Open Government

by Fred Showker

Open GovernmentThe Obama presidential campaign was historic for many reasons, including its unprecedented use of the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies. Transparency and open government are two primary issues of this administration and we see technology playing an integral part of it, especially with the appointment of the country's very first CIO and CTO.

Opening Up Government and Making It Work

The concept of open government has been influenced--for the better--by the open source software movement. Indeed, if government is a platform, and Gov 2.0 is the next release, how can we make it one that shakes up--and reshapes--the world?

Fortunately, in a timely new book from O'Reilly, "Open Government", Beth Simone Noveck, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for open government, and Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, along with dozens of leading visionaries and practitioners both inside and outside of government attempt to answer that question. In the new book, they share their ideas on how to achieve and direct this emerging world of online collaboration, transparency, and participation.

O'Reilly writes in his essay

Quoting  begins Government 2.0 is the use of technology--especially the collaborative technologies at the heart of Web 2.0--to better solve collective problems at a city, state, national, and international level, ... Defining Government 2.0: Lessons Learned from the Success of Computer Platforms." "The hope is that Internet technologies will allow us to rebuild the kind of participatory government envisioned by our nation's founders, in which, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Joseph Cabell, 'every man' feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day.' Quoting  ends

All these contributors and more offer practical solutions as we step into the future:

  • Beth Simone Noveck, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for open government, "The Single Point of Failure"
  • Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, "All Your Data Are Belong to Us: Liberating Government Data"
  • Aaron Swartz, cofounder of,, and, "When Is Transparency Useful?"
  • Ellen S. Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, "Disrupting Washington's Golden Rule"
  • Carl Malamud, founder of Public.Resource.Org, "By the People"
  • Douglas Schuler, president of the Public Sphere Project, "Online Deliberation and Civic Intelligence"
  • Howard Dierking, program manager on Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet Web platform team, "Engineering Good Government"
  • Matthew Burton, Web entrepreneur and former intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, "A Peace Corps for Programmers"
  • Gary D. Bass and Sean Moulton, OMB Watch, "Bringing the Web 2.0 Revolution to Government"
  • Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, "Defining Government 2.0: Lessons Learned from the Success of Computer Platforms"

Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist says:

Quoting  begins Government is becoming more responsive and effective due to the Open Government movement. This book is written by the people, and for the people, who are interested in making open government happen. Quoting  ends

Andrew Hoppin, CIO, New York State Senate says:

Quoting  begins Open Government' is a comprehensive compendium of the who, what, how, and why of the emergent national "Gov 2.0" movement; it's a must-read for all who care about transparent, efficient, and participatory government, which, by definition, should equate to each and every one of us in our capacity as citizens and voters. Quoting  ends

Daniel Lathrop and Laurel RumaDaniel Lathrop is a former investigative projects reporter with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has covered politics in Washington state, Iowa, Florida and Washington D.C. He was a senior researcher on the New York Times bestselling "The Buying of the President 2004" by Charles Lewis.

Laurel Ruma is the Gov 2.0 Evangelist at O'Reilly Media. She is the co-chair for the Gov 2.0 Expo.

coverOpen Government
Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice
Opening Up Government and Making It Work

Edited by Daniel Lathrop & Laurel Ruma
Get this now Tim O'Reilly presents viewpoint on Gov 2.0 : "Do It Ourselves"
Get this now Download free sample PDF FILE

Open Government

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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