not only create maps and charts, but it can also make crime, road construction, buildingtransparency but also save it available as data. Specifically, permits, and sanitation violationsgovernment resources and money government can provide the raw statistics and makes informationwhile stimulating the economy. First source data that is the foundation for easily accessible to the public forwe need to clearly define the meaning reports and statistics. The first consumption. The image below showsof public good. benefit of this approach is that it the results for recent crimes in the provides greater transparency of Federal Triangle neighborhood ofInformation as a Public Good government. Any individual or group Washington D.C. would be able to check the validity ofIn economics the concept of a “public statistics and conclusions drawn from In both instances open public data isgood” describes a situation in which information produced by the being made available to the public inthe consumption of a good or service government. This provides another an attractive and consumable form.by one individual does not reduce avenue for citizens to participate and Not only do these applications makeavailability of the good or service for collaborate with government. the data more transparent, they haveothers; therefore no one can be also fueled innovation and businessexcluded from using it. A classic The GeoWeb as a Use Case creation.example of a public good is alighthouse. All ships benefit from the From a technology perspective, open data has the positive externality of Apps for Democracylighthouse, and if more ships benefitfrom the lighthouse that does not creating opportunities for citizens and Vivek Kundra, the former D.C. CTOadversely affect the community of “the market” to innovate with the has leveraged the combination ofships. As opposed to an apple which data. If the government can provide open government data with theis a finite resource. If I take a bite of well-organized data in common technology community to greatthe apple, there is less of the apple for formats, then technology and services success. He made D.C. governmentyou. From this perspective, the can be built on top of the data. There data open to the public in commoninformation President Obama is has been enormous success already formats then ran a contest, “Apps for Continued on next page... 9
  • Democracy,” for developers to create contributors and 800 million data receiving higher quality data in return,innovative applications with the data. points. When OpenStreetMap came and arguably the data has drivenThis contest resulted in the to the United States, the Census production of technology applicationsdevelopment and submission of 47 Bureau’s TIGER line street data were that the government would haveapplications. The D.C. CTO’s office already available in the public domain. contracted for. Further, theestimated that the cost of having the This provided a huge jump-start for government has created an economicD.C. government develop these apps OpenStreetMap and the team quickly stimulus by providing data aroundwould have exceeded $2 million and began updating and correcting errors which business can be built. Ofrequired 1-2 years of effort between in the data. special significance is the innovation-contracting, procurement and based economic stimulus for small Now there is a resource with updateddevelopment. The contest cost a total and medium sized businesses, which and more accurate TIGER dataof $50,000 and was delivered in 30 are the backbone of America’s job available for the public. This costdays. Not only did Kundra’s efforts creation engine. Most importantly, Census no additional resources andenable more transparency around these projects and the approaches no additional budget. In addition, theD.C. Government, they also saved the outlined serve the purpose of making data made available bycity a substantial amount of money. government more transparent and OpenStreetMap has provided the inviting greater participation and foundation for several technologyOpenStreetMap collaboration. Each of these examples start-ups creating new jobs and built a community around the dataThe benefits to government of making innovation in the marketplace. that is passionate about both itsdata public do not stop with saving accuracy and application. We have amoney. In the United Kingdom, much Conclusion collective opportunity to promoteof the data produced by the change that will revitalize the All four examples; Google Earth,government is sold for a fee. This is economy and society, and this is one EveryBlock, Apps for Democracy andespecially true in the case of path that will get us closer to those OpenStreetMap, demonstrate thegeospatial data, where the Ordinance lofty goals. I potential of leveraging governmentSurvey charges large sums of money data as a public good. The public hasfor a variety of geospatial data. This greatly benefited from the Sean Gorman founded FortiusOne in 2005led to the creation of a non-profit technologies built around the data, to bring advanced geospatial technologiesproject called OpenStreetMaps, to market. For further information, contact and the use of the data has notwhere volunteers use consumer GPS sean.gorman@fortiusone.com, removed value from the government.units and Web software to map out 703.247.9280 or elarson@fortiusone.com, In fact the government has gained –street infrastructure. The project has 703.622.4878. saving money, saving resources,gone global with more than 80,00010
  • Citizen Views OnTransparencyBy Suzanne J. Piotrowski andGregg Van RyzinRutgers University - Newark he proper balance between Research Method there are several dimensions to theT governmental secrecy and open government is at the forefrontof contemporary public debate. The data for our analysis come from an online survey conducted in March 2005 of participants in the public’s demand for transparency, including fiscal, safety, and government concerns, and principledIntuitively, it seems individuals differ openness. Age, political ideology,in their level of demand for eTownPanel project, an opt-in e-mail confidence in government leaders,governmental transparency. panel of approximately 6,044 active frequency of contacting government,Governmental transparency is the participants (at the time of the study). and especially the perception thatdegree to which there is access to The eTownPanel project is a there is currently not enough accessgovernment-held information. Some university-affiliated, foundation- to government appear to drive thefeel strongly about the need to access funded online research resource public’s demand for transparency,government information and to learn created to provide a general although determinants differ for eachmore about what government is doing, population of volunteers to dimension. Some, although not all, ofwhereas others are less interested. participate in surveys about local these factors also predict citizens’ Those who view government as already adequately open demand less transparency, whereas those who see government as closed seek more.Moreover, people differ in terms of the community issues and government actual requests for governmentkinds of government information they performance, in particular surveys information.seek to access. Using data from a sponsored by local nonprofit organizations, government agencies, Our analysis reveals some insights onnational online survey, we develop and academic researchers. Volunteers the structure and possibleseveral indices to measure citizens’ are recruited from various online determinants of public demand fordemand for local governmental postings and e-mail lists and are not a transparency at the local level. Theretransparency and to identify its random sample of the U.S. population. appear to be potentially differentcorrelates. Invitations were sent via e-mail to the dimensions to the public’s demand forTwo initial questions are addressed in entire panel, and a total of 1,819 governmental transparency,this study: (a) How can we measure completed the questionnaire, for a dimensions related to public finances,citizens’ desire or demand for panel response rate of 30percent. safety, the principle of opengovernmental transparency, and government, and the notion of good orspecifically, are there different The survey asked a large number of honest government. In addition, ourdimensions to such a demand? and questions about transparency in analysis suggests several key(b) What personal and contextual government, as well as questions determinants of these various formsfactors are correlated with variation about other attitudes and behaviors of public demand for transparency.in the level of demand for that were hypothesized to be potential Perhaps the public’s perception ofgovernmental transparency? We focus correlates or determinants of the how much openness currently existson local government transparency demand for transparency. We in government emerges as abecause citizens have a more direct conducted an exploratory factor significant factor across the variousstake in local issues (like crime and analysis to reduce the transparency measures of demand for transparency.land use) and because the data for items and to create scales. Those who view government asour research, explained more fully already adequately open demand lessbelow, come from a survey research Findings transparency, whereas those who seeproject focused on local government The data and analysis suggest that government as closed seek more.affairs. People who are politically engaged Continued on next page... 11
  • and who frequently contact Finally, a number of potential these issues to either confirm orgovernment also tend to demand predictors we expected to be related disprove the expected relationships.more transparency. to the demand for transparency failed This research begins to develop a way to enter significantly into our models.The trust-in-government literature of measuring dimensions of the Although past literature identifieshas found that there is a relationship public’s demand for transparency, and race as related to trust in governmentbetween trust in government and the some of the determinants of these and satisfaction with governmentperception that democracy is dimensions. Because no previous services, race was not related to“working well.” In three of the five research has attempted to measure attitudes toward transparency. Racescales, confidence in local officials these concepts, this study should be was, however, related to the behaviorhad a statistically significant, seen as providing an exploratory, of obtaining government documents.negative relationship to demand for empirical foundation for future work People who are politically engaged and who frequently contact government also tend to demand more transparency.transparency. The more confidence Conclusions on the topic. The results presentedcitizens have in their local officials, provide both predicted and surprisingthe less they are interested in fiscal, Our questionnaire focused almost results. More thought and attentionprincipled, and good government exclusively on the municipal needs to be turned to this topic totransparency. Senator John Cornyn of government level. This is appropriate better understand the link betweenTexas stated that “open government because individuals have so much of demand for transparency and itsis fundamentally an American issue, their government contact at the local potential correlates. Inot a Republican or Democrat issue.” level. Even with this is mind, it isUsing party affiliation as a proxy for possible that national-level issues This is based on a research article titledideology, Republican Cornyn is half affect individuals’ demand for “Citizen Attitudes Toward Transparency inright. Self-identified conservatives transparency of local-level Local Government” published in the in Theand liberals were both interested in documents, the most obvious of which American Review of Publictransparency, just different types of are national defense and homeland Administration (2007; volume 37 No.3transparency. Although conservatives security. A question, or series of p306-323). Suzanne Piotrowski and Gregg questions, ascertaining respondents’ Van Ryzin are both faculty members of thequestioned the need for transparency School of Public Affairs and Administrationmore than liberals, they also were views on these topics could be at Rutgers University-Newark. Formore concerned than liberals about included in future research. The additional information contactaccessing safety-related information. perceived high cost of governmental spiotrow@rutgers.edu andSelf-identified liberals, on the other transparency and the desire for vanryzin@rutgers.edu.hand, were more concerned with personal privacy are two possibleaccessing government information on reasons why individuals may wantprinciple and for good governance less transparency. Future researchconcerns. should include questions that address12
  • Practices at Work in GovernmentTexas Websites Improve AccountabilityBy Susan CombsComptrollerState of Texas n the Texas State Comptroller’s In 2007, the Texas Legislature asked contracts, individual purchasers canI Office, we continuously pore over budgets in keeping the books forour agency and the State of Texas as a the Comptroller’s office to create an advisory council with other state agencies to examine uniform financial leverage the state of state’s bulk buying power to receive lower prices. Our office expects Texas to save atwhole — a large task, and one that accounting in state government. least $28 million in phase one of Texasshould be open to scrutiny. By my Today, Texas state agencies use many Smart Buy. The savings and cost-fourth day as Comptroller, we sets of books with sometimes avoidance represent more thanpublished all of our agency conflicting accounting data. Any 8percent of state spending for certainexpenditures online, right down to the given agency might use its own goods and services. Already, Texaspencils. And thanks to our Where the bookkeeping methods and codes for has identified these savings and costMoney Goes website, our tracking and classifying items, a avoidances:expenditures and those of other state recipe for duplication that can makeagencies are available and easily • Overnight/express mail — the state accurate statewide bookkeeping ansearchable online. saved 34percent, or $3.8 million, enormous challenge. With the SingleIn these tough economic times, all Set of Books Initiative, our office will and awarded a significant portiontaxpayers — at the city, county, state work with agencies to present a report of this contract to a Texas-basedand federal levels — deserve to know to the Legislature on ways that state vendor.their tax dollars are used wisely. Just accounting systems and processes • Outgoing mail machines — theas working families must cut can be made more accurate and state saved 20percent, or $876,000,expenses and look for ways to save, useful in decision-making. by negotiating a new contract withall governments must tighten their a long-time vendor. Uniform financial reporting across allbelts and make the most of every state agencies and higher education • Fleet —the state expects to save $7dollar. institutions will shine the brightest million on fleet vehicles throughOur office endeavors to do its part in light on the state’s finances and allow contract negotiations. Also, for theimproving Texas government state leaders to obtain real-time, first time, the state will look beyondtransparency, and some of our reliable information to make well- the sticker price to consider theinitiatives may stand as templates for informed decisions. cost of fueling vehicles for 100,000other governments in crafting miles.transparency initiatives. Taking a Second Initiative:common-sense approach to the issue, As one of the largest purchasing Texas Smart Buy entities in the nation, our state iswe recently introduced Open BookTexas, a three-part set of initiatives Transparency helps spotlight making that leverage work for us. Foraimed at improving government spending inefficiencies after the fact, years, families have used strategiesaccounting accuracy, spending and and our office also works to make like buying in bulk to save money, andtransparency. Texas state government a better it makes sense for governments to shopper from the outset. That is have the same option.First Initiative: where Texas Smart Buy helps.Single Set of Books The initiative gives agencies and Third Initiative: local governments access to an online Texas Transparency Check-UpTo shine more light on state agency shopping cart — much like shopping With the rollout of a new website,bookkeeping, beyond our Where the at popular online retailers — that Texas Transparency Check-Up, ourMoney Goes online expenditure allows them to purchase goods and office expands on previous onlinedatabase, we are pursuing an services through state-negotiated accountability efforts and encouragesinitiative to introduce more uniformity contracts. By purchasing from those transparency at all levels of Texasin Texas government accounting. Continued on next page... 13
  • government finance. The website public. Transparency and wise spending areoffers transparency guidance to local important during the best of times and The website highlights localgovernments and provides Texans an absolutely essential in an uncertain government success stories, providesopportunity to see how well their local economy where there are no dollars to links to exemplary local governmentgovernments stack up in offering waste. To operate with the utmost websites and gives taxpayers tips toonline access to financial information. integrity, all governments should ensure that their government is open show the same common sense,In implementing this initiative, we and accountable. resourcefulness and thrift whenresearched the financial transparency When you know what you are spending money as taxpayers. Iof the top 50 Texas cities, Texas spending, you know how to spendcounties, school districts and other better. Our office is committed to Susan Combs was elected Texaslocal entities. Texas Transparency seeing that philosophy spread to Comptroller of Public Accounts inCheck-Up reveals the results. The site every level of government. In the age November of 2006. For an in-depth look atalso offers local governments step- Open Book Texas initiatives, visit of the Internet, there is seldom aby-step advice for posting information www.window.state.tx.us/openbook. reason to not publish publiconline and presenting it in a way that information online.is readable and understandable to the14
  • Georgia’s Commitment to CustomerService and Good GovernmentBy the Georgia Governor’s Office of Communications and the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office of Media Relations eorgia elected officials show a the website allows you to find Government initiative. Georgians canG commitment to government transparency and high ethicalstandards through the use of professional services expenditures made by state organizations. Open Georgia also includes financial reports access her agency’s budget and monthly expenditures, with detailed information on spending categories.technology. Through the Open Georgia containing the Comprehensive Annual The Secretary of State’s websitewebsite (www.open.georgia.gov) and Financial Report, budgetary highlights the agency’s ethics policythe Secretary of State’s Transparency compliance reports, the Budget in and Secretary Handel’s personal andin Government website Brief and single audits. The site allows campaign financial disclosures.(http://www.sos.georgia.gov/TIG), Georgians to review payments to “Responsible fiscal managementcitizens have direct access to detailed vendors doing business with the state begins with a commitment toaccounts of government spending. during the two previous fiscal years. transparency and accountability,” SheThe Open Georgia site was created by The website also allows citizens to said. “Georgia taxpayers deserve tothe Transparency in Government Act search for reports that evaluate how know how their tax dollars are beingand formally launched on January 5, well various state programs are spent, and I am pleased to provide2009. operating, including performance them with that information.” audits, program evaluations, and“The Open Georgia website makes In addition to these new tools, Georgia special examinations released by thestate government more transparent to lawmakers continue to look for Department of Audits and Accountsits customer, the taxpayer,” said additional ways to make public over the last five years. In 2010, it willGeorgia Governor Sonny Perdue at the information easily accessible. Rep. Ed be expanded to include grant andtime. “By being willing to further open Lindsey introduced legislation in the contact payments to vendors by statethe halls of government to the public, 2009 session of the General Assembly agencies.we give citizens more confidence that that would require counties, cities andtheir tax dollars are being spent There are numerous ways to search for school boards with budgets over $1wisely.” salary and vendor information. Users million to develop a free, searchable can search by name, title, description website that would include all sources “We have taken a major step towards and agency and export search results of revenue, itemized by amount; thefully open and easily accessible to Microsoft Excel or Adobe .pdf entity’s annual budget; a list of allaccounting of how every state tax formats. contracts and obligations of more thandollar is spent,” said its sponsor State $1,000; and an itemization of salariesSenator Chip Roberts. “The very best To ensure that the website is able to and other expenses paid to all publicway to prevent wasteful government carry out its mission the state has officials and employees.spending is to let those paying the bills trained operators at its main phonesee exactly where their money is number, 1-800-GEORGIA, to direct Georgia officials know governmentgoing.” citizens to a specific web address or to functions best when it is made answer detailed questions about the accountable to the citizens who fund it.Open Georgia allows citizens online state’s performance. The commitment Georgia’s dedication to makingaccess to agency expenditures on to provide further details on spending information easily accessibleprofessional services, employee is part of a larger commitment from the demonstrates that the state continuessalaries and travel expenses, state state to make government more to lead the way in truly becoming afinancial reports and program reviews. customer-friendly. citizen-friendly government. IIn the Salaries and TravelReimbursements section, the public Georgia Secretary of State Karencan find salaries and travel Handel has demonstrated a For additional information, please contactreimbursements paid to employees of commitment to government the Georgia Governor’s Office of Communications at 404-651-7774, or thethe state and employees of local transparency, ethics and responsible Georgia Secretary of State’s Office of Mediaboards of education. The “professional stewardship of taxpayer dollars Relations at 404-656-4269.Services and Expenditure” section of through her agency’s Transparency in 15
  • Transparency 2.0 processing power, tools, bandwidth, and mobile computing -- that was previously only available to large organisations and governments.By Laurence MillarDeputy Commissioner and Government CIO Futurists point to non-linear changeState Services Commission which means that people’s capabilitiesNew Zealand will only accelerate. The Web has gone from read-only to read-write. The 2.0 dynamic is very hanks to the popularity of the mostly by individual agencies. The different from the 1.0 state. People areT term Web 2.0, the suffix ‘2.0’ is being applied to just aboutanything. However, there is one benefit State Services Commission, in its leadership role of the State Services, provides information and metrics at an treated as partners, equals in pursuit of shared outcomes and common goals. In turn, this is driving thefrom this indiscriminate labelling. It all-of-government level. Two notable expectations that people have ofhelps frame some important examples are the Kiwis Count survey, government.questions—What is the current 1.0 which looks at perceptions of thestate? What are the limitations of the public service, and the annual Human Change is happening now.1.0 state? What are the drivers for the Resource Capability survey of the There are too many examples around2.0 state? Finally, how do we get there? government workforce. the world to ignore. Oft-quoted examples include New Zealand’sTransparency 1.0 Limitations of the 1.0 state TheyWorkForYou and the UK’sThe people’s right to know is a central There is always room for improvement. FixMyStreet. Less well known butpillar of democratic societies. For example, the potential to better equally powerful is Sami BenTransparency, which gives effect to systematise the release of government Gharbia’s campaign out of thethis right, is a critical element for information and to improve the Netherlands to highlight the issue ofbuilding and maintaining trust in operation of the Official Information political prisoners in Tunisia. Hisgovernment. Effectively holding Act has been identified. efforts include a Google map mashupgovernment accountable for services, of the semi-secret locations where the Notwithstanding the improvements prisoners are being held with YouTubedecisions, and spending taxpayers’ that can and should be made to the videos and a blog.money depends on transparency. current transparency regime, there areTransparency 1.0 is underpinned by a limitations inherent in the dynamic andlegislative framework. For example, in mindset that Transparency 1.0 Getting to Transparency 2.0New Zealand the Official Information addresses. Either people ask for Three things can facilitateAct allows people, with very few information and government responds Transparency 2.0 and enhance publicexceptions, to get the information they or the government makes it available value.want from ministers and government under a legislative or good-practice First, the default should be that allorganisations. Fiscal transparency is imperative. The underlying assumption non-personal data and informationmandated by the Public Finance Act is one of inequality; a mindset of held by government is publiclyand the Reserve Bank of New Zealand opposing interests that requires a available. This requires a huge shift inAct. watchdog. attitudes and practices and isOur robust transparency regime has In this situation, transparency provides therefore likely to be part of a largerbeen internationally recognised. New a vital check and balance dynamic. renewal of the democratic fabric. It isZealand is joint first with Denmark and However, Transparency 1.0 by its very a worthy goal and even incrementalSweden on Transparency nature cannot act as a major enabling steps are welcome. The ScandinavianInternational’s 2008 Corruption lever that uses transparency’s countries present good examples ofPerception Index (see potential to fundamentally transform what can be achieved.www.transparency.org). While the list the relationship between people and Second, data and information shouldleaders have changed over the years, government. be freely available and usable. ThisNew Zealand remains near the top. means it is easy to find; in openThis isn’t by resting on previous Change drivers machine-readable formats; hasachievements but by actively working The easiest way to describe the adequate metadata; licensing ison openness, trust, and transparency. drivers of change is to point to the standardised with no or minimalThe legislative framework is emergence of Web 2.0. The average constraints on reuse; pricing iscomplemented by other measures, person now has the capability -- reasonable (zero cost being the norm); Continued on next page...16
  • and it is timely. investment decisions and wider Key Message choice.Finally, there needs to be a shift to Our vision is “A world class system ofgenuine dialogue; with two-way These are still the exception rather professional State Services servingconversations and participation than business as usual. They are the government of the day and meetingreplacing consultation. Key enablers however beginning to have a small but the needs of New Zealanders.” Theseare a reduction of information real impact on outcomes and are needs are changing, now more thanasymmetries and the development of promising signs of the dawn of ever, and therefore the State Servicesmutual respect. Transparency 2.0. needs to change. One good responseWithin the New Zealand State One of the challenges is measuring is to develop a new level ofServices there have been a few progress. A promising framework to transparency fit for the 21st century -tentative steps towards this goal. It’s measure transparency in this new era call it Transparency 2.0 or somethingblog In Development (http://blog.e.- has been put forward by European else - even as we strengthen ourgovt.nz) allows for a much richer and Commission researcher David Osimo. current transparency regime.ongoing conversation between Osimo contends that the model This new level of transparency will beofficials and people. Public inputs into currently being used to measure e- based on a win-win dynamic.revamping the Police Act in 2007 used government progress is outdated and Government will work witha wiki with some success. A commun- based on an old vision of government. communities as a partner, jointlyity forum was also used in 2007 to To accurately measure progress in a achieving the public outcomes thatdiscuss and come up with ways to Web 2.0 world, the Osimo model has society wants. Iincrease road safety. A broadband four stages of transparency andmap provides transparency of supply reusability of public data (from no Laurence Millar is the first New Zealandand demand National Broadband Map information to reusable and machine- Government CIO. For additionalhomepage (http://broadbandmap.- readable data). information contactgovt.nz/map) on the leading to better Laurence.Millar@ssc.govt.nz. their e-government strategies such asMeasuring E-Government 2.0 “being among the first three countries in two years.” However, the traditional approach to e-governmentBy David OsimoTech4i2 ltd measurement is no longer satisfactory, because it focuses on the availability of online services (e.g. the possibility to pay taxes online).The results of this n the context of e-government benefits.The technical nature of e- traditional policy focus are notI policies, measurement tools have enjoyed high success over the lastten years. Following the management government calls for non-technical management tools which are able to inform political discussion and particularly encouraging: these services are still very little used, and there is little evidence of the muchmantra “if you can’t measure it, you decisions. In other words, expected radical change in thecan’t manage it,” policy makers have measurement and benchmarking has bureaucratic culture of the publiclooked for robust measurement tools to become an essential tool to steer and administration, which was supposed tosupport decisions. A considerable shape e-government policies. become more efficient and customer-number of initiatives have been oriented through IT investment. In Europe, in particular, benchmarkingestablished, at the regional and global In fact, raising the issue of a new plays a particularly important role tolevels.The UN global e-government benchmarking approach points to the coordinate policy measures acrosssurvey, the Brown global e-government wider need for a new e-government different European Union Memberreport, the European benchmarking e- vision, which focuses on the values of States.The European approach togovernment survey, are three well communication and information – measuring e-government has beenknown examples, all based on a human something like an e-government 2.0 highly successful in establishing aassessment of government websites. vision. If putting services online was simple, robust and easilyOne of the reasons behind this understandable measurement method. the “flagship goal” of e-governmentflourishing of measurement tools is the This metric has become very policy in the web 1.0 era, what policyactual difficulty for policy-makers to influential among policy-makers: priority will play a similar role in themanage e-government and show its several countries set a specific goal in Web 2.0 era? Continued on next page... 17
  • We argue that just as the flagship goal understand and meaningful. Forof e-government has been until now example, through visualization tools,“making services available online,” the government can no longer hide behindnew flagship goal should be analysis and charts they themselvestransparency, “making public data provide. Only reusable data makeavailable for reuse.” transparency a reality because they enable new intermediaries to makeThe most successful web 2.0 initiatives sense of public data and openlyin the public field—such as discuss them.farmsubsidy.org andtheyworkforyou.org in the EU, Reusable data are important becauseeveryblock.com and the various they change the incentives ofinitiatives of the Sunlight Foundation in government behaviour.The publicity ofthe US—are built on reusing citizens’ feedback induces civilgovernment data in order to enhance servants to be more responsive totransparency and accountability of citizens.The visualization of votinggovernment. One of the main barriers behaviour of politicians makes themto a wider diffusion of such initiatives more responsive to voters.is the lack of available and easily Traditional e-government initiativesreusable data.Too much time is spent require cultural change to generate ascraping and cleaning public data in positive change. Web 2.0 applicationsorder to make it usable. In December create cultural change by altering the2007, 30 open-government advocates incentives behind government The proposal tries to combine thespelled key requirements for behaviour. Moreover, the expenditure to simplicity and feasibility of the EUgovernment data which emphasized make public data available is much approach with the new values of Webthe need for easily accessible, smaller than the investment to make 2.0. It identifies a limited set of ¨basicmachine-processable and highly services available online. public data¨ and it proposes 4 stages ofreusable data.This would dramaticallyreduce the barriers to developing web- We propose a new approach to data availability.based applications that bring social measurement of e-government, which, The key benefit of this approach is thatvalue, as it has been recently shown by rather than measuring the availability not only does it provide a way tothe appsfordemocracy.org initiative. of online services, measures the monitor the degree of transparency of availability of reusable and machine- different governments, but also itWeb 2.0 applications are particularly processable data. creates a peer-pressure mechanismgood at making data easy to towards the publication of reusable Benchmarking e-government 2.0 data. It provides a clear roadmap to policy-makers where the publication of Select 20 types of basic public data such as: reusable, machine processable data is • beneficiaries of public funding (agriculture, research, industry etc); the ultimate goal of e-government. • draft legislation; • MPs votes Further work is needed to define Phase 1 • party donations priority data, refine the stages and the • planning applications; appropriate format of data, and pilot • air pollution data • citizens feedback / satisfaction surveys results the methodology. However, consistent • procurement contract assigned with the Web 2.0 approach, this measurement does not have to be For each type, assess to what extent these data are available on the web: 0 (no information available) implemented by government. It is quite 1 (description of the procedure to obtain the information through easy to imagine a crowdsourcing Freedom of Information) scenario, where an NGO provides an Phase 2 2 (information available in non reusable, non-machine online, free data-collection tool, readable format) through which citizens can input 3 (information available in reusable and machine processable format information on the availability of such as xml , csv) reusable data on the website of their Compute “data availability” scores for each country based on an municipality. I Phase 3 average the scores for each type of data. Compare the average scores for the countries being benchmarked and David Osimo is a managing partner of Phase 4 develop international rankings. Tech4i2 ltd. For additional information contact david.osimo@gmail.com.18
  • E-discovery, Transparency entertaining requiring (a) the production of electronic versions of records with associated “metadata,”and Culture Change even if hard copies exist in “official” recordkeeping systems, and/or (b) expedited searches of hundreds ofBy Jason R. Baron, Esq. thousands or millions of e-mails, including from backup tapes, even if such media and systems are not set up to handle that kind of demand. Of he December 2006 changes to Brave New World, Part 2: In a civilT the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which introduced theterm “electronically stored rights class action brought against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Division of the U.S. Department course, the government retains viable affirmative defenses against truly unreasonable and burdensome litigation search and productioninformation,” are transforming the way of Homeland Security, a federal district demands, as well it should. But federalfederal court litigation is being court in Manhattan considered at agencies are whistling past thepracticed in the United States. In length the discoverability of at least graveyard if they believe that existingliterally hundreds of published three types of “metadata” associated forms of recordkeeping remaindecisions, courts are applying greater with ICE records.scrutiny to electronically stored These are:information, concentrating on how “substantive”electronic forms of documents and metadata consistingrecords will be preserved, formatted, of textualsearched, and produced in the context modifications toof the particular case. For the public documents andsector, this is not just the sound of editorial commentsdistant thunder. Increasingly, federal embedded withinagencies are being required to confront documents that arehow their electronic records will be retained by theproduced in litigation. proprietary software and retrievable byBrave New World, Part 1: In a end users; “system”decision dated January 6, 2009, the U.S. metadata, consistingCourt of Appeals for the District of of date and time ofColumbia affirmed a finding of creation ofcontempt againstThe Office of Federal documents or when documents were adequate in the face of these newHousing Enterprise Oversight, in large modified, including material that might external realities.part due to the agency’s failure to meet have been deleted by the creator of thestipulated-to deadlines in e-discovery. E-discovery places in sharp relief the document; and “embedded” metadata,The agency had committed to present-day Achilles heel of “e- consisting of spreadsheet formulas,undertaking an “appropriate search” of government,” namely: while virtually all hidden columns, and hyperlinks.Thedisaster-recovery backup tapes for desktop government records are born government largely prevailed on adocuments. It was an agreement to digital, only a small percentage end up technicality, due to plaintiffs’ failure toproduce non-privileged documents being “preserved” in a electronic timely raise the metadata issue:found responsive to 400 overly-broad recordkeeping system approved by the although the next set of class actionkeyword search terms, where the National Archives and Records plaintiffs almost assuredly won’t beproduction set consisted of 660,000 Administration (NARA), pursuant to making that same mistake. See Aguilarrecovered documents that needed to the Federal Records Act. Few v. ICE Division of the U.S. Dep’t ofbe, but could not be, reviewed in time. agencies have switched to managing Homeland Security, 2008 WL 5062700The Court of Appeals was not moved to information electronically in a manner (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 2008).relieve the agency of its contempt consistent with the NARA-endorsedcitation, despite the fact that it had Each new e-discovery ruling consists of standard for electronic recordkeeping.spent $ 6 million, or more than 9percent a wake up call to the federal agency The vast majority of agencies insteadof its total annual budget in connection involved. In these and similar cases, are still relying on legacy recordswith conducting the search. See In re agencies come to realize (usually, after schedules that assume hard copyFannie Mae Litigation, 2009 WL 21528 the fact), that they must get a better printouts of e-mail, word processing,(D.C. Cir.), available at handle on the downside risk posed by a and other applications suffice as thehttp://pacer.cad.c..uscourts.gov/commo failure to be prepared for e-discovery. official records of the agency. Little orn/opinions/ 200901.htm. Today, federal courts seriously Continued on next page... 19
  • no attention is being paid to preserving e-mail from the mail server to manage each agency faces;in a coherent, uniform, and consistent it in a central location, without much or • Improving their baseline knowledgefashion potentially large numbers of any effort on the part of individual management of their ownelectronic communications on users. Agencies considering e-mail information assets, starting withotherwise highly networked systems archiving without also thinking through inventorying and/or data mapping allthat constitute long-term temporary or its records management implications agency ESI repositories,permanent federal records. As a exchange short-term litigation risk inconsequence, government agencies are terms of deleted information, for the applications, and platforms inat least two steps behind when expense and attendant risk associated anticipation of discovery about thoseconfronted with a serious and with building up huge, unstructured very subjects;sophisticated e-discovery demand. data collections that cannot be • Changing workflow to supportThey routinely have trouble collecting adequately managed or searched.The electronic business processes;and preserving records in their native, adoption of e-mail archiving combined • Updating legacy records schedulesproprietary form (with metadata), and with appropriate records management and ensuring that unscheduledthey have trouble searching them in a controls and filters may well be a electronic records (in the form ofreasonable way – especially if they must constructive step forward, however. databases or on networkrely on the enormous expense of Agencies moving toward the adoptionrestoring disaster-recovery backup of such new technologies should, in my applications) are properly scheduled;tapes to do so. view, be applauded in thinking outside and the present “only hard copies are • Appointing a “knowledge counsel”The “print-to-paper” world of official records” box. For additional who will be the “go to” person ingovernment recordkeeping has guidance, see NARA Bulletin 2008-05 each headquarters and regionalcontinued to survive the Electronic (Guidance concerning the use of e-mail component of a General Counsel’s orFreedom of Information Act, the archiving applications to store e-mail), Solicitor’s office, who would functionGovernment Paperwork Elimination available at as a clearinghouse and repository ofAct, the E-Government Act, and a host http://www.archives.gov/records- information on the IT andof similar statutes. With limited mgmt/bulletins/2008/2008-05.html. recordkeeping practices of theexceptions, federal agencies generallyhave failed to adopt modern, efficient The business case for adopting agency.means of preserving e-mail and other electronic recordkeeping should be Although agencies could probablyforms of unstructured electronic apparent. E-discovery increases risks continue to live in a world of paperrecords on the desktop, in a manner exponentially for agencies that rely on recordkeeping practices absent e-that upholds the highest ideals of the paper, on backup tapes, and on end discovery, e-discovery is and will mostrecordkeeping laws. users to respond to discovery assuredly continue to be a driver of obligations. Agencies must begin to culture change. How many moreIronically, the place in government treat information as critical assets to litigation shocks to the system shouldgenerating the most public controversy be managed strategically, which the federal government take beforefor flaws in its recordkeeping system, increasingly will mean managing agencies understand the value ofnamely the White House, actually has information electronically.They should better, more automated processes forremained comparatively ahead of the be working to transform current the long-term maintenance of federalcurve. Notwithstanding allegations of business practices to truly embrace e- records, so as to ensure better“missing” e-mail, approximately 32 government in cradle-to-grave transparency in the form of enhancedmillion Clinton e-mail records, and now workflow processes, from record access?The world awaits our collectiveon the order of ten times that amount of creation through ultimate disposition. answer, and if none is forthcoming,Bush 43 e-mail records, have beenpreserved in electronic form under the My six prescriptions for change include parties certainly won’t be reticent aboutPresidential Records Act and the federal agencies: filing additional lawsuits demandingFederal Records Act. greater and more costly disclosures of • Committing to electronic the government’s electronic records. INo other place in government has so recordkeeping and/or e-mailfar approached this volume of archiving with records management Jason R. Baron is Director of Litigation atwholesale e-mail capture under the controls in place; the National Archives and Recordspublic records laws, although some Administration. The statements expressed • Embracing preventive measures inhave begun to contemplate the idea of in this article are the author’s personal“e-mail archiving,” which holds out the the form of ad hoc, interdisciplinary views and do not purport to represent thepromise of a “quick fix” to litigation groups of professionals (records positions taken by NARA or any otherrisk, especially from an IT perspective, officers, attorneys, CIOs and IT staff, component of the federal government. For and senior executives), meeting to additional information contactwhere the agency “just” saves Jason.baron@nara.gov.everything. Such technologies remove discuss the future e-discovery risks20
  • AGA Opens the Doorsof Government to the CitizensBy Relmond Van Daniker, DBA, CPAExecutive DirectorAssociation of Government Accountants allooning budget deficits. OutB of control spending. Higher taxes. Fewer services. Rightlyor wrongly, citizens associate theseissues with government finance at atime when governments at all levelsface increasing challenges andtighter-than-ever budgets.Last year, the Association ofGovernment Accountants (AGA)commissioned a survey to determinewhether citizens are satisfied withtheir governments. The objective ofthis first survey was to establish abaseline understanding of publicattitudes, concerning transparencyand accountability progress—or thelack of it—which could be trackedsemi-annually. We were not surprisedto learn they are deeply dissatisfiedwith the lack of information comingfrom their federal, state and localgovernments.Of 1,652 citizens surveyed by HarrisInteractive, 89 percent said that, astaxpayers, they are entitled totransparent financial managementinformation, and 57 percent said thatgovernment has an obligation toprovide it. They further indicated thatgovernment is failing to meet itsfinancial management reportingneeds, and that poor performance hascreated a problem of trust betweenresidents and their governments. The The State of Maryland’s 4-page Citizen-Centric Report.survey showed that governments survey, AGA had responded to the The suggested format showsneed innovative means of dearth of information available to community information—such ascommunication to overcome those citizens by encouraging governments population figures, regionalchallenges. In short, the survey across the country to produce four- characteristics and government goalsuncovered a significant “expectations page Citizen-Centric Reports. The for the community—on the first page,gap” between what the citizens want reports allow governments to produce and the second page presents afrom their government and what a snapshot containing the information performance report on key missionsthey’re getting. citizens want and need in an easily and service. The third page detailsEven before we commissioned the understood, visually appealing format. cost and revenue information, and the Continued on next page... 21
  • fourth looks forward to the year 3. Bar and/or pie charts to display hallmark of AGA’s effort to advanceahead. revenues and expenses. government accountability at all levels by making government moreAGA believes that these reports will 4. Statements such as: An accessible to the people it serves—make governments more accountable independent audit was conducted, the taxpaying public.to their citizens, and will help resulting in a clean audit opinion.Americans become better educated Complete financial information In addition to this initiative, AGAand better able to participate in can be found at www.xyz.gov. offers a well-respected Certifiedgovernment activities. Government Financial Manager 5. Future challenges affecting the designation, which recognizes theThe AGA Citizen-Centric entity. unique skills and experiencesGovernment Reporting Initiative is 6. Statements such as: We want to required to succeed in today’ssteadily expanding. The U.S. government finance environment.Departments of the Interior and hear from you. Do you like this Also in keeping with our efforts toDefense, as well as the U.S. Coast report? Do you believe it should advance government accountability,Guard, have produced reports at the include any other information? we reward outstanding Performancefederal level. Oregon, Nevada, Please let us know by contacting and Accountability Reports (PARs) atTennessee, South Carolina and xxx. the federal level, and Service EffortsWashington and cities and counties 7. Report is ‘free’ of technical and Accomplishments Reportssuch as the District of Columbia, accounting language. produced by state and localSaco, ME, Tallahassee, FL, Portland, governments.OR, Bellevue, WA, and Blount County, 8. Report incorporates pictures andTN, have produced Citizen-Centric other graphics to make it visually AGA provides a wide array of trainingReports. Many others are in the appealing. courses to help government financeworks. professionals remain up-to-date and 9. Report has been distributed relevant as they provide theAGA now offers a free Certificate of (hard.c.opy, posted to website information decision-makers needExcellence in Citizen-Centric and/or posted in newspaper) each day. Without timely, reliable,Reporting to recognize entities that efficient financial details, programprepare and distribute high-quality 10. Report is issued in a timely manner managers can’t succeed. OurCitizen-Centric Reports. To be eligible following the close of the entity’s members are on the front lines of thefor the certificate, governments must fiscal year: effort to ensure this information ismeet high standards of content, visual a. First-year report submitted to readily available.appeal, readability, distribution andtimeliness in reporting as outlined AGA: must be within six months We’re making strides in our effort tobelow by our guidelines. b. Second-year report submitted open the doors of government to the to AGA: must be within five citizens. They pay the bills, so it’s onlyThe following elements must be months fair that they know where the moneyincluded in the report to be eligible for goes, what they got for it and that it’sthe Certificate of Excellence: c. Third-year report submitted to being managed properly. That’s why1. How the entity is organized/- AGA: must be within four months we also recommend that governments operates (items such as vision include information about their d. Fourth-year and beyond report statement and strategic goals) financial statement audits, which submitted to AGA: must be within provide another layer of2. Key accomplishments surrounding three months accountability. I key missions and service and/or Citizen-Centric Reports represent the along with selected performance future of government financial For more information about AGA visit measures. reporting. This program has become a www.agacgfm.org.22
  • Shedding Light on Corruption India: Revolutionizing Land Records World Bank tI Agriculture still plays a vital role in the percent of Karnataka’s domestic is late in the morning as M. Ramaiah, economy of this state, which has an product and remains the largest source 55, a farmer and father of three, area equal in size to the United of employment in the state.To increasestands straight and still, his eyes fixed Kingdom and a population twice that of farm incomes and empower localon a computer screen in front of him. Australia. farmers, land ownership is essential.He waits patiently as the computer And land ownership, to be The contrast between rural Karnatakaindicates that the printing process has acknowledged, must be documented. and technology-driven Bangalorebegun. Shortly afterwards, he receives Ironically enough, the most precious couldn’t be sharper. Could technologya neatly printed document.The piece of possession a poor illiterate farmer may be the missing link, capable of bringingpaper in his hands states that he owns have, next to his land, is the written development to the villages and theira small plot of land near Ittamadu, a land record that safeguards his rights millions of residents?village located some 50 kilometers from as legal owner. Land records are vitalBangalore, the information technology The answer is not completely clear. But documents for both farmers and thecapital of India. what is sure is that technology, through government, used to prove ownership as simple a means as computerized and required for numerousIn Bangalore, the huge growth of the land ownership records, is providing administrative functions as well. Landinformation technology industry has these farmers with a measure of records are needed three times a yearattracted an influx of clients from security and peace of mind they did not to secure crop loans; they are also usedaround the world—multinational previously have. for verification and for access tocompanies taking advantage of low pensions and various other governmentwages, low maintenance costs, and A Vital Record programs.state-of-the-art technology. But outsidethe city, in the rest of the state of Agriculture accounts for about 28 These records form the basis forKarnataka, it’s a different story. Continued on next page... 23
  • assignment and Putting land records called “mutation record,” which is rupees to prove that he owned his smallonline means easy access to vital needed if a farmer wants to sell land or plot of land. “First, we had to search forinformation for settlement of land titles buy a plot of land elsewhere, to be the officials, and then wait for them toand must stand up under legal scrutiny. delivered to the farmer.The mutation hear our pleas. Now, within a fewBut for 200 years, the responsibility of process is now completed in 45 days. minutes and by paying only 15 rupees,maintaining land ownership records we are able to get our land deeds in no Besides these efficiency improvements,has been under the tight control of a time.” Bhoomi’s important safeguard features,powerful minority of village such as its biometric logon system,accountants. Fair User Fee help ensure against fraud.The logon system is used to authenticate— G. Venkatanaraiah, like other BhoomiBhoomi through their fingerprints—the village users, doesn’t begrudge the 15 rupees.In the local language of Karnataka, accountants and other administrative That’s because another successfulbhoomi means land. Bhoomi is also the personnel who access Bhoomi. Each feature of the computerized system hasname given to a groundbreaking piece village accountant must be been its introduction of a standard userof software created to computerize 20 fingerprinted in order to have access to fee.million land records in the state.The the machine where the database is stored; this system also creates a According to G. Satyavathi, deputymanual upkeep of land records before record of who was the last person to secretary for E-governance inBhoomi provided ample latitude for access the deeds.The biometric logon Karnataka, farmers do not mind payingtampering, exploitation, and system has thus virtually eliminated the this fee because they are satisfied withharassment from powerful vested opportunity for corruption and fraud. the system. Before, the price for a landinterests.Those who suffered the most record was at the individual villagefrom this system were the small and accountant’s discretion. Further,marginal farmers who spent all of their Yesterday and Today revenue collection from land recordsmeager resources fighting to keep their G. Venkatanaraiah, 40, a poor farmer rarely made it back to the state coffers.lands, bribing and cajoling village from the small village of With Bhoomi, on the other hand,officials in order to obtain a record. Gundhatherhalli, located about 14 farmers are pleased with the qualityUnfortunately, in all too many cases, kilometers from Ramanagaram, in rural and consistency of the service, thethese farmers would lose not just their Bangalore, owns a 2.5-acre plot of land. government has increased its revenues,land, but also their faith in the concept He came to the district office today to and the system’s sustainability isof justice. get a printout of his land record. G. ensured.Before Bhoomi, over 9,000 village Venkatanaraiah is a small man, with In the Ramanagaram district office, foraccountants maintained 20 million deep, dark eyes and an expressive instance, over 62,000 records have beenrecords manually.The subdistrict smile. As he approaches the Bhoomi issued since Bhoomi’s introduction inoffices, such as Ramanagaram’s, rarely kiosk, a small group of villagers 2001, and the state has collected overreceived any copies of the records that surround him, interested in seeing what 960,000 rupees.were manually updated on the fields. the novelty is all about.Thus, a virtual monopoly over these M. Ramaiah came to Ramanagaram Thanks to the Bhoomi program, G.records evolved—along with a today to get a printout of his land title in Venkatanaraiah is able to print his landseemingly limitless opportunity for preparation for his son’s upcoming record in less than five minutes. Withcorruption and fraud, not to mention marriage. Because of the marriage, he this record, he hopes to get a loan toerror and inefficiency. needs proof of land ownership. Also, he purchase fertilizers.The quality of his wants to know how much land heBhoomi has changed all that. Notes land is not very good, but he can still actually owns. He is concerned that,Deepa Narayan, a senior advisor for the grow ragi—a grain similar in because of his son’s marriage, thereWorld Bank, “It is telling that all of us consistency to bulgur that is one of the will be a split in the family and that hiscould recall family conflicts over land staple foods of Karnataka—and the wife and daughters could lose theirrecords because of the high discretion” grain jowhar in enough quantities to rights to the land.of land recording officials. With feed him, his wife, and their two sons.Bhoomi, 20 million land records for 6.7 The leftovers, together with some Bhoomi’s efficiency means he canmillion farmers in 177 subdistricts have mangos from his plot, he will sell in focus on business rather than onbeen computerized in the state of Ramanagaram. logistics. “The system is easy, and I amKarnataka. very satisfied. Before, it would have Before Bhoomi, G. Venkatanaraiah had taken me three to four days to locateRecords that used to take weeks, or to pursue village accountants for the village accountant—and theyeven months, to obtain are now sometimes up to one week in order to always changed the price for thepromptly available. For instance, it get a land record. Moreover, he used to certificate. Now I pay 15 rupees everycould take up to six months for a so- have to pay anywhere from 5 to 50 Continued on next page...24
  • agricultural sector more closely. Many lessons are being learned through this new ability to analyze ownership trends. One of the things that Bhoomi was able to demonstrate in quantifiable terms was the huge disparity in land ownership between the men and women of Karnataka. According to the records, only 10 percent of the state’s land belongs to female farmers. Another lesson is that information technology can play a powerful role in poverty reduction, but that its use and potential have been largely overlooked. Technology that increases poor people’s access to information whether of markets or services, and computerization that reduces the discretion of service providers, can be powerful tools for self-empowermenttime.” When asked if M. Ramiah these do not require high literacy skills and poverty reduction.receives a print out of his landthe price on the part of users seeking to access It is about noon when M. Ramaiahwas too steep, M. Ramaiah smiled and their records. leaves the Bhoomi kiosk insaid no. He too had been a record.“Now Ramanagaram. He folds the newlythey cannot take my land away.”victim Lessons From a Model System printed land record neatly and puts it inof village accountants’ greed before. the front pocket of his shirt. “They will Today, 10 million computerized records not take my land away now,” he says, as are issued every year in Karnataka—anBrain Child of a Civil Servant achievement other Indian states envy. he climbs on a small, rusting bike, which was leaning against the wall, andIt was Rajeev Chawla, a government Notes Sathayavathi, Karnataka’s E- starts to ride back home. In thecivil servant working at the National governance deputy, “Here is a distance, he stops to catch his breath,Informatics Center in Bangalore, who successful project which has shown to and looks back. With a smile on hisrecognized the need to find alternatives the people and the citizens of this state face, he waves. Ifor land-record reform.The state that, yes, it should be scalable to othergovernment supported Chawla as he states—and why not to otherdesigned, and then put into action, a countries? It’s a good model, and it is For more information about this and other Development 360 stories,please contactproject to put all the local land records delivering services. I think this is a Ana Luna Barrosinto a central computer. revolution in land records.” atalunabarros@worldbank.org.The Bhoomi system soon followed. With the computerization of land titles,Completely designed in-house by the the state is now able to take furtherNational Informatics Center, Bhoomi steps toward keeping an onlinefeatures touch screen kiosks, since database and scrutinizing the 25
  • Fighting Corruption, opaque government, and the role oil and diamond revenues played in funding the country’s destructive 27-While Building Energy Security year civil war. In recent years, the Angolan government has begun to take some important steps to introduceBy Kathryn Joyce revenue and expenditure transparencyRevenue Watch Institute into the public management of its petroleum and mineral wealth, including new elections and the publication of budgets. However, the n the Niger Delta of West Africa, the less than two dollars per day as theyI poorest communities live atop oil and gas deposits that havegenerated over $600 billion in oil live and work next to the oil pipelines that carry vast wealth through their villages. reforms have been incomplete, and Angola’s scores on both corruption and human development indicators are some of the lowest in the world.revenues over the past five decades. This paradox of poverty amidst plenty isThough Nigeria’s resource wealth could The culprit is often vast amounts of often referred to as the “resourcespearhead development across the money changing hands outside of the curse”—the too-common dilemma ofregion—roads, schools, hospitals, and public eye.The key to transforming resource-rich countries that remainmodernized technological development, wealth and stability in underdeveloped, impoverished, andinfrastructure. For most Nigerians resource rich countries is making plagued by corrupt and conflict, despitequality of life has not improved but transparency and accountability the the extractive resource wealth thatdeteriorated. In the Niger Delta in shared concern of all parties engaged could vastly improve their standard ofparticular, the population faces new in the extractive industries: living.diseases, rampant pollution that governments, companies and civilundercuts traditional livelihoods such Angola, projected to become one of the society alike.as fishing, and endemic corruption that highest-earning oil producing countries Many Americans may be aware of thehas helped engender a violent in Africa over the next several decades, disparity between the potential andinsurgency. Poverty prevails, with 90 has long been a poster country for the reality of development in resource richpercent of the population surviving on resource curse, due to its notoriously countries, but fewer understand the26
  • role that the United States can play in behave with greater transparency internationally operating oil companies,promoting transparency worldwide— wherever they operate. including most major non-USand why it is fitting that the U.S., one of companies, reducing the risk that more The global transparency movement hasthe world’s leading resource consumers transparent American companies been growing for some years,and the destination of 20 percent of would be put at a competitive particularly since the introduction inNigerian oil alone, should take a leading disadvantage by their compliance. As 2002 of the voluntary Extractive Industryrole in this promotion. one of the largest consumers of other Transparency Initiative (EITI), which countries’ extractive resources, the U.S.In the last Congress, a bill was standardizes a process for is invariably affected by the businessintroduced in the U.S. House that would governments to measure and improve standards of oil-producing countries.bolster transparency and accountability their disclosure practices for revenues “Like it or not, we have a role to play.”in the oil, gas, and mining industries from extractive companies.The broaddramatically.The Extractive Industries support this initiative enjoys from A growing number of members ofTransparency Disclosure (EITD) Act companies, the Organization for Congress appear to share this attitude.sponsored by Chairman Barney Frank Economic Co-operation and Since its introduction in 2008, the EITDof the Financial Services Committee Development, as well as resource rich Act picked up 42 sponsors in the Housemandates that all domestic and foreign exporting countries, signals that and Senate, following the determinedcompanies registered with the increasing transparency is not just a work of Publish What You Pay, RevenueSecurities and Exchange Commission concern for low-income countries. Watch, Global Witness, Oxfam(SEC) report their payments to America and many other coalition The movement is beginning to take offgovernments for any extractive industry members.The Senate version of the bill in the United States as well. Senatoractivity. was sponsored by New York Senator Richard Lugar, ranking member of the Charles Schumer.Sarah Pray of the Publish What You Pay Senate Foreign Relations CommitteeU.S. coalition, part of an international and a co-sponsor of the EITD Act, In September, Revenue Watch boardcoalition on the forefront of the released a report on the resource curse members, partners and authorstransparency movement, compares in October 2008 entitled “The testified in support of the bill at twotoday’s EITD act to an older example of Petroleum and Poverty Paradox: Senate hearings. “When major oilthe U.S. taking on corruption. In the Assessing U.S. and International producing countries are hobbled by an1970s, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Community Efforts to Fight the unstable business environment, theAct (FCPA) brought sweeping reform Resource Curse.”The report calls for U.S. economy and our energy securityof corrupt activities by American the U.S. to join the EITI and submit the suffer,” Revenue Watch Director Karencompanies operating abroad, taking on Interior Department’s royalty collection Lissakers testified. “Information is thea culture of corruption so pervasive that to outside audit; to assist resource-rich lifeblood of healthy markets and ofsome countries allowed tax deductions countries in managing their new healthy political systems, and the EITDfor bribes.Then, says Pray, the United revenues; and to “back their Act will contribute to both.”States took the lead then because it transparency words with deeds,” by With the findings of the Lugar reportwas the right thing to do.Today, Publish requiring that extractive companies and a new incoming administration,What You Pay is leading the call for the publish their payments country-by- Revenue Watch and the Publish WhatEITD Act, along with the Revenue country, as the EITD Act requires. You Pay coalition are optimistic aboutWatch Institute and many other Sarah Pray concurs with this “practice the passage of the EITD Act in 2009. Wecoalition members. Pray says that new what you preach” message. “If were will continue to promote the standardstransparency in extractives revenues encouraging other countries to of transparency and accountability thataround the world will have the same implement the EITI, we should have a the bill represents. Ilong-term benefits as the FCPA has law on our books, and also implementhad, by helping to make sure that EITI ourselves.” Not only would this The Revenue Watch Institutecorrupt governments do not withhold or boost U.S. credibility in its own calls for (www.revenuewatch.org) is a non-profitmismanage extractive revenues that transparency around the world, and in policy institute and grantmakingcould help build and sustain their organization that promotes the responsible countries whose stability is linked tocountries. management of oil, gas and mineral U.S. interests, but it would also be aJust as the U.S. positively wielded its boon in countries where more resources for the public good.economic influence in 1977 to begin to transparent behavior by U.S.change business practices around the companies would improve U.S.world, today it is in a position to drive diplomatic efforts and reputation.the transparency agenda in the global “These companies are ouroil and mining sectors, by requiring ambassadors abroad. How they dothose companies under the jurisdiction business reflects on the U.S.”The billof the SEC from these sectors to would cover 90 percent of the top 50 Continued on next page... 27
  • Through a Glass, DarklyWhat do we mean by transparency in government?By Matthew DunlapSecretary of StateState of Maine n 1973, America was shocked by The good news is that technology and the public and make their participationI revelations first published in the pages of the Washington Post thatthe President of the United States had telecommunications make it easier than ever for the public to extract information about budgets, programs meaningful are left with a number of disadvantages. For the policymaker, one key questionbeen implicated in activities meant to and the people who administer them. is what exactly it is the public isconsolidate power and undermine any Nonetheless, statutory provisions that interested in. While modern noticespolitical opposition. Earlier in our anchor the public’s access to and availability of financialnation’s history, President Warren G. government activities remain mired in information, campaign financeHarding’s administration was rocked standards from a different time. For disclosures, budget documents,by dark allegations surrounding oil example, most public-notice laws were reports from watchdogs, and otherleases and corruption that became written in times when not every town information is readily available, for theknown as the Teapot Dome scandal. even had ready access to newspapers, public accessing such information it’sMost recently, allegations of Illinois so that posting of notices of all very much like drinking from a fireGovernor Rod Blagojevich trying to government meetings and warrants hose.“sell” President Obama’s vacant for government action were onlySenate seat led to the governor’s required to be posted in “conspicuous Secondly, there is the element of theremoval from office. places,” probably the front door of the public that inherently distrusts any local church or town hall. Today, many government information, from anyBig and small, reports of instances of states require posting notices of source—or worse, that element ofwrongdoing, waste, and favoritism legislative hearings and agency society that simply doesn’t care.abound through history and rulemaking proposals in newspaper Nonetheless, those citizens deservecontemporary news reports. The legal notice sections which rarely accountability too, and whether theypublic demands transparency and attract much public attention. Such come to trust the process or theaccountability in government—but requirements—and the political product will largely hinge on howwhat does that mean? And how do we adherence to them—represent an usable and verifiable information theyachieve it? anachronistic resignation of public receive is.While corruption is easy to define and ennui to governmental proceedings, Finally, once the information isroot out, “waste” is not. One and the political advantages that aggregated and made available,observer’s waste may be another’s offers bureaucrats. someone has to use it. Forvital effort; the politics of prioritization (To keep this in the proper context, this policymakers this may be moremake such discussions circular. But was common in New England in intuitive, but is no more common thanpublic trust that the best available colonial times, and many of these the utilization of information aboutsolutions are arrived at should be requirements are still on the books. programs and budgets by the generalmore empirically quantifiable. How to When the author was the chair of the public. Thus policymakers rely onmake information available and usable local city party committee, he was “common sense” and “lifeis just one challenge. required—by law—to post the notice of experience” instead of historical data,In October 2008, the National the party caucus on the town bulletin bringing the whole matter around fullElectronic Commerce Coordinating board as well as in the local newspaper circle.Council (eC3) hosted a symposium in two weeks in advance of the caucus. If Tricky, too, is context. Raw data onWashington, D.C.. The purpose of the he wanted anyone to attend, however, salaries of public officials, forsymposium was to give better shape he had to call people.) example, is often tasty fodder forto the buzzword “transparency.” What The public, policy advocates, and bloggers and watchdogs, but suchdoes it and what should it mean to lawmakers who seek to modernize spreadsheets almost never includepublic officials? And how can it be an public participation and the even a summary sentence of whateffective tool for the public? transparency that is required to inform those officials are responsible for, or Continued on next page...28
  • what would be comparable in the have greater opportunity than ever to the watchtower, that all theprivate sector. But contextualizing share information. Many websites are safeguards against arrogance andinformation is also controlling it, and now dedicated to examining not only corruption work. But they don’t. This ismany public officials are reluctant to programs, but what is said about the unsolvable problem ofeditorialize or justify their actions to a them, and monitor for disparate facts transparency: it doesn’t guaranteewary public, seeking instead to avoid a and truthful statements. Of course, accountability—only vigilance doesfight. the old-fashioned public forum where that. There is no ready substitute for policymakers and administrators an engaged public, or method in lawBut the public also has a answer questions and present that assures that elected officials andresponsibility, too, and there’s the information in person still has a the bureaucrats who report to thempolitical hair trigger. When the public significant place in the realm of will behave in the public’s bestis outraged, there’s little room for transparent government. Any method interest.civics lessons, especially coming from for encouraging public participation isgovernment officials. If government Can you trust me? I ask people that all going to be hard work, but anyone whoofficials and agencies establish the time. They always say yes. I’m sure does it will testify to its effectiveness.collaborative relationships with they’re sincere. But I follow up withwatchdog groups and respond readily Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this question: if you can really trustto requests for information, problems transparent government is the total me, then why do we need to hold ancan usually be quickly avoided. After lack of reward. People expect that election every two years? Iall, people just want honest answers their officials are doing the right thingto their questions. and are behaving transparently, and Matt Dunlap is Secretary of State for the thus offer no acknowledgement of State of Maine and Chairman of the NationalAttaining such answers is now best practices or for good behavior. In Electronic-Commerce Coordinating Council.available in more vectors than at any a way, it’s not transparency at alltime in history. With blogs, online people want; it’s assurance.chatrooms, wikis, and electronic Assurance that someone is manningforums, policymakers and the publicTransparency in a limit, however, to the sort of technology and policy innovation that government can produce. RegulationsGovernment Begins Outside that sometimes hold government back don’t apply in the same way to non- profits, educational institutions, andBy John Wonderlich businesses, who are learning toProgram DirectorSunlight Foundation catalyze government innovation from without. I am the Policy Director for just such an organization.The Sunlight ne of President Obama’s first As government employees craft andO official acts in office was to issue sweeping newinformation policies. His directives, then follow the new technology and information policies of the Obama administration, the examples set by Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, was founded in 2006 with transparency in government as its central mission. As technology’swhich single out transparency, partici- experiments in data and engagement transformative potential has alwayspation, and collaboration, have the will be among the government been at the heart of our vision for anpotential to generate a new era of innovators’ best new guides. open government, our foundationnetworked governance, where digital invests heavily in the technology of To be sure, significant coordination andtools empower citizens and public understanding, building tools guidance already come fromgovernment employees to more fully that help citizens and government government agencies and organiza-participate in democratic processes. employees alike comprehend and tions, from top-level authorities to theThese directives, however, if insider-champions working for interact with government.implemented improperly, may be just technological reform. Government’s Much of our work has been createdas likely to create new turf battles, coordinative role should only continue with an appreciation for the money andunwieldy mandates, uncertainty, or to grow as the new administration’s influence at the heart of our politicalunnecessary layers of bureaucracy. commitment becomes explicit.There’s system. Sunlight provides significant Continued on next page... 29
  • support for the Center for Responsive passage of the Federal Funding Each of these projects affects not onlyPolitics, whose OpenSecrets.org Accountability andTransparency Act the users who employ them, but alsowebsite provides an unparalleled view (often referred to in a recent political the government employees who wereof money in politics. Designing with campaign as Coburn-Obama).That the original stewards of the data.Thisopen access and data architecture in legislation created USASpending.gov, feedback loop is essential to the rolemind, many sites like OpenSecrets.org made in the precise image of that outside actors have in helpingnow feature APIs, or Application FedSpending.org. Even government live up to its digitalProgramming Interfaces, which allow FedSpending.org’s carefully crafted potential: while federal informationother sites to repurpose the underlying API carried over to the federal site, a policy can be hard to affect from thedata. In this way, for example, the clear example of the federal outside, the individuals who are mostCenter’s campaign finance data (a government following the example of a intimately familiar with any system arecleaned-up version of Federal Election non-government organization. often the biggest champions for itsCommission data) has been integrated reform. In this way, just as Sunlight’s Legislative information is beinginto other sites, like Congresspedia or work has set a powerful standard for similarly reprocessed from outsideMAPLight.org. how government should approach its Congress. Legislative documents technology, we also hope to empowerCongresspedia is a citizens wiki on follow a complex path to most citizens’ the mechanics of digital democracy:Congress, featuring comprehensive computer screens. After being drafted, new-media staffers, Webmasters,details on all things congressional, and they go to closed congressional CIOs, systems administrators, andnow featuring campaign finance data databases, then the Library of even the occasional member ofgenerated from the Center’s Congress to be posted publicly, and Congress or agency head.databases. In a similar reuse of data, then to GovTrack.us, the primary publicMAPLight.org combines campaign hub for legislative data. GovTrack.us The better America’s visions ofcontributions with vote tallies, was created by its sole proprietor, accountability, transparency, anduncovering suggestive patterns, where University of Pennsylvania student interactivity are connected to thespikes in political giving often precede JoshTauberer, to produce more user- policy-makers, journalists, and theimportant legislation by only a few friendly legislative information. Many democracy practitioners, the betterdays. other sites, including Obama’s vision of openness can be OpenCongress.org, reuse GovTrack’s realized. IThe impact of nonprofit innovation can data to present a fuller view ofbe seen even more clearly through the Congress. OpenCongress.org, another John Wonderlich is the Program Director forexample of FedSpending.org. With Sunlight grantee, has created a rich the Sunlight Foundation, a D.C. based non-support from a Sunlight grant, OMB social layer on top of congressional partisan, non-profit transparency advocacyWatch created the FedSpending.org organization. For additional information, information, allowing users to track,website, offering searchable access to contact johnwonderlich@gmail.com or at share, and comment on bills online,all federal grants and contracts.The 202/742-1520. adding rich explanatory content to theexample set by OMB Watch was so usually inscrutable information.strong that it helped lead to the30
  • The Collaborative GovernmentBeyond Transparency in GovernmentBy Jennifer L. DornPresident and CEONational Academy of Public Administration s Supreme Court Justice collaboration that we have never seen participatory, and collaborative.” AndA Potter Stewart said of pornography, most of us knowgovernment transparency when we before. Traditionally, government agencies have operated in silos – separated not only from citizens, but now, the real work begins. A Good Startsee it: timely, accurate, and reliable from each other, as well.information made available to the Nevertheless, some have begun to Hitting the President’s trifecta ofpublic. And we understand why reach across and outside of good government may be easier saidtransparency is important: it is the government to access the collective than done – but it won’t be becausebasis for accountability and guards brainpower of organizations, technology is standing in the way.against the three bureaucratic evils of stakeholders and individuals. A little more than a year ago, thewaste, fraud and abuse. National Academy of Public On his first full day in office,Increasingly, however, government President Obama put government on Administration launched theleaders recognize that solving the notice that this new, more Collaboration Project. Thiscomplex problems facing America collaborative model can no longer be independent consortium oftoday will require more than simply confined to the efforts of early government leaders comes togetherkeeping citizens informed. Meeting adopters. He called upon every on-line (www.collaborationproject.org)challenges like rising health care executive department and agency to and in-person to share ideas,costs, climate change and energy “harness new technology” and make examples and insights aboutindependence will require a level of government “transparent, leveraging web 2.0 and collaborative Continued on next page... 31
  • technology to solve governments What’s Stopping Us Now? media, where documents evolvecomplex problems. collaboratively online. How many There are two fundamental versions of a single page of aIn addition, as part of the challenges that stand in the path of government wiki must be preservedCollaboration Project, the National rapid progress toward collaborative for potential FOIA disclosure?Academy has collected, posted and government: culture and policy. Similarly, when and how must instantbegun to analyze more than 50 The President’s call for a new era of message (IM) exchanges beexamples of innovative uses of transparency and collaboration will, preserved and be subject to FOIA orcollaborative technology in federal, without question, begin to break down other record-keeping and disclosurestate and local government. These the cultural barriers inside requirements? It has been reportedcase studies range from powerful government that have impeded that the Obama White House hasmashups of satellite imagery and progress. As desirable as it may barred the use of IM, becausegovernment databases, to relatively sound, our expectation that attorneys believe the Presidentialsimple forays on popular social government agencies should act as Records Act would apply, requiringnetworking sites. stewards over the use and preservation and public disclosureThe Alabama Department of dissemination of the data they collect five years after the president leavesHomeland Security, for example, often stands in the way of office.convinced local government and non- transparency and collaboration. Another layer of complexity is addedgovernmental stakeholders Changing this “ownership and when government agencies, like thethroughout the state to overlay data control” culture in government will not Library of Congress, want to create athat they “owned” on a be a small task, especially as we presence on free third party sites likecomprehensive online database of reaffirm our commitment to Flickr, YouTube and Second Life. Cansatellite imagery. The resulting accountability. Government agencies federal agencies simply sign up, or isapplication, known as Virtual must provide information in a format this transaction subject to federalAlabama, is a visualization tool that that allows people to engage with procurement regulations? Can theyuses an enterprise version of Google data, make their own discoveries, and “click the box” and agree to terms andEarth, customized to show the state’s tell others what they have learned. conditions that bind them to state law,most critical data overlaid on maps. “Transparency” can no longer mean despite the Supremacy Clause in theWith the click of a mouse, first simply publishing information in a U.S. Constitution?responders and emergency responseplanners can use Virtual Alabama to static format. Key to making progress,view three-dimensional models of however, will be a common The Promise ofschools, bridges and critical understanding of when and what data Generational Changeinfrastructure, overlaid on satellite must be protected by government, and what data should be considered a Having entered government in theimagery and showing the locations of wake of Watergate, my generation offire hydrants, gas pipelines, national asset, free to be mined by anyone for any reason. public servants strongly believed andhazardous chemicals, and other still believes that government shouldcritical information. A related but potentially more work for the people. But we didn’tAt the other end of the spectrum, the daunting obstacle is the vast number really understand that we also neededU.S. Library of Congress has tapped of laws and official policies that to work with the people.into the “wisdom of the crowd” restrict government’s ability to take full advantage of new technologies Today, government is quicklythrough a publicly available photo- transitioning to a new generation ofsharing website, posting thousands of and opportunities for collaboration. Working with Collaboration Project managers and leaders, for whomphotos and inviting the public to online collaboration is not a newprovide information, tags and members, Fellows and staff of the National Academy have begun to frontier but a fact of everyday life. Wedescriptions. While extending the owe it to them—and the citizens wereach of its collection to millions document the myriad official “obstacles” that stand in the way. To serve—to recognize and embraceacross the nation and around the transparency, participation andglobe, the Library has also been able be fair, most were enacted or adopted long before the era of web 2.0 and collaboration as essential to goodto significantly enrich its photo government in the 21st Century. Icollection without undertaking costly could not anticipate its potential useand time-consuming staff research. It in the work of government. They are,now loads an additional 50 photos nonetheless, real and numerous. Jennifer Dorn is President and CEO of the National Academy of Publiceach Friday and averages about half a For example, the Freedom of Administration. For additional informationmillion views each month. Information Act (FOIA) did not contact jdorn@napawash.org. anticipate the emergence of iterative32
  • Get Ready for Wiki-GovernmentBy Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais resident Barack Obama’s fundamentally reshape how on how best to “reinvent government”P remarkable showing among millennials (voters 18-26 yearsold), who supported him by a more government policy is made and how it is administered. Millennials constantly interact with each other using social to a debate on how to invent new ways of exercising our democratic governance ideals.than 2:1 margin, was a direct byproduct networks. They tend to make decisions Given millennials’ values andof his groundbreaking effort to utilize based on consensus, with leadership behaviors and the technologies theyonline communication tools to focused on forming and shaping that love, the thrust of efforts by the Obamamobilize those core supporters. Now consensus. Since they have learned to administration to reshape governancethe Obama administration has an search for the answer to every in the United States will involve theopportunity to utilize similarly question on the Internet, they tend not creation of open structures attemptingsophisticated Web 2.0 technologies to to believe in the authority of a few elite to maximize the number whomake America’s governing processes experts. Instead, they place their faith participate in policy-making.more transparent, thereby increasing in the wisdom that comes from the Dispersed participatory structures,the trust of all generations in the combined opinions of all their friends, such as Google or Wikipedia, arefederal government. or, by extension, the members of a brands millennials think of when asked network. These characteristics ofThe beliefs and behaviors of the to name information sources they America’s newest “civic” generationmillennial generation will trust. It is from these models that will shift the debate of the last decade Continued on next page... 33
  • millennials will draw their inspiration legislator Steve Urquhart as a place Despite its “bleeding edge” character,for reshaping America’s governing “where Utahans could debate issues Politicopia.com was warmly receivedprocesses. coming before the legislature.” It was by the legislature. “It moved the used to influence the policy decisions needle…it helped improve theWhile Wikipedia’s open structure, in that state’s 2007 legislative session. dialogue. I think that’s what a lot of uscomplete transparency and user Technologically, Politicopia operated are yearning for in politics these days,”participation has made it a favorite in a very “millennialist” manner, being is how founder Urquhart summed upsite for millennials, many more “based on a user-controlled wiki the experience. His legislativetraditional opinion-makers abhor the system that allows anyone to join the colleague, Steve Sandstrom, agreed. “Inotion of “decision-making by crowds” discussion. Unlike activist groups such think we’re on the verge of somethingthat the site represents. But the rapid as MoveOn.org, it does not push an new…it was intelligent, thoughtful andevolution of online politics engineered agenda other than open discussion.” produced a consensus. It was prettyby the Obama campaign provides an neat.” The result put Utah “at theinherent antidote to the problem of Andrew Rasiej, founder of the vanguard of the future of Americanunfettered aggregation and lowest- Personal Democracy Forum and a politics in the twenty-first century,”common-denominator outcomes strong advocate for more openness in While Wikipedia’s open structure, complete transparency and user participation has made it a favorite site for Millennials, many more traditional opinion-makers abhor the notion of “decision-making by crowds” that the site represents.mentioned by many critics of government, points out an important according to Rasiej, “where town halls,Wikipedia. As one of the more famous difference between chat rooms and policy debates and civic involvementcritics, Jaron Lanier, who coined the political wikis. “Politicopia is more of a will happen on wikis, blogs, video-term “virtual reality” in the 1980s, said, repository of ideas and discussions sharing and social networking sites.”“The ecology of social media is where issues can be debated and Given the technological sophisticationbalanced by the presence of other information can be added over time.” of the Obama administration and itsapplications such as blogs and social Voters leave behind “both a record and desire to inject a greater degree ofnetworking where individuality and an aggregation of voices to define an innovation in the government’scooperation are alive and well.... By issue.” Urquhart underlined the key to fundamental processes, the spread ofusing a mix of social media, the site’s success: “It only works if it’s wiki-government from this statecommunities can benefit both from the a broad pool of people, not just techies legislative pilot to the federalwisdom of crowds and the wisdom of or one party or another.... It has to be executive branch is inevitable.individuals.” By celebrating the use of bottom up. The people have to have theblogs and social networks in his tools and ability to set the agenda.” Having become engaged inadministration as much as he did in unprecedented numbers in his The political impact of the site did notthe campaign, President Obama can election, Americans, especially break down along traditionalensure the success of a wiki- millennials, want to continue to conservative/liberal lines. The onlinegovernment approach to governance. participate in President Obama’s debate moved the chamber in a administration. Wiki-government is theThe first steps in the use of technology conservative direction when it perfect vehicle to satisfy that desire. Ito enable increased citizen convinced several key legislators toinvolvement in policy-making, while vote for the adoption of a schoolpreserving the constitutional role of voucher program that passed by only Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais arerepresentative legislative bodies, were one vote. But it also pushed the co-authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future oftaken in the conservative, but tech- legislature toward a liberal decision by American Politics. Winograd was Directorsavvy, state of Utah almost two years rejecting a proposal to have Utah of the National Partnership for Reinventingago. Politicopia.com, a “virtual town directly challenge the Roe v. Wade Government from 1997-2001.square” was founded by Utah state abortion ruling.34
  • Building the Digital Public SquareBy Vivek KundraUnited States Chief Information Officer n ancient Athens—the model for technological advances now allow data on every aspect of governmentI the democracy envisioned by the framers of our Constitution --citizens met, face to face, in the people from around the world unfettered access to their government. Through these advances, operations, from government contracts to crime statistics to economic development. We haveagora—the public square—to conduct constituents can hold their organized these data into convenientbusiness, debate civic issues, and government accountable from the catalogs and live data feeds anddrive the decisions of government. privacy of their own homes. The made them available to the generalGone are the days of daily meetings District of Columbia is bringing public at http://data.octo.d.c..gov.at the agora. Today, citizens know people closer to government through Visitors to the site can findgovernment as red tape, long lines, collaborative technologies like wikis, information on crime incidents byand cold, distant bureaucracies. The data feeds, videos and dashboards. date, time of day, ward, block, orreins of government have slipped We’re throwing open D.C.’s method; details on constructionfrom “we the people” to inaccessible warehouse of public data so that projects by location, type ofgovernment officials. everyone—constituents, construction, budget, completion date policymakers, and businesses—can or status; data on registered vacantThe District of Columbia, however, is meet in a new digital public square. properties by ward, address, owner orat the forefront of a new era of tax assessment; or information ongovernance, one in which The District maintains vast stores of Continued on next page... 35
  • businesses, such as the locations of requests, community meetings, and Facebook alone, founded just fourDistrict establishments that hold more. A private entrepreneur has years ago, now has over 60 millionliquor licenses. Mapping technology assembled law enforcement data from active users, and YouTube, a yearalso allows users to view data the District and across the country younger, hosted 3 billion video viewsgeographically with a single click. into an online database, called in a single month this year. WeUsing an ordinary Web browser, “CrimeReports.” Visitors can get responded to these newanyone in the world can access this crime data and maps by address, zip communications trends by expandinginformation. code, and type of crime and sign up D.C. Government’s presence on for personalized crime alerts. Facebook and posting job listings andWhen we first opened the doors to bid solicitations on YouTube under thegovernment data, people were quick These are truly grassroots ventures. “D.C. Government” channel.to respond. Individuals and The democratization of government Leveraging consumer technology inorganizations are not only viewing our data has revealed an enormous this way allows us to reach widergovernment data, but are actually appetite for civic participation. We are audiences at no cost to taxpayers.improving upon our work by analyzing ushering in a new age of participatory The digital public square is now at the heart of our efforts to make government services more effective, accessible, and transparent. By ensuring that every citizen has a front row seat in the digital public square, we’ll continue to return government into the hands of “we, the people.”and repurposing the information in democracy, one in which citizens are Until now, government has largelyuseful ways. One innovative D.C. in the driver’s seat when they interact been absent in the trend towardsresident took it upon herself to gather with government. Accessibility has worldwide exchange of informationpublicly-available government data on never been greater, and this is just the and services. Starting here in theservice requests, crimes, and building beginning. In the past year, the District, we hope to demonstrate thatand public space permits to create a District of Columbia published over government, too, can and must stepWeb-based informational 200 data feeds. During the coming fully into the digital arena. That is whyclearinghouse site that informs year, we expect to double that. the digital public square is now at thesoutheastern D.C. residents about heart of our efforts to make Today, building the digital publiclocal real estate development and the government services more effective, square is not just appealing, it isquality of government services. With a accessible, and transparent. By imperative for every government,$1.1 million grant from the Knight ensuring that every citizen has a front whether municipal, state, or national.Foundation, a group of veteran Web row seat in the digital public square, We live in the information age. Nearlyjournalists has transformed local we’ll continue to return government 1.5 billion people have access to thegovernment data into an online into the hands of “we, the people.” I Internet—and they are using it incommunity news forum at every way. There is a worldwide digitalEveryblock.com for the District and Vivek Kundra is the former Chief market for goods and services. Forfor 10 other U.S. cities. Here, visitors Technology Officer for the District of example, Amazon.com, founded justcan plug in their zip code and find and Columbia. He has been appointed the over a decade ago, now handles about nation’s first Chief Information Officer. Forexchange information about 56 million transactions a year, and additional information contacteverything of interest in their Ebay, founded at about the same time, Rosalyn.McKine@dc.gov.neighborhoods—local businesses and now has over 275 million registeredreviews, real estate listings, crimes, users. There is a growing number ofroad construction, city service global social and artistic networks.36
  • Open Government Serves CitizensBy Maryantonett FlumianOttawa University he confluence of technology, outcomes. Information fuels is to use Web 2.0’s tools to answerT demographic, social and economic forces is about toforce huge change in the way collaboration on the way to achieving a goal. The “citizen-collaborator” becomes an more creatively the question of “who does what”. Public services no longer need to be provided by governmentgovernment does business. The new alone; any combination of public active consumer or “prosumer” offunction-rich infrastructure of Web 2.0, agencies, the private sector, a policy, programs and service,the emergence of social media and the community group, or citizens can identifying needs and helping to shapedesire for greater participation on the provide them, using the Web to their fulfillment. The technology andpart of citizens is fundamentally collaborate, innovate and engage. tools become a means of finding betterredesigning how government operates, ways to integrate and balance the What follows are a few ideas forwhat public services are provided and individual’s preferences with his or her getting started on the journey towardsby whom, and how governments community’s needs and resources. open government.interact and engage their citizens. Prosumerism dramatically improves Unleash data. A growing chorus ofTraditionally, governments design the responsiveness of public systems observers (both inside and outsideservices and roll them out to citizens and keeps everyone involved--from government) believe government’s firstwho are expected to comply with the officials, to stakeholders to citizens-- Public services no longer need to be provided by government alone; any combination of public agencies, the private sector, a community group, or citizens can provide them, using the Web to collaborate, innovate and engage.terms and conditions of policy and focused on setting and achieving priority in a Web 2.0 world should be toprograms. Typically, the service is the goals together. make its data available on the Net insame for everyone. It is always linear. This model is highly collaborative and ways that are open, standards-Outputs are the metrics for the model: demonstrates the changing role of compliant, and re-usable by thirdhow many cheques got in the mail, how government and the changing parties--whether they’re individualmany people got back to work, how responsibilities of citizens. It also citizens or commercial or non-profitmany calls got answered. Compliance understands that collaborative organizations. The assumption is thatwith the design’s rules and regulations partnerships can include members third parties, less constrained by rigidis paramount, especially in outside of governmental boundaries. internal bureaucracies and stricttransactional services. Organizational structure continues to accountabilities, will innovate aroundThe new model is not a mass- exist but barely matters in the the data far more quickly and freelyproduction machine. Instead, in a more achievement of outcomes. All the than government can. Bothholistic fashion, policy and service are necessary information, talent, and government and non-governmentdirectly connected to outcomes. knowledge are simply there, with a few entities stand to benefit as aEnabled by powerful information keywords and a click on “search”. combination of Web 2.0 technologiessystems and ongoing interactions that (including XML, RSS feeds, and data While Government 2.0 is still in itshelp build a profound understanding of visualization tools) makes government infancy, and while there are stillneeds, providers and users collaborate data available in attractive, bold concrete innovations to draw on, ain creating services together. They use graphic forms that anyone can number of Web 2.0 conceptsthe “information ecosystem” created understand and debate. Agencies can popularized in other sectors can helpby Web 2.0 technologies to re-calibrate employ these technologies internally, form a hypothesis on how they mightthe relationship between providers to improve interagency cooperation, work. Perhaps the greatest opportunityand users and the evidence of reduce redundant activities, identify Continued on next page... 37
  • potential synergies between programs, (www.dellideastorm.com) looks and that governments are keeping paceempower larger portions of their feels a lot like Digg.com, the popular with innovative uses of technology. Theworkforces, and reduce operating technology news aggregator. Users official tourism foundation of Tuscany,costs. Having learned how to alter post suggestions and the community is one of the first public-sectorpolicy-making and evaluation votes; the most popular ideas rise to organizations to exploit Second Life asprocesses based on these new the top. The user-driven idea-filtering a medium for tourism-relatedsources of information and insight, process eases the burden on company marketing and services. Its Toscanathey can then invite the public to use resources by harnessing “the crowd” Island lets Second Life visitors tourthe tools, with comparable benefits. to sift through mountains of feedback. the Tower of Pisa, the Ponte Vecchio“Emergent behavior” can lead to new Less than a week after IdeaStorm’s and the Duomo in Florence, with audioinsights, innovations and strategies launch, users had contributed over commentary available. At the U.S.that even the smartest individuals 1,300 ideas that were voted on more Centers for Disease Control andcouldn’t produce in isolation. than 120,000 times. Dell has already Prevention Island, users can watch translated many of the ideas videos and pod.c.asts and use a slateEmbrace open standards and Web contributed by Dell customers into of interactive and innovative tools toservices. Leading governments are product and service innovations. review educational information. Theemulating their private sector U.S. National Library of Medicine hascounterparts and embracing the new Leverage new channels for established Health Info Island with astandards, capabilities and feedback. New Web-based tools that medical library and virtual hospitalarchitectures of Web services. Most improve the ability of organizations to facility. It will eventually offer training,important, there’s a change in mindset gather and analyze feedback from their outreach, consumer health resourcesfrom thinking about enterprise customers are emerging to support and one-on-one support on Secondapplications only, to building an continuous innovation and Life to bring public health informationEnterprise Service Architecture (ESA) improvement. In many cases, third and interventions to consumers where,founded on Web services, the new parties in the non-profit sector are when and how they need them.paradigm in software. Here, a single running excellent customer feedbackservice platform enables and drives all sites, suggesting that in some cases Reaching the next frontier of serviceapplications so that internal or governments could readily tap into means opening up governmentexternal users can access important existing online communities rather officials, stakeholders and citizens toservices regardless of channel. Web than build their own. Initiatives such collaboration. Technology and toolsservices and an ESA reduce as www.fixmystreet.org in the U.K. enable productive dialogue. The arrayintegration costs and dramatically enable residents to submit concerns of tools--from blogs, to socialspeed application development, about safety, vandalism or other local networks, to wikis and beyond--willcreating much more open, powerful issues directly to their municipal continue to evolve in theirand adaptable IT environments. With council. The site features a tracking sophistication and application. Theyan Enterprise Service Architecture, mechanism that indicates whether provide platforms for the collaborationgovernments have Net-based, local concerns (such as a pothole- that reshapes government and helps tostandards-oriented, flexible software riddled road) have been addressed by open it up to its citizens.environments that can encompass the relevant authorities. Using the site, The single biggest driver towardsinformation in structured and British residents play a more active these horizons is leadership. As we’veunstructured form, as well as in role in increasing public welfare, while seen, political leadership andmultivendor systems. This, in turn, helping local government officials executive leadership are critical. Andprovides the foundation for delivering identify issues in their jurisdiction. In citizens are pushing us all. Ihigh-quality services--such as the health care arena, the independenteducation, health, and security--as an UK-based www.patientopinion.orgintegrated ecosystem of providers allows patients to rate different Maryantonett Flumian was the first head of(perhaps blending public and private hospitals and provide feedback on Service Canada, the Canadian Government’s agency for providing secure,services), not as a collection of their experiences. one-stop, personalized services to citizens.hundreds of departments with Maryantonett Flumian is an Associate Open a virtual service desk.Theincompatible systems. Professor at the University of Ottawa number of citizens participating in Graduate School in Public and InternationalCreate an Ideastorm. Governments virtual worlds such as Second Life Affairs. For additional informationcan harness the power of presumption may be low, but it is not too early to contact Maryantonett.Flumian@uottawa.caby asking customers how to improve experiment with virtual service desksservice quality. Dell Computer’s in the medium. A number of agenciesIdeaStorm provides a useful template have already done so, citing thefor government agencies. Launched in relatively low costs, the ability to reach2007, IdeaStorm young people and the desire to prove38
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  • U.S. General Services AdministrationOffice of Citizen Services andCommunicationsIntergovernmental Solutions DivisionOfficial BusinessPenalty for Private Use, $300