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OpenGov Voices: Searching for Snowballs in Silicon Valley

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog. Seamus Kraft is the Executive Director at OpenGov Foundation -- an organization dedicated to developing and deploying technologies that support every citizen's ability to participate in their government and hold it accountable. You can reach him at @seamuskraft The best technology is insidiously useful. It does not force better ways of doing business. It suggests them, extending the familiar and comfortable without the user realizing she has gone farther, faster, smoother. Like the perfect note in a song, you cannot imagine it not being there. But technology is only a tool. If it helps you do your job or live your life more efficiently and effectively, buy it. If it makes life harder, slower or more costly, don’t buy it. Plain and simple. Especially in the United States Congress, where money, time and tech are scarcer than snowballs in Silicon Valley. The purpose of Congress is to make policy on behalf of taxpayers. Public officials perform very specific and specialized tasks to fulfill that purpose. Citizens keep an eye on them and hold them accountable. Can technology help these users — inside and outside of government — collaborate to do their jobs better? Project Madison, launched by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), was our first attempt at answering in the affirmative.

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Legacy media bankrolling campaigns of SOPA cosponsors

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Traditional big media firms have contributed more than $5 million to the sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act, with California Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Adam Schiff as the top recipients.

The bill, known as SOPA, would strengthen and extend the penalties for online copyright violations, and could force websites hosting pirated content to come down or prevent search engines from sending users their way. Legacy media companies stand to benefit if there's less unlawful movement of their content on the web, like pirated movies and songs for download.

Some of the nation's top tech companies — Facebook ...

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