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Tag Archive: civic participation

Learning why transparency matters: a new Sunlight Foundation research project

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We have so far been fortunate that most people intuitively grasp the value of technology-driven openness and transparency, and as a result, an impressive range of NGOs and governments around the world are building on the basic understanding that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” (Justice Brandeis’ aphorism that gave the Sunlight Foundation its name). For example, as of this writing, 58 countries have signed onto the Open Government Partnership. But the quick-to-grasp nature of transparency’s potential has its dangers: 1) that we cease asking questions about it because it has become an article of faith; and 2) that, as strong advocates for the cause, we begin to oversell its potential (and thus undermine its genuine contributions). This year, we are kicking off an attempt to both clarify and test our understandings of what transparency can do. Thanks to support from Google.org, we at Sunlight are embarking on a research project to evaluate the impacts of technology-driven transparency policies around the world. We plan to conduct a series of case studies.

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Rethinking civic participation

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What would a 21st century town hall meeting look like? Is there a better way to hold public meetings than to give each person three minutes at a microphone to have their say? The city of Bell, California, might have some of the answers.

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