Digital Governance: Why Decentralization of Information Matters

With all of the recent talks and discussions surrounding governments, encryption, and the lack of transparency, something will have to change sooner or later. To come to a new level of transparency and understanding, a request has been made in both New York and Chicago for a form of digital governance.

Also read: Bitcoin: Where do we go When the Lights go Out?

Using Private Information To Craft Rules & Regulations

For as long as most people can remember, government officials have always been able to come up with new rules and regulations based on information only accessible to them. All of this was made possible thanks to the existing tight hierarchical system, which centralizes information and locks it down.

It goes without saying that many people are not exactly amused by this system, as the everyday person is forced to follow rules based on information they have no knowledge of nor any control over. In a way, this created a society where citizens are passive recipients, forced to live a life as determined by others.

To make matters even worse, government officials monopolize any response with the authority they are empowered with. Rather than opening up this slew of useful information to the relevant communities and creating a foundation for a fruitful dialog, the gap between government and everyday people only widens on a daily basis.

That being said, both Chicago and new York are looking at ways to implement a more modern and transparent system. None of this would be possible without the local communities, who have expressed their desire to connect with officials and the available information in a public manner. This change could serve a multitude of purposes.

First and foremost, making this information openly socialized keeps government officials accountable for all of their action. But what is more important is the basis for co-producing solutions to existing problems with an ever-dynamic team. Additionally, it will also help expose flaws and abuse of power in cities such as new York and Chicago, which will be beneficial to all parties involved.

Governance as a Social Network-esque Platform

With data openly available to both government officials and local communities, a form of governance as a social network is created. Even though that might sound scary at first, previous test projects have produced positive social results in unexpected ways. Having a fresh set of eyes to look at a problematic matter can do wonders, even when it comes to governance.

This change is governance comes at an opportune time, as both technology and transparency are evolving at an accelerated pace. In return, both of these values are being respected and requested more and more by the everyday consumer, leading to the decentralization of information and decision making.

Gone are the times when people had to attend occasional city hall meetings in the hopes of having a say on matters near and dear to their hearts. Even if someone did attend a meeting, their pleas would usually be ignored by government officials anyway. This will no longer be the case, now that communities and officials are in this together to come up with a creative solution.

Both New York and Chicago have tackled this problem by slowly reforming the 311 call center “institute” into a new platform with a Facebook-ish appeal. Additionally, citizens can help the New York City Council members decide how to spend their US$32m budget in their neighborhoods. This process of participatory budgeting is working out quite well so far.

Open Data Movement To Adopt Bitcoin Technology?

The first step has been taken by creating a form of a social network where information is shared and is freely accessible to everyone. But one has to think about the next logical step in the evolution of the open data movement. Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology could play an important role in that regard.

If there is one major fact blockchain technology has taught us, it is that sharing information on a global scale can lead to a unified point of view across the board. Granted, this will not apply to local matters per sé, but it opens up the door to invite a multitude of views and suggestions, which can all benefit communities around the world.

And even though governments and communities can adopt the blockchain without using Bitcoin as a payment method, decentralization is about much more than just information. Knowledge is power — no one will deny that fact. But if we are truly on the brink of an open data revolution, alternate payment methods that operate in a decentralized manner should be one of the top priorities. And right now, Bitcoin is the perfect candidate.

What are your thoughts on the open data movement and creating social network-esque governance? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: TechCrunch

Images courtesy of Shutterstock