How Citizens Can Force Government To Change: Liberating Our Data (At Scale!)

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How Citizens Can Force Government To Change: Liberating Our Data (At Scale!)

When a government bureaucracy is not working the way you think it should be, what can you do to make it change? In this Ideas Lunch, Carl Malamud will discuss techniques and tactics his nonprofit organization uses to cajole large government agencies to change their ways. Three case studies will used to illustrate these principles.

In the first half, we’ll look at the IRS Exempt Organizations database and how it is distributed, issues of privacy in the Form 990 reports made public by nonprofit organizations, and the question of e-file data. This will be followed by a brief discussion of the issue of edicts of government, the promulgation of the laws by which we as a people choose to govern ourselves.

The second half of the session will be devoted to the PACER system, the electronic docketing system used by the U.S. federal courts. We’ll discuss the Yo.YourHonor.Org effort, a response to the Year-End report from the Chief Justice in which he discussed technology and the courts. A brief exercise in applied rhetoric will conclude this part of the Ideas Lunch.

About Carl

Considered one of the pioneers in getting government to face the challenges of the Internet in their own internal operations, Carl Malamud is the founder of Public.Resource.Org (“Public Resource”), a nonprofit organization that creates public works for a better government. Public Resource has helped put online 6,000 videos from the National Archives and other agencies, over 14,000 hours of video from the U.S. Congress, over 8 million Form 990 returns from the IRS, historical opinions of the U.S. Court of Appeals, docket materials from U.S. District Courts, and edicts of government (such as mandated public safety codes) at both the state and federal level. In many cases, these efforts have been accomplished over the strenuous objections of the government agencies who purportedly “own” the data.

Lunch will be served.  Please RSVP so we have accurate numbers for food. 

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