For those of you interested in starting or joining the civic technology movement where you live, watch Code for America Brigade program director Kevin Curry discuss how designers and developers are doing just this everywhere across the United States.
Open Source Digital Voting Foundation’s John Sebes writes about watching new citizens complete voter registration application forms and the associated usability issues, especially for older, less tech-savvy demographic.
I’ve been collecting links (below) from the UK’s Government Digital Service blog for a while wondering when they’ll stop executing their great “beta” work on GOV.UK, but they continue to outdo themselves.
Since 2008, there has been a wave of voting law changes that impose barriers to the ballot box. Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a veteran of “Bloody Sunday,” called the new laws “the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act.”
The right to vote is being chiseled away by voter ID laws that require voters to show government-issued photo ID in order to vote.
In December, the Department of Justice blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law on the grounds it would make it harder for minorities to vote in violation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Mississippi and Texas voting ID laws also must be pre-cleared but Texas is not waiting. The Lone Star State filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to speed up a decision.
Strict photo ID requirements will be in place in at least five states – Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Wisconsin — In November. With Election Day less than nine months away, voters without an official photo ID cannot wait for the challenges to play out at the Justice Department and in the courts.
In Wisconsin, for instance, voters must navigate “The 4 Proofs.”
I am a founding member of the Election Protection Coalition. Still, looking at the infographic makes my head hurt. More worrisome, it discourages voters from completing the application process. So I presented the problem of TMI (read: disenfranchisement by design) at Random Hacks of Kindness and the Hackathon for Social Good. Citizen programmers developed solutions to quickly provide voters with information on how to get a voter ID.
Users in Wisconsin can forget about “The 4 Proofs.” Instead, in four clicks or less, they will be able to access information about the state’s voter ID requirements, how to obtain a certified copy of their birth certificate (the document that’s typically produced to establish one’s identity), and the location, hours and directions to the Office of Vital Records using public transit.
I also gave a live demo of the Cost of Freedom text-based app developed by Jack Aboutboul, Twilio’s API Evangelist. Twilio is making an in-contribution of text message services to promote voter education.
To commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we plan to launch the Cost of Freedom App on April 4, 2012.
I will post regular updates about the Cost of Freedom Project and other initiatives that are using civic innovation to protect the right to vote. The conversation about voter ID also gives us an opportunity to raise awareness about disruptive technologies in the public sector beyond election administration.
We’ve heard a lot about Drupal and WordPress in government, but not much about the open source platform Joomla. We asked Joomla External Communications Lead Sandra Ordonez to share how government is using it, its key features, how it compares to Drupal and WordPress and what governments are using it.
As I mentioned in my 2012 civic commitment post, I’m focused on helping drastically lower the cost, de-mystify the technology and build better websites for local government.
Hacking Democracy, released in 2007, documents the improprieties and lack of security around proprietary voting software vendor Diebold Elections Systems.
Civic Commons Director Nick Grossman and 2011 Code for America Fellow Jeremy Canfield give an overview of the new Civic Commons Marketplace, a repository and apps showcase for open source civic and government development projects.
San Francisco Director of Innovation Jay Nath’s TEDxSoMa talk from earlier this year:
Every day, tech-minded citizens across the country are doing good by their communities, literally geeking out about how they can help re-define the relationship government has with its citizens, using technology as a democratic tool to empower both.
Memphis announced it will develop its new website using the open source platform Drupal and OpenPublic. Mediacurrent, Linx Consulting and Phase2 Technology will collaborate on the project.
The British government’s Cabinet Office has published an Open Source Procurement Toolkit as part of its ongoing information and communications strategy.
Code for America has published videos of CfA Fellows demoing their apps during the Code for America Summit held October 13-14 in San Francisco.
O’Reilly Media’s Alex Howard interviewed San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee this week at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Lee discusses open source, open data, apps, mobile and bridging the digital divide.
The next iteration of Georgia.gov will be built using the open source platform Drupal.
The civic hackathon – a gathering (either virtual or physical) of technologists for a few days or weeks to build civic-themed software – remains one of the more durable manifestations of the open government movement.
In a new blog post, Gartner’s Andrea Di Maio asks if it’s time to pull the plug on government Websites?
Firmstep has launched a new service called AchieveCity, a Web-based government platform powered by the Drupal distribution OpenPublic (developed by Phase2 Technology) and hosted in the Amazon EC2 environment.
Federal government open source and open government practitioners will convene for a one-day conference, OpenGovDC, June 14 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC.
Plone is a secure and flexible open source content management system (CMS) for building all types of web sites and web applications. Supported by a vibrant developer community that is ranked in the top 2% of open source projects worldwide, a large number of domestic and international public sector organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, rely on Plone to power their digital communications.
This week, Development Seed announced the release of a full-featured map design studio that enables web developers to rapidly generate gorgeous custom maps.
I started pondering what qualities would define an open source city a few months ago when my friend Tom Rabon mentioned it to me one day.
Drupal and Acquia CTO and Co-founder Dries Buytaert and Acquia Vice President, WW Business Development Tim Bertrand join Gov 2.0 Radio to discuss Drupal and open source in government.
Just received the latest Code for America newsletter and wanted to share info about its ‘Lab Day’ program that happens every Friday in its San Francisco offices.
Recently launched GovHub is a new ‘GitHub for government’ that aims to be the comprehensive repository for government open source development projects.
Government technologists and open source advocates will have a meeting of the minds at next week’s Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) in Portland, OR, October 27-28. The conference features a great program and speaker line-up (including our main man Gunnar Hellekson) and GovFresh is proud to support their great work.
One of the more striking ironies of the Gov 2.0 movement is that despite the development of scores of new technologies, protocols, platforms and networks for enabling sophisticated interactions between citizens and their governments, a large number of people prefer to interact with their government the way they have for a long time – using the telephone.
The GSA is currently planning forge.gov, which is widely assumed to be based on forge.mil, the much-discussed collaboration platform from the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA. forge.mil is a pretty incredible idea: a single destination for testing, certification, and software development in the Defense Department.
I had a chance to talk with Matthew Burton, the former intelligence analyst turned open source cause celebre who just launched a tool that helps frame and understand arguments with imperfect evidence. It’s based on method called Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH), which has been around for quite some time. Matthew and his friend Josh Knowles, though, have a tool that allows the ACH method to be used by multiple participants simultaneously. It’s fascinating stuff, so I’m grateful that he took the time to talk with me.
Brian Purchia of Burson-Marsteller has a post over on GovFresh about the value of open source to unions. His argument pivots on cost-savings. I think you could make a more expansive argument that includes risk mitigation and innovation, but describing the advantage to unions is an interesting angle I hadnâ€™t seen before.
Earlier this year, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ignited an open source movement in government when the city approved the nationâ€™s first open source software policy. Now, another movement — labor may be getting behind this effort. I have been asked to speak with Local 21 of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE/AFL-CIO) today about Gov 2.0 initiatives I helped lead for Newsom and why unions should embrace open source technology.
I was really pleased to read the announcement that Lockheed Martin's social networking platform, EurekaStreams, was released as an open source project today. Lockheed is a very conservative company, and while they're happy to use open source internally and on projects for their customers, this is their first experiment with actually running a project themselves. I think it's a big deal, not just for Lockheed Martin, but for large corporations who are considering a more open, more innovative approach to software development. And yet, Dana Blankenhorn hates it:
“The Daily Journal of the United States,” the FR is managed by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and serves as “the legal newspaper of the U.S. government and contains rules, proposed rules, and public notices of federal agencies, as well Presidential documents.”
The debate over whether open source software (OSS) is good for government is over. A close look will reveal the discussion has moved on to one of two things: 1) the necessary, but subsequent implementation questions to be sorted out – security, regulation, procurement, etc. or 2) organizational confusion about how to take the first step. In either case, the precedent of value has been established both within government and elsewhere to allow us to now move on to the natural next set of issues.
During Transparency Camp a few weeks ago, I sat down with Red Hat Chief Architect Gunnar Hellekson and asked him the following questions around open source in government.
â€œOpen source and open government are not the same,â€ Iâ€™ve been reading recently. When discussing the role of open standards in open government transparency projects, Bob Caudill at Adobe, is concerned that open source and open standards are being conflated. He likes open standards just fine, but …
On the heels of the Open Government Memo of January 21st, 2009, the Obama Administration has issued the Open Government Directive. The Directive tells agencies what they must do to meet the expectations set by the Memo. The directive names many deadlines for agency compliance, most of them around reducing FOIA backlogs and increasing the amount of agency data released to the public. This isnâ€™t surprising, since the Memo names transparency, collaboration, and participation as the guiding principles. Transparency is the easiest to articulate and implement â€” just get the data out there in a useful form. Josh Taubererâ€™s Open Data is Civic Capital: Best Practices for â€œOpen Government Dataâ€ is an excellent handbook for doing this. If you want to track agenciesâ€™ progress, the Sunlight Labs folks have produced the outstanding Open Watcher.
The City and County of San Francisco’s Committee on Information Technology released its new software evaluation policy. Here’s the full text or you can access at the COIT Website.
Open Source for America is an organization formed in July 2009 by businesses and organizations to advocate for open source technology use within the federal government.
Open Source for America launched a new video campaign to promote the benefits of government using open source technology. The video includes business leaders from Red Hat, Sun Microsystems and Google.