Technology

Minister of Digital Engagement: U.K. CTO?

Hey, Jeff Jarvis brings to light a job ad:

• Develop a strategy and implementation plan for extending digital engagement across Government

• Work with communication, policy and delivery officials in Government departments to embed digital engagement in the day to day working of Government

• Work with Directors of Communication to ensure that digital media are included in the reporting of reaction to Government policy and initiatives

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Vivek Kundra May Be Obama's choice for OMB e-Gov Head

Hey, this would be really good news; he's been doing amazing work for the city of Washington. His stuff uses ’net tech for local customer service, and we need that everywhere. (I've seen it firsthand, and it’s not easy to impress me that much.)

Here's more:

The Obama administration plans to announce it has appointed Vivek Kundra, the District of Columbia's chief technology officer, to take the top information technology post in the federal government, according to a source.
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A New Home for Hillaryites

Never say never.

Madam Secretary — Hillary Clinton herself — who as head of the State Department is no longer permitted to engage in political activity on behalf of herself or anyone else, has a new entity online. While she had to close up her political action committee, Clinton allies have created a place where her supporters can gather and check up on Hillary.

Go to NoLimits.org, which will "keep you up to date with news about issues on which Hillary took a lead and we know you care so much about," Ann Lewis, the group's president, said in the announcement to an e-mail list of campaign supporters.
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USAservice.gov and the National Day of Service

Barack Obama epitomizes a new spirit of service, to the country, to each other. His presidency, the day before Inauguration, Martin Luther King Day, is a national call to service. This combines traditional public service, including military and Peace Corps, with volunteerism, a sort of craigslist for service. That is, service is top-down and also grassroots.

If you're reading this, you get the idea. What's new is that the incipient administration is getting its act together on this.
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Vote to Establish a ‘Global Challenges Wikipedia’

President Obama is going to inherit the most daunting set of challenges since FDR. There are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in a bloody confrontation. The global economy is in a shambles.

It's not a pretty picture, and it's not certain how he's going to tackle all of these issues. What is certain, however, is that he can't come up with all the answers himself, as much as people might think that he can. That's why he's making sincere efforts to engage the American people to be proactive and help him generate solutions: "I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again," he has declared.
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Online Government Customer Service in the UK: FixMyStreet.com

Fix My Street is a British effort similar to 311 in New York City and San Francisco. The deal is that you see a problem, maybe a pothole, and you can report it to local government so they can fix it.

Even better, they have an iPhone application, with more smartphones to follow. You see a problem, take a photo with your phone, and upload the report immediately.
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Do You People Not Know What the Internet Is?

If you're reading this, I'm going to go ahead and assume you know what the Internet is — or, at the very least, someone on your staff was savvy enough to hit CTRL-P and put this "blog post" on your desk.

Now that you're aware of the Internet, maybe you'll take the time to realize what the Internet actually is: the combination of a publishing platform with a negligible cost and the world's best information-distribution system. This should scare you.

I'm sure you pine for the good old days, when your stupid jokes, strange verbal tics and occasional retreats into racism were only a danger to you when you were in front of reporters or on television. Boy howdy, it ain't like that no more. Everyone has a camera, everyone has a microphone and anyone with an Internet connection is a reporter.
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Apture — A Tool for Political News Transparency

One way to see more about what congressmen do is to easily link to their voting records, financial background, even their speeches. Apture makes it very easy to do so, and just announced that The Washington Post is now using their system.

Apture just launched a feature to make the U.S. Congress more transparent across washingtonpost.com. Anywhere the name of a Congress member is mentioned across the site, readers can click to view the historical voting records (dating back to 1991), member biographies, PDFs of scanned financial disclosure documents, and the precise footage of congressmen giving speeches from the House and Senate floor — all without leaving the page.
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