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Business - Written by on Monday, February 2, 2009 13:48 - 3 Comments

Sunlight Labs launches “Apps for America” contest

Following other similar contests in DC and the UK, Sunlight Labs (an open source development team providing tools to make governments more transparent) has launched an “Apps for America” contest. If you have been following our blog then you already know what this is about. For those who haven’t, the idea is to crowdsource the creation of new applications that leverage public data sets (and in this case, the APIs that Sunlight Labs have made available) to make the US government for transparent, interactive and accountable.

Contests like these are worthwhile for a variety of reasons. One, if we left it up to public officials to make government more transparent I think we can all predict the outcome. Two, contests are a reasonably good way to incent broader involvement from the public. And three, third parties are not contrained by the bureaucratic encumberances and political considerations that stiffle innovation in the public administration. Thus they can build innovative new applications using public data sets faster and more freely than government.

That being said, we need to move beyond the “google map mash-up” paradigm and build applications that enable genuine interaction and engagement with government. And for that to happen, we need government agencies to genuinely engage in this process. I’m sure the folks at Sunlight Labs would agree!

Applications are due March 31st and winners will be announced on April 7th. The winner receives $15,000.



3 Comments

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Wikinomics» Blog Archive » Profiling the powers that be on the un-facebook
Mar 2, 2009 16:13

[...] (est. 2006), online catalyst for political transparency and accountability in government (Anthony Williams wrote about them last month). Sunlight’s previous platforms include OpenCongress.org and [...]

Profiling the powers that be on the un-facebook « Alex Marshall’s Blog
Mar 20, 2009 23:37

[...] (est. 2006), online catalyst for political transparency and accountability in government (Anthony Williams wrote about them last month). Sunlight’s previous platforms include OpenCongress.org and [...]

Wikinomics» Blog Archive » What are they saying in Congress?
Mar 27, 2009 13:39

[...] development from the Sunlight Foundation (who we’ve written about previously – here, here and here). Capitol Words is a program that takes every word entered into the congressional record [...]

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