Democracy 2.0

I never thought I would see this coming from the US, from all places! Specially when considering the situation so far. But maybe there really are winds of change (from the first link):

Barack Obama’s campaign built a powerful synergy between grass-roots politics and grass-roots technology, while presenting what many consider to be the most disciplined campaign of any candidate in modern history.

And technology is (finally!) starting to play its role in transforming our current polyarchies wrongly labelled as democracies, into true democracies. Again quoting from the first link:

One of the strongest criticisms made against Barack Obama during his campaign is that he consistently said that he would go through the Federal budget “line-by-line” and cut wasteful spending, but he never gave any specifics. The open source-based application http://USAspending.gov was implemented after Congress passed a law in 2006 saying that by the start of 2008, every government contract for every government agency (except those that are classified) had to be online, with information disclosing costs, sponsors, contractors, etc

Wow! This is a major leap forward, indeed! One can only hope that the words to describe his campaign can be used four years from now to describe his first term in office. Sadly we here in Europe aren’t quite there yet. That’s a really sad example: the details of deal between Microsoft and the European Council (or more accurately MS’s commercial interests on the deal) were deemed more important (and hence kept secret) than the public interest of having taxpayers know how is their money being used. This kind of crap in the US used to have the label of “national security”; I can only wonder what we’ll call it over here… Anyway, some of the first comments are really more insightful than the article itself; I leave you with one such comment:

It’s not in the public interest to know how much public money MSFT is getting and for what?

That’s not what is being claimed. The information IS in the public interest — the argument is that Microsoft’s commercial interest is MORE IMPORTANT than the public interest. Which I think is even worse-sounding that what you said.

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