Mr Hacker Goes To Washington Etech09

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Information about Mr Hacker Goes To Washington Etech09

Published on March 13, 2009

Author: greg.elin.sunlight



Hackers, those crazy Utopian dreamers with DIY attitudes, have begun a sustained assault on government with projects like the Sunlight Foundation, OpenCongress, GovTrack,, FedSpending, MySociety, and Public.Resource. With insider stories from three years of living in DC and helping to visualize earmarks on Google maps and create APIs for government spending, this hacker explains why the tipping point has already occurred and what comes next with the transparency movement. Presented by Greg Elin, Chief Evangelist for the Sunlight Foundation, at O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2009

Mr Hacker goes to Washington Produced by: Sunlight Foundation Chief Evangelist: Greg Elin Starring: Hackers


•  Our nation’s fore hackers

“Information is the currency of democracy.” Thomas Jefferson

•  p2p = press + parliament

•  1939


“Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.” Louis Brandeis

“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” Linus Torvald Linus Torvalds via Eric Raymond Linus Torvald Eric Raymond


Transparency breeds trust.

Seize New Opportunities

Washington, DC

Majority Rules

Internet is Ethernet... •  Listen first •  Just say it •  Public Commons •  No prioritization •  No permission required •  Use NOT defined

but, Congress is Token Ring •  “Talking Stick” •  Who has the Floor? •  Everyone waits •  Wait your turn •  Prioritization built-in

“YouTube sunlight versioning bailout legislation”

Legal Code != Software Code •  Rigorous Logic •  Fuzzy Rhetoric •  Binary •  Inconsistent Processors •  Procedural Blocks •  Slow iteration •  Encapsulation •  Tightly coupled •  Overrides •  No compiling requreid •  Digital Life Cycle •  Must Compile

“YouTube sunlight versioning bailout legislation”

is Govt has legacy systems

Government institutions assume one mouse Adding more mice requires major application changes


1300+ Agencies (some “independent”) Every agency is its own enterprise. Consolidate accounting efforts started under Nixon. Total annual IT budget of $71B. 2.75M civilian staff (not outsourced)


rs yea t5 Bailoutx ne ver go irin et %R 30 >

Procurement DoD Bailout

Think Tanks Non Profits Lobbyists FACA (75,000 advisors)

1999 - Gramm-Leach-Bliley Repeals Glass-Steagall Act

“YouTube rollercoaster housing”

“YouTube rollercoaster housing”

Consensus Building & Participation

Government Works

1970s - Nixon / Carter External Financial Reports accounting OMB Reorg • Congressional Budget Office 1980s - Reagan / Bush Sr Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act Panels • Standards • Consolidated Reporting 1990s - Clinton Chief Financial Officer Act (CFOA) 1990 Government Management Reform Act (GMRA) FAADS 1992 • FPDS 1992? 2000s - Bush Jr / Obama 9/11 & Wars • E-Gov Act 2002 (Enterprise) FFATA 2006 ( • Open Government Directive Redesign

XML arriving

DC’s Data Catalog

Why Mr Hacker went to Washington

78,000,000 2,000,000 53

September 11 78,000,000 2,000,000 US invades Iraq Howard Dean 2004 Elections 2006 Elections 54 2008 Elections

September 11 78,000,000 2,000,000 US invades Iraq Howard Dean 2004 Elections Ajax 2006 Elections 2006 Elections 55 Open Data 8 Principles 2008 Elections - Earmarks - 2006 Similar - legislative earmark data placed on a map. But, individuals making data parse-able where authorities did not. Group used email to find 1,753 earmarks in one 60 page spending bill! - 2007 Web opens up new ways to follow elections Events + demand for events.

Mass Participation - 2008

Seize New Opportunities Federal CIO - Vivek Kundra

Example Hacks & Opportunities

SEC & Edgar

Transparency XBRL - 2010, 2011

1990s - Clinton Chief Financial Officer Act (CFOA) 1990 Government Management Reform Act (GMRA) FAADS 1992 • FPDS 1992? 2000s - Bush Jr / Obama 9/11 & Wars • E-Gov Act 2002 (Enterprise) FFATA 2006 ( • Open Government Directive

Email List

L! XM DF! ata R en D d Op inke L

ork Netw ocial S +


Open Government Directive

Sunlight OOGL RFP

Mobile HUGE in 2010 elections

Sunlight’s Three-Year Plan •  Build the Data Commons •  Continue Making Powerful Tools (and conquer new platforms, like mobile) •  Serve Key Constituencies (journalists, issue groups) •  Press for Real-time Across-the-Board Disclosure

Apps for America rize ! Kp $15 Mar 31 dline Dea

Hackathons 82

Show Us the Data

Important Dates •  Feb 28 - March 1: •  March 11: Gov Open Data Meetup, San Francisco •  March 20: Open Gov Data Event, DC •  March 27-28: Gov 2.0 Barcamp, DC •  May: Open Government Directive •  ?: •  September 9-10: O’Reilly Gov 2.0, DC •  2010: Next Elections

Mr Hacker Tips & Resources

4 Patterns 1.  Model alternatives 2.  Aggregate information 3.  Hosted Discussion 4.  Distributed Projects


Philosophy Public means Online Human + Machine Friendly 8 Principles of Open Data Interactive / Participatory Timely Virtuous Cycle of Innovation Sharing adds value

Where to Start Sunlight Labs API Email Lists - Poliparse Apps for America - $15K 50 State Project mysociety we’re hiring and fed govt is hiring

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