How the Internet Can Open Government

Ben Rooney in the Wall Street Journal: “Given the response to previous attempts at opening up democracy, maybe his distrust in participatory democracy isn’t unreasonable. On coming to power in 2010 the coalition government launched a website to ask the public to nominate what laws it wanted repealed. But there was no promise that its choices would be enacted. Perhaps as a consequence there was a campaign to demand the overturning of the second law of thermodynamics. The website has since closed….

There is a precedent for this, according to Beth Noveck, who led President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. Speaking to an audience in Edinburgh recently, she pointed to the invention of the jury system by Henry II, a king of England in the 12th century.
This was a “powerful, practical, palpable model for handing power from government to citizens. Today we have the opportunity, and we have the imperative, to create thousands of new ways of interconnecting between networks and institutions, thousands of new kinds of juries…we are just beginning to invent the models by which we can cocreate the process of governance.”