The Internet offers new opportunities to involve the public in regulatory rulemaking, including industry, media, nonprofits and citizens. A new social layer for the Web has shifted what’s possible in open government forward again, both hosting and enabling conversations. Below, one of those conversations is captured using the social media curation tool, Storify.
It’s a tale of two parties, two social networks, live events and high stakes: creating jobs in an American economy still struggling to come out of recession. Would the American Jobs Act, introduced by President Obama earlier this month, make a difference? Can the White House or Congress do anything to create jobs, aside from directly hiring more government workers for infrastructure projects or similar initiatives? The American people will have the opportunity to hear from both sides of the aisle today and judge themselves, starting at 2 PM EST when the president will participate in a town hall hosted at LinkedIn in California.
UPDATE: Archived video from President Obama’s LinkedIn townhall is embedded below:
Notably, there will still be a live chat on Facebook at a LinkedIn townhall, along with a public “backchannel” at the #meetopportunity hashtag on Twitter.
This is the second time that the White House experiments with LinkedIn for questions, following a forum earlier this year with tech CEOs and federal CTO Aneesh Chopra. The questions are pulled from a “putting America back to work forum on LinkedIn.com. As I’ve observed before, the platform isn’t ideal for ideation and moderation of questions but LinkedIn is unquestionably targeted towards employment.
Personally, I’d like to see CEO Jeff Weiner crunch the big data the social network has collected about job openings and the skills and degrees that high school and college grads currently have. Programs and policies oriented towards matching the two would be an interesting direction.
UPDATE: Here are the questions that were asked:
- What can we do as American citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy?
- What can you do for senior citizens looking for a job, and what’s going to happen to Social security and Medicare?
- What are you going to do to lessen the regulations and taxation on small businesses?
- What programs do you think should be in place for individuals to learn new job skills, be in demand, marketable and eventually get hired?
- How do you envision the government’s role in integrating networking tools that aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs?
- “Thank you, Mr. President. I don’t have a job, but that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small startup down the street here that did quite well. So I’m unemployed by choice. My question is would you please raise my taxes?” ?
- First, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? And second, what, if any, overhaul in education is necessary to get Americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago?
- What would you be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today?
UPDATE: Below is a “storified” tweetstream from the event:
House GOP Leaders discuss technology, transparency and jobs
At 6 PM EST, the leaders of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives will also host an online townhall, though they’ll be doing it on Facebook Live. The event will feature House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will moderate.
Prior to today’s event, the House GOP leaders participated in a discussion about the role social media and technology now plays in government with Politico’s senior White House correspondent, Mike Allen. Video is below:
In the interview, the House GOP’s “Young Guns” spoke at length about the role that new social and mobile technology plays in the work of Congress and government, touching upon many subjects that will be of interest to the open government community.
Such interest is hardly new — the new GOP majority came into the House with promises to embrace innovation and transparency— but given the importance of open government, it’s a useful reminder that open government is a bipartisan issue.
If you have thoughts or comments on either of the town halls or the discussion above, please share them in the comments.
UPDATE: The archived video of this congressional “Facehall” is embedded below:
UPDATE: A Storify of my own tweets during the event is embedded below:
File under “awesome” on a busy morning: receiving an email from the United States Army with a classification “UNCLASSIFIED” and caveats: NONE. Brittany Brown, social media manager for the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, writes in to share the news that the @USArmy has released a revised social media handbook:
As a follow up to your Jan. 20 article entitled “Department of Defense: access to Internet-based capabilities is critical, despite risks,”, I am happy to announce that we just released a second edition of the U.S. Army Handbook.
The new edition of the U.S. Army Social Media Handbook includes an expanded operations security (OPSEC) section, a section about blogging and Army Strong Stories and a section discussing how to manage fake Facebook pages and social media imposters. In addition to the new sections, we’ve also included a quick reference guide for both Facebook and Twitter and a 10-page social media glossary.
The Army’s handbook has much in common with the US Navy social media handbook, although there’s no handy tagline for me to add on like “loose tweets sink fleets.” Both guides offer common sense advice that’s clearly worth repeating: don’t post geolocated updates about your unit’s movements or other information that could be of use to enemy combatants or criminals.
What Brown highlights out regarding guidance on imposter accounts, however, is significant. According to the guide, “the practice of impersonating soldiers for financial gain is significant.” The same phishing activity that targets the rest of the users on social networks is a problem for the military as well. Beyond that, there’s every reason to believe that impersonations are also a vector for gathering information that can be used to spear phish more sensitive intelligence. Caveat tweeter.
A 3D map of the earthquake from DC-based DevelopmentSeed, embedded below, visualizes the intensity of the tremblor.
Thankfully, today’s earthquake does not appear to have caused any deaths nor collapsed buildings or bridges, although the National Cathedral sustained what officials call “substantial earthquake damage.” Longer term earthquake damage in DC will take time to assess. Eric Wemple has a comprehensive assessment of earthquake coverage that includes links to more logistical details and assessments, if you’re interested.
A reminder to prepare
He also highlighted a critical resource for an increasingly mobile citizenry, m.fema.gov/earthquake, and hurricanes.gov, which will be an important source of information as Hurricane Irene moves up the coast.
Additionally, Govfresh founder Luke Fretwell compiled an excellent short federal government primer to earthquake preparedness that’s full of more resources, including what to do before, during and after an earthquake
Key earthquake information can be found at Ready.gov and the FEMA, USGS and Centers for Disease Control Websites. USGS also provides a seven-step Protecting Your Family From Earthquakes safety guide (embed below).
Remember, prepare, plan and stay informed.
Social media fills a fault
While both DC residents and people across the United States took the opportunity to joke about the quake using Twitter, a more sobering reality emerged as residents found themselves unable to make phone calls over overloaded cellphone networks: social networks offered an important alternate channel to connect with friends, family and coworkers. In the context of overloaded networks, the Department of Homeland Security offered earthquake advice: don’t call. In fact, DHS urged urged citizens to use social media to contact one another. The White House amplified that message:
Citizens didn’t need much urging to turn to social networks after the quake. According to
Facebook hosts conversation with Red Cross on social media in emergencies
The day after the earthquake, in what turns out to be an unusually good scheduling choice, Facebook DC is hosting a conversation with the Red Cross on the use of social media in emergencies. As a new infographic from the Red Cross, embedded below, makes clear, the importance of emergency social data has grown over the past year.
According to a new national survey:
- The Internet is now the third most popular way for people to gather emergency information, after television and local radio
- Nearly a fourth of the online population would use social media to let family and friends know they are safe.
- 80% of the general public surveyed believe emergency response organizations should monitor social media.
- About one third of those polled via telephone said they would expect help to arrive within an hour.
The event will be livestreamed on Facebook DC’s page at 3 PM EDT, if you’re online and free to tune in.
Lock Haven University professor Rey Junco has published new findings that time spent on on Facebook is positively related to involvement in campus activities.
In an upcoming paper on Facebook engagement, Junco shares the results of research relating Facebook usage and activities to outcomes.
Using hierarchical linear regression (N = 2,368) with gender, ethnicity, and parental education level as control variables, I found that time spent on Facebook was a significant positive predictor of time spent in campus activities.
Although time spent on Facebook was a significant positive predictor, it wasn’t the strongest predictor of time spent in campus activities. In fact, it was the weakest predictor. The strongest positive predictors, in order of strength (with strongest first), were:
1. Creating or RSVPing to events on Facebook
3. Viewing Photos
4. Average time spent on Facebook per day
There were also negative predictors of time spent in campus activities. In order of strength, they were:
1. Posting photos
2. Checking up on friends (or what students call “stalking,” “creeping,” or “lurking”)
3. Playing games on Facebook
It’s an interesting data point, although it’s just part of a larger body of work that’s giving us insight into how our our offline lives are connected to our online lives. The new research does provide a specific example of how the Internet as a platform for collective action could be extended to local government by citizens that are active on social networks, in terms of awareness of town halls, public hearings on notices or, this time of year, ice cream socials.
The pitch for the hackathon includes a “green from the beginning” detail that may catch the eye of sustainable energy advocates:
The hack-a-thon will be located in the spacious new Graduate Research Center adjoining the School of International Service building, which is itself a certified LEED Gold marvel of green technology innovation. With a sustainable design and “cradle-to cradle” philosophy for recycling and reusing building materials, participants will even power their devices with solar and wind offset power so their Apps for the Environment will be green from the first idea until the last line of code.
Come one, come all
The hackathon’s organizers emphasize that this event isn’t just about the District’s local civic coders: “Whether you’re a student at any school in computer science, journalism, a professional in the field, or just have an idea to share (which you can post here http://blog.epa.gov/data/i
American University journalism professor David Johnson left a comment on the event page that expands that idea:
…even if you can’t code, you can have ideas. even if you don’t have ideas, you can help spread the word. even if you can’t come to DC or AU, you can join us on twitter, ustream, IRC, GitHub, and other online hangouts… we’ll be all over it. everyone can be a part of this. spread the word to campuses and dev shops. come hack with us.
Open data webinar
Last week, I moderated an EPA webinar on open data and the Apps for the Environment challenge from the D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
If you’d like to learn more about Apps for the Environment (and hear a robust conversation about open data and apps contests!) watch the webinar and presentation embedded below.
If you would like to participate in the AU hackathon, you can put your civic surplus to work from 9 AM to 6 PM at the location below:
In 2011, it might feel a little late for federal agencies to be issuing social media policies. How governments use social media has shifted from a niche concern, debated by new media and policy wonks, to an issue that makes international headlines when global leaders alternately decry or celebrate the impact of connection technologies upon their countries.
As anyone who has worked in a federal bureaucracy will tell you, squaring usage policies with rules, regulations and laws is a fundamental need if there’s going to be any progress towards 21st century governance.
“One of the biggest, long-standing complaints about VA is how it’s an opaque, monolithic bureaucracy that doesn’t respond to the needs of vets,” writes Brandon Friedman (@BrandonF), director of online communications for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in an email today. “We’re finally putting a human face on it. Everything we post on our blog or our main Facebook page or Twitter feed has a name attached to it. This shows even the largest, slow-moving federal agencies can make progress in becoming more agile and responsive.”
There’s also a matter of default for usage of these tools: open, versus closed. Consider that the emphasis below is the VA’s:
The use of Web-based collaboration tools such as social media tools is highly encouraged. Web-based collaboration is intended for information sharing within and outside of VA. To increase accountability, promote informed participation by the public, and create economic opportunity, the presumption shall be in favor of openness (to the extent permitted by law and subject to the exclusions noted in this Directive or other policy)
The entire policy, which has to be considered progressive for an organization with military DNA, is embedded below or available as a PDF. Given the stance that other federal agencies have taken recently on social media usage, this policy is not a watershed but is extremely important to over 300,000 VA employees and the millions veterans they serve. If access to Internet-based capabilities is critical at the Department of Defense, similar access for veterans is important.
Today’s announcement also serves as a reminder that the VA has come a long way in a short time, particularly in the context of an enormous government institution. “Less than two years ago, VA’s primary method of engagement with the public consisted of telephone calls and the USPS,” wrote Friedman. “Today, hundreds of thousands of veterans can get help navigating the bureaucracy via social media. We can also make a direct difference in peoples’ lives. One example I use concerns suicidal ideation on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve actually intervened in at least half a dozen instances where veterans have talked about killing themselves. We’ve been able to jump in and link them up with assistance. As we always say here, it’s about leveraging new technology to get the right information to the right veteran at the right time. For so long, many veterans have lost out on the benefits to which they’re entitled because they weren’t even aware of them—or they didn’t want to deal with a complex bureaucracy. Social media allows us to get them the information and to help ease the transition from the military into the VA system.”
It’s an important shift. Next up? Work to leverage technology better to reduce the backlog in veterans’ benefit applications and help vets who have returned from service abroad get back to work in a down economy.
Getting social with security and privacy
Embedded in this policy is are security and privacy provisions that instruct to the deputy assistant secretary for information security to issue an information protection policy, do a risk assessment, provide patching, training and a “Trusted Internet Connection” for the desktop images of VA users.
There is also instruction for the director of the VA privacy service to address policy concerns and to public affairs, granting “the authority to disapprove any outward-facing content on official VA blogs and social media sites which do not meet accepted standards of quality,” along with audits to ensure same.
For a deeper dive into what social media means to the military, read this talk on connection technologies and global organizations. It’s by U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Roughead, a title which effectively makes him the “CEO” of that global enterprise. He talked about “burning the boats” as the Navy enters this operational space — an extremely powerful metaphor, given his occupation — but perhaps a fitting one, given that achieving and maintaining situational awareness in a changing information environment has become a strategic capability.
As the VA looks to support the considerable needs of the men and women who have served their country, it looks like social media will be a part of the plumbing that connects them together.
The results of a new survey from the Pew Internet and Life Project will come as no surprise to most: Internet users: search and email top the list of the things people do online. These two activities have been the most popular since Pew first started tracking online behavior over the last decade. The advent of broadband, mobile devices and social media has not changed that dynamic, though it’s a safe bet that adults under 30 are sending quite a lot of Facemail, IMs and tweets these days too.
That said, Pew did identify a difference. “The most significant change over that time is that both activities have become more habitual,” writes Kristen Purcell. “Today, roughly six in ten online adults engage in each of these activities on a typical day; in 2002, 49% of online adults used email each day, while just 29% used a search engine daily.”
Search and email demographics
According to Pew’s numbers, search is most popular among adult internet users aged age 18-29, 96% of whom use search engines to find information online.
There’s also some evidence of a continuing digital divide based upon education and race. According to Pew, online adults, college-educated, and those in the highest income categories are more likely than others to use email.
“These demographic differences are considerably more pronounced when one looks at email use on a typical day,” writes Purcell. “Moreover, while overall email use is comparable across white, African-American and Hispanic online adults, internet use on any given day is not. White online adults are significantly more likely than both African-American and Hispanic online adults to be email users on a typical day (63% v. 48% v. 53%, respectively).”
This new survey and its findings should be read in the context of last year’s report that citizens are turning to Internet for government data, policy and services and considering in the context of the ongoing federal .gov website review.
If open government is to be citizen-centric, it will clearly need to be search-centric. That means ensuring that government websites are available in search and evaluating how search-centric redesigns at Utah.gov perform over time.
These results also suggest that as exciting as the integration of social media into government may be, officials tasked with public engagement and consultation shouldn’t neglect using email to communicate with citizens, along with Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and the other apps available to them. The difference in demographics usage of social media and email, however, does highlight that social media offers an important complementary channel to reach mobile citizens that access the Internet primarily through their mobile phones.
Today, New York City released its strategy to use technology to improve productivity, save money, attract startups and upgrade the services it provides to citizens. That’s a tall order, but then New Yorkers have rarely been know to think small or dream moderately.
“We want New York City to be the nation’s premier digital city – in how local government interacts with New Yorkers, in how New Yorkers have access to and capitalize on new technologies, and in how our tech and digital media sectors evolve, grow businesses and create jobs,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. His office released an official statement digital roadmap at MikeBloomberg.com. “NYC’s #digitalroadmap has 4 goals: access, open government, citizen engagement & expanding NYC’s digital job growth,” tweeted Bloomberg after the announcement.
Nick Judd secured an advance copy of NYC’s road map to the digital city over at techPresident, which I’ve embedded below, and has this analysis of some of the important bytes.
There are no explicit plans in the report for increasing the number of available datasets — such as more detailed city budget data — but do include an “apps wishlist” to streamline the process of requesting more data.
Implementing the recommendations in the report will in large part be the responsibility of city Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post, who is already in the process of pushing internally for updated city IT.
Archived video of today’s announcement by Mayor Bloomberg and NYC chief digital officer Rachel Sterne (which was, appropriately, livestreamed online) is embedded below.
While some media outlets will focus on NYC embracing Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare as digital partners, a notable aspect of today’s news that may fly under the radar may be that NYC.gov will be adding APIs for Open311, its open data mine and other Web efforts. Those are the open government pillars that will support New York City’s effort to architect a city as a platform. For more on how New York City is citizensourcing smarter government, head on over to Radar.
Social media will play a role in the months ahead. When Adam Sharp, Twitter’s government guy, tweeted out the Wall Street Journal above, he highlighted a feature that melds social media with old school mobile technology: the use of “Fast Follow,” a function that goes back to Twitter’s earliest days.
That means that every resident with a phone call can receive updates from the city’s official account. It will be interesting to see if city government advertises that to its residents over the coming months, particularly in areas where Internet penetration rates are lower.
Anil Dash, native New Yorker, blogger and entrepreneur, highlighted something important in the plan that transcended any particular initiative, technology or policy: it captures New York City government thinking about the Web as a public space.
It’s an extraordinary document, and as someone who loves the web, civic engagement, public infrastructure and New York City, it feels like a momentous accomplishment, even though it marks the beginning of a years-long process, not just the end of a months-long one.
But the single biggest lesson I got from the 65-page, 11.8mb PDF is a simple one: The greatest city in the world can take shared public spaces online as seriously as it takes its public spaces in the physical world.
As you’d expect, there’s a press release about the Digital Road Map, but more reassuringly, the document demonstrates the idea of the web as public space throughout, making the idea explicit on page 43:
Maintaining digital ‘public spaces’ such as nyc.gov or 311 Online is equally important as maintaining physical public spaces like Prospect Park or the New York Public Library. Both digital and physical should be welcoming, accessible, cared for, and easy to navigate. Both must provide value to New Yorkers. And for both, regular stewardship and improvements are a necessity.
New York City’s road map for a digital city plan is embedded below. You also can download the digital city roadmap as a PDF.
UPDATE: There are some concerns about what happens next out there in the community. New York City resident and director of the CUNY Mapping Service at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) Steven Romalewski also listened in on the announcement and blogged his concerns about ‘open data fatigue“:
I always worry when I see the city touting its technology efforts without also including local Community Boards, neighborhood groups, business advocates, urban planners, other elected officials, etc. who rely on access to public data so they can hold government accountable and do their jobs better. In my view, these groups need the data moreso than app developers. That is why open data efforts and policies are so important.
But the city seems more focused on apps than on community. I understand the economic development appeal of fostering startups. But the open data movement long predated apps. I highlighted this in my post last year (see the “Misplaced Priorities” section).
Apps are great (I use them constantly, and I’ve even developed one myself). And kudos to the city and its agencies for responding to app developers and making data more open so the developers can do great things with the data (things even the city might not do).
I just hope the latest announcements by the city will result in more real and lasting efforts to make data easier to access than the latest check-in craze. The Mayor already expressed some hesitation to making data accessible when a reporter asked him about CrashStat. CrashStat is a great example of my point — it wasn’t created to be an “app” per se; it’s an effort by a local nonprofit group to use public data to educate the public and hold government agencies more accountable about traffic injuries and fatalities. But the Mayor said he didn’t even know what CrashStat was, while making excuses about not making data available if it’s not in electronic format, or needs to be vetted, or is “sensitive”. Blah blah blah – we’ve heard all that before and it undermines my confidence in the city’s pronouncements that more data will really be made open.
Open government made an appearance in popular culture, albeit not in an admiring sense. At the start of the week, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show mocked the Obama administration and the president for a perceived lack of transparency.
Stewart and many other commentators have understandably wondered why the president’s meeting with open government advocates to receive a transparency award wasn’t on the official schedule or covered by the media. A first hand account of the meeting from open government advocate Danielle Brian offered useful perspective on the issues that arose that go beyond a soundbite or one liner:
Gary, OMB Watch’s executive director, focused on the places where we have seen real change, including the Open Government Directive, the Executive Orders on Classified National Security and Controlled Unclassified Information, emphasis on affirmative disclosures of government information; and the President’s support of reporters’ privilege and shield law, as well as whistleblower protections.
Lucy, executive director for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, pointed out that this was the first president in her 30 years of working in this field who had invited open government advocates into the Oval Office. She specifically thanked him for his strong support of a reporters’ shield law, which he affirmed he continues to support. Tom, executive director for the National Security Archive, emphasized that when it comes to FOIA reform and implementation we know it isn’t just a ship of state, but an entire flotilla including rowboats. And that while there has been notable improvement according to the National Security Archive’s survey of agencies, there continues to need be a need for leadership from the top to change cultures across the vast swath of government agencies. He also noted that we all believe the information we want to see is not simply that which is useful for consumers, but also that which holds the government accountable.
I knew my topic was likely to be sensitive. I began by thanking the President for his strong support of whistleblower protections, and noted that it was not for lack of effort on the part of the White House that the legislation didn’t pass at the end of the last Congress.
I noted, however, that the current aggressive prosecution of national security whistleblowers is undermining this legacy. That we need to create safe channels for disclosure of wrongdoing in national security agencies. That we need to work harder to shrink the amount of over-classified materials that unnecessarily prompt leak prosecutions.
The President shifted in his seat and leaned forward. He said he wanted to engage on this topic because this may be where we have some differences. He said he doesn’t want to protect the people who leak to the media war plans that could impact the troops. He differentiated these leaks from those whistleblowers exposing a contractor getting paid for work they are not performing. I was careful not to interrupt the President, but waited until he was done. I pointed out that few, if any, in our community would disagree with his distinction—but that in reality the current prosecutions are not of those high-level officials who regularly leak to the press to advance their policy agendas. Instead, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is prosecuting exactly the kind of whistleblower he described, for example one from the National Security Agency.
The President then did something that I think was remarkable. He said this is an incredibly difficult area and he wants to work through how to do a better job in handling it. He also agreed that too much information is classified, and asked us to work with his office on this. He wasn’t defensive nor was he dismissive. It was perhaps the dream moment for an advocate—hearing the most senior policymaker agree with you and offer to work together to tackle the problem.
Brian’s account is the most comprehensive account of the meeting on open government online. The irony that it was not recorded and released to the American people is, however, inescapable. For anyone tracking the progress of the Open Government Directive, the last six months have been an up and down experience. It was clear back in September that in the United States, open government remains in beta.
According to doctoral research by University of Texas academic, there are 358 open government projects in federal government. Former White House deputy chief technology officer Beth Noveck wrote about the semantics and the meaning of good government and open government mean in this context. One takeaway: don’t mistake open innovation policies for transparency guarantees.
The current White House deputy CTO for innovation, Chris Vein, wrote on the White House blog this week that the one year anniversary of open government plans were “a testament to hard work” at the agencies. As Vein acknowledged, “while there is always more to be done, we are proud of the important work that agencies have done and are doing to change the culture of government to one that encourages transparency and facilitates innovation. We are committed to maintaining and building upon this momentum to make our Nation stronger and to make the lives of Americans better.”
Naturally, some projects are always going to be judged more as more or less effective in delivering on the mission of government than others. An open government approach to creating a Health Internet may be the most disruptive of them. For those that expected to see rapid, dynamic changes in Washington fueled by technology, however, the bloom has long since come off of the proverbial rose. Open government is looking a lot more like an ultramarathon than a 400 yard dash accomplished over a few years.
That said, something different is going on during what Micah Sifry has aptly called the age of transparency. We’re in new territory here, with respect to the disruption that new connection technologies represent to citizens, society and government. It’s worth taking stock of what’s happened recently. It’s been a while since I first posted a Gov 2.0 Week in Review at Radar, and three months since the 2010 Gov 2.0 year in review.
There’s a lot happening in this space. Following is a quick digest that might provide some perspective to those who might think that open government is a better punchline than policy.
1. The government stayed open. The budget crisis on Capitol Hill overshadowed every other issue this past week. It’s harder for a government to be open if it’s closed. The secrecy of the shutdown negotiations left folks over at the Sunlight Foundation wondering about how open government principles matched up to reality.
2. Proposed deep cuts to funding for open government data platforms like Data.gov or the IT Dashboard appear to be least partially restored in the new budget. That will likely salve (some of) the concerns of advocates like Harlan Yu, who wrote about what we would lose if we lost Data.gov. John Wonderlich’s questions on the budget deal, however, include one on exactly how much funding was restored.
3. FCC.gov relaunched as an open government platform. In any other week, this story would have led the list open government news. Having sat out the Aughts, FCC.gov stepped into the modern age FCC managing director Steve Van Roekel and his team worked hard to bring Web 2.0 principles into the FCC’s online operations. Those principles include elements of open data, platform thinking, collective intelligence, and lightweight social software. What remains to be seen in the years ahead is how much incorporating Web 2.0 into operations will change how the FCC operates as a regulator. The redesign was driven through an open government process that solicited broad comment from the various constituencies that visit FCC.gov. The beta.FCC.gov isn’t just a site anymore, however: it’s a Web service that taps into open source, the cloud, and collective intelligence. In the world of Gov 2.0, that’s a substantial reframing of what government can do online.
4. What happens to e-government in a shutdown? This near miss forced hundreds of thousands of people to consider how to make wired government go dark. That discussion should not end with this latest resolution.
6. The Russian blogosphere came under attack, quashing an online parliament initiative. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see if a Russian Gov 2.0 conference next week addresses the issue of press freedoms or open government transparency.
9. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) reintroduced the Public Online Information Act. With this transparency bill, the federal government would acknowledge the Internet, opined Mother Jones.
10. SeeClickFix launches its Facebook app.. “It looks like the entire SeeClickFix experience has been ported over to the Facebook environment,” writes Dan Kennedy. “Users can report problems and pinpoint them on a Google map, thus alerting government officials and the news media. I am far from being the world’s biggest Facebook fan, but it’s a smart move, given how much time people spend there.”
Editor’s Note This is by no means a definitive, comprehensive list. For instance, there’s plenty of open government news happening in countries around the world, from corruption mashups in India to the transparency challenges in various states. For a daily dose of transparency, make sure to read the Sunlight Foundation’s blog IBM’s Business of Government blog has also posted a weekly round up. If you have more stories that came across your desktop, inbox or television this week, please share them in the comments.