Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Greater transparency in government - the US theme for 2008

The most exciting change I'm seeing in US politics at the moment is the degree of top level support and enthusiasm for transparency in government.

Nextgov has published an article, Obama says he would use IT to open government, which details the strategies the Democrat nominee for President says he will mandate for the US Federal Government to increase their accountability to the public, reducing waste and improving openness.

In the plan, Obama says he "will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet as the agencies debate and deliberate the issues that affect American society. Videos of meetings will be archived on the Web, and the transcript will be available to the public. Obama will also require his appointees to commit to employ all the technological tools available to allow average citizens not just to observe, but to participate and be heard on the issues that affect their daily lives. Obama will require Cabinet officials to have periodic 21st century fireside chats, restore meaning to the Freedom of Information Act, and conduct regulatory agency business in public."

Obama has indicated that he will push the use of blogs, wikis, social networking and other strategies to create a government more connected with constituents.

The full plan is available at Government Executive.

It's both an ambitious plan and an exciting experiment in the government arena. If Obama gets the opportunity to execute, it will be interesting to see the consequences of more open government both in the US's domestic market and in international relations.

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