Google DC Talk – can they go beyond opinions and arrive to decisions?
December 23, 2008

Google D.C. Talks – Tech Agenda 2009: Creating New Opportunities for Open & Participatory Government  

Dec 12, 2008.


Panel II – “Changing Policy to Promote Open Government” 

Andrew McLaughlin (Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google), Chris Barkley (Office of the Hon. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)), Meredith Fuchs (General Counsel, National Security Archive), Karina Newton (Director of New Media, Office of the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House), and John Wonderlich (Program Director, Sunlight Foundation).

 

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“Fix financial system – radical openness” follow up
December 20, 2008

(This is a follow-up to the original post: How to fix the financial system? Introduce radical openness.)

Why radical openness is needed so badly?

 

Take the Madoff case, and the latest news about SEC.

 

If the community is given all the information government agencies have (and even more),

– according to the behavior of the agency – 

the community can

 

a) – if an agency open to innovation and to the wisdom of the crowds –

HELP the agency deliver a better job

e.g. crunching data in innovative ways that is not part of the agencie’s daily routine or in territories, where the agency has a sort of night blindness

 

b) – if the agency is reluctant to listen to the outer world –

PUSH agencies work better

same as above, but not only complementing in scope the work of the agency, but also competing with it in its core business

 

c) – if the agency is denying any outside influence or help –

DO THE JOB INSTEAD of a failing agency

covering the whole spectrum of the work of the agency. In this case, it is then rightful to ask, why is the named agency paid for from taxpayers’ money

 

What do you think, had the policy of radical openness been in vigor, what behavior would SEC show?

We know now, that the SEC has consistently neglected the warning signs

One whistleblower, a former exec at a rival firm, wrote the SEC as early as 1999 to warn that Madoff was running the “world’s largest Ponzi Scheme.” He repeated his warnings to the SEC through this past April. There were other critics and naysayers, including a 2001 article in Barron’s questioning Madoff’s unrealistically consistent returns. (Paul Kiel in ProPublica)

And we also heard, that – in spite the fact, that Madoff controlled 17.1 billion USD in assets with five employees – SEC has never inspected him, because the lack of resources. Fine, but if we, the community had all the data that SEC gets in raw form, real-time, there would have been quite a few biz data geeks, who would load them into a database, and run some not-too-complicated algorithms, and shoot up the red signal seeing one person handling 3.6 billion USD on the average.

NextDemocracy: empowering the citizens to decide
November 26, 2008

This is the pitch of the idea of Next Democracy more or less in the form as was submitted to Google’s 10 to 100 competition.

 

One Sentence

Democracy, as done today, is a Stone Age technology in an Internet age society; with NextDemocracy we can DECIDE DIRECTLY on political issues.

 

The Itch (Issue Addressed)

With elections you buy everything in one big package. All the policies, behind-the-scenes agreements, friends and special relations come with the candidate and the party behind.

We elect representatives to make all the important decisions for us – instead of us – in the coming 4 years, and we can just hope, that the decisions are going to be good ones.

We do this, because – why exactly? Because we have so little time? Because information is so hard to get and so expensive to distribute? Because it is impossible to meet people to discuss the issues when you have a work and a family to look after?

The world has changed, the mechanism of democracy has not.

The way how democracy is done today is actually a Stone Age technology in an Internet age society. It is expensive, it is ineffective, and open to distraction or outright corruption.

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