In a welcome turnabout for US citizens, MIT has launched the Government Information Awareness website.
The website developer Ryan McKinley explains
“Our goal is develop a technology which empowers citizens to form their own intelligence agency; to gather, sort and act on information they gather about the government,” said MIT graduate student Ryan McKinley, who developed GIA under the direction of Christopher Csikszentmihályi, an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab’s Computing Culture group.
“Only by employing such technologies can we hope to have a government by the people and for the people,” McKinley said.
The method that McKinley uses is pilfered straight from the government itself.
GIA site users can submit information about public figures and government programs anonymously. In an attempt to ensure the accuracy of submitted data, the system automatically contacts the appropriate government officials and offers them an opportunity to confirm or deny submitted data.
But like an FBI file, information is not purged if the subject denies its veracity; the denial is simply added to the file. McKinley wryly added that those government officials who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from GIA.
A nice touch!
The site itself is a bit limited; also, when I tried it out it was very slow. It might have underestimated the demand for it. This is a work in progress, but it’s a great start. This gives Big Brother a taste of his own medicine, and we need something like this in Australia.
Cross posted at The Eye of the Beholder