Politicians are not normally known for their technical prowess, but US Congressman Mike Honda is bucking the trend and firmly believes that Web2.0 technologies can transform the relationship between citizens and government.
He recently called for new legislation to make all non-personal data publicly available; including information held by the police, health services, social services and government departments. Ultimately, government officials would be required to provide open access to all data unless they can justify why it should not be freely available to the taxpayers who paid for its creation. He states:
In our web 2.0 world, we can empower the public by providing them with raw data that they can remix and reuse in new and innovative ways. With these tools, the public can collaborate on projects that can help legislators to create better policies to address the pressing challenges facing our nation.
Honda presumes that if someone has asked for public information, they should be given what they want: it is probably a sign that they understand the value of the data when perhaps the Government officials do not.
Honda regards Government 2.0 to be an achievable goal and has started with a comprehensive redesign of his website. His primary objective is to develop new ways of collaborating with constituents and he is soliciting ideas from the web development community using social networking tools. The most innovative ideas will be shared amongst all Members of Congress.
Your suggestions can be proposed using:
- a web survey form (view previous submissions), or
- tagging twitter entries with the tag “#honda2.0″ (view previous tweets)
The full announcement can be viewed at O’Reilly’s Radar and The Hill’s Congress Blog.
Do you have a revolutionary idea that could improve Government communication and data accessibility? What technologies would you recommend? Do you consider this to be the beginning of a more open and accountable administration?