Google For The Government

from the looks-who's-looking-at-who dept

With all the recent moves to make it easier for our government to spy on us, someone finally got the idea to set up a system to make it easier to spy back at them. Some folks at MIT are setting up a project, they jokingly refer to as the “Google for government”, that hopefully will let citizens better track what their own leaders are doing. The system is officially called the Government Information Awareness system, which is a clear tweak at the proposed Total (now Terrorist) Information Awareness system the Pentagon keeps trying to push forward with. It’s unclear how well this particular system will work, but the idea is to get more information out there for people to use. While the initial site is seeded with various political info, they’re hoping that it will grow based on user contributions. Of course, when you think “user contributions” and “politics”, you know that there’s going to be all sorts of misleading and absolutely false information listed on the site. So, the creators of the site are trying to build a credibility system, that will help more credible info rise to the top. It will also let people build a “circle of trust”, where items people they trust find credible are more likely to be found credible for them as well. Finally, the system also tries to connect directly with anyone that is being talked about to let that original source weigh in on the credibility of the info. It sounds like a fascinating experiment – and it will be interesting to see whether or not it takes off. I hope it does well, but, in my experience, most people involved in politics (no matter what their views are) don’t like to hear open and balanced information. They like living in a world that is spun entirely to their own politics, and don’t even want to hear the opposition’s take. I think people get more value out of a real debate, but many people don’t seem to have the stomach for it. So, I’m afraid many people will stay away from such a system, because it forces them to confront real issues, rather than surrounding themselves completely with misleading stories.

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Comments on “Google For The Government”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

The more eyes watching the government, the better.

The site looks promising, I hope it expands beyond bio type data (like age/religion/education) and covers more stuff like their vote on bills, which bills they authored or co-sponsered, changed or killed in committees, what amendments they added, etc.

The reputation system is critical – its gotta be difficult to seperate out an anonymous whistleblower from a anonymous partisan lobbyist from an anonymous disgruntled crank. Good luck.

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