Mar 1, 2009

Transparency Camp Building a Path Forward

Had the very good fortune today to attend Transparency Camp sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation.
This un-conference is about convening a trans-partisan tribe of open government advocates from all walks — government representatives, technologists, developers, NGOs, wonks and activists — to share knowledge on how to use new technologies to make our government transparent and meaningfully accessible to the public. --More on Transparency Camp
I haven't been to an "un-conference" before. Attendees put together the agenda on the fly, with sessions developing and held in available rooms. The real value is the convening of a great assemblage of geeks, consultants, practitioners from dot-gov both executive and leg branches, nonprofits and the private sector. Transparency has become a key touchstone since President Obama issued his oft-quoted Transparency Memo.

There was useful discussion about why transparency is important, the risks and costs of transparency and of not being transparent, privacy,, and crowd-sourcing (specifically the issue of the pot-people).

There was a lot of energy in the Camp (especially when geek superstars Tim O'Reilly and Craig Newmark were in sessions). Sessions ranged from technical to theoretical to how-to. During my sessions, people were talking about the importance of representative democracy as outlined in our Constitution and the hope that technologies will make government more responsive and more of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The folks in the room are the ones who will help to make it so.

You can get a feel for the Camp and see the twitterstream here.


  1. Thanks for posting this summary, Gwynne, for those of us who are fascinated, but couldn't be there.

  2. I enjoyed the tweets and links from the unconference. Thanks for this summary.


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