Taiwan's g0v: Using Open-Source Code And Communities To Engage Citizens And Make Government More Open

from the building-on-sunflowers dept

Back in April, we wrote about massive protests that took place in Taiwan as a result of a lack of transparency during trade negotiations with mainland China. Those protests became part of what is now known as the Sunflower student movement, whose name refers to the use of sunflowers by the protesters as a symbol of hope. Techpresident has a fascinating article looking at the Taiwanese online community called g0v, which has been playing a key part in the Sunflower movement, and which is now trying to make government more open and accessible using open source tools:

g0v believes that current online participation tools like social media outlets and online message boards fell short in creating offline action or collaboration. g0v places itself at the center of open-sourced, hands-on, and public-spirited activism with a desire to engage citizens to create real social change.

g0v's work is proving that open-source communities can successfully open up and improve government. Ideologically, g0v does not believe that its activism needs to create an enemy out of government, but rather that everyone -- the government and the people -- wins when creative solutions improve existing public structures.
The post goes on to describe g0v's hackathons, its first conference, and the Open Political Donation Project. This brought together 9,000 volunteers to digitize 300,000 political donation records as a pointed response to Taiwan's old Campaign Donation Act of 2004, which allowed the public access to campaign donation documents, but only as a paper copy, or in person at a government office.

What's fascinating here is to see how the people involved in the Sunflower student movement have moved on from simply protesting against something -- Taiwan's secret trade negotiations with China -- to creating new tools to open up government and engage citizens. As the Techpresident piece concludes:

g0v's brand of activism is about making sure government does its job better. g0v explains on its website, it substituted the "o" in gov for a "0" to change the way we see government working. Through civic tech, hacktivism, and a belief that government can and should work, g0v is already showing that it can change the way that government sees itself and the way that people can interact with their government.
Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: activists, communities, engagement, g0v, open government, politics, taiwan


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2014 @ 4:44am

    While I wholeheartedly support efforts like these, it's unfortunate that they only seem to appear after people become conscious of or perceive the threat to be imminent. How long will it take other populations to get to this point?

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