Right to Information and Transparency in the Digital Age: Policy, Tools and Practices

Monday, March 11, 2013
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Bechtel Conference Center


Access to information has become one of the most promising tools to combat corruption, increase people’s participation in (self) governance and thus, to strengthen democracy.  Since the 1960s there has been a steady progress in the number of countries that have legislated access to information laws, and over eighty countries have such laws today.  There have also been several social developments and innovations which embrace access to information, such as open constitution reform process in Iceland, open innovation challenges by the United States government, participatory budgeting processes in Germany, Finland and Canada and social audits in India, just to mention few. As a parallel development, the open data movement is evolving in several countries, pushed forward by both civil society and governments, and incentivized by the global Open Government Partnership network. These practices are supported by open innovation and open design strategies, which the public sector is increasingly adopting.

These open and participatory practices give tools for citizens to monitor governments, to hold them accountable, and to practice agency in the public sphere. The right to information and transparency movements can be considerably strengthened by creative use of information technologies – but realizing this potential requires us to revisit the design of RTI policies, tools and practices to update them to serve citizens in the digital age. In re-evaluating the tools for accountability, we should be mindful that increased use of accountability technologies suggests re-articulations of the power structures in modern societies, including new forms of social control, new spaces for public deliberation and new conceptualizations of participation in democracy.

The workshop will convene both practitioners and academics to discuss their work in the area and to examine the theoretical and practical implications of these phenomena. We seek to bring together people engaged in law, policy, social movements, administration, technology, design and the use of technology for accessing information.  We propose to go well beyond the issue of accessing information by looking at the use of technology to record, store, process and disseminate public information, and to create interactive spaces in the public sphere so that the full potential of ICT for transparency can be realized.

For more information, please look at the Conference Website http://www.stanford.edu/group/libtech/cgi-bin/rtitech or contact Tanja Aitamurto at tanjaa@stanford.edu or Vivek Srinivasan at vivekdse@stanford.edu.

While we welcome participants who do not wish to present a paper or a project, we require registration at the Conference Website.



Conference Videos


Session 1: Getting Information Providers Ready for Transparency & Citizen Engagement 1
Chris Vein, World Bank: Open innovation:
Ethan McMahon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: 
John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation:
Sarah Oh, National Democratic Institute:
Luke Heemsbergen, University of Melbourne: 
Session 2: Getting Information Providers Ready for Transparency & Citizen Engagement 2
Nicholas Skytland, National Aeronautics and Space Agency: 
Tariq Khokhar, World Bank:
Rajesh Veeraraghavan,  School of Information, UC Berkeley: 
Session 3: Technologies for Transparency and Citizen Engagement in Cities
Juan-Pablo Velez, Open City Project: 
Shannon Spanhake, City of San Francisco: 
Whitney Smithers, The City of Calgary: 
Jerry Hall,
Session 4: Monitoring Critical Institutions
Finnur Magnusson, CTO, Icelandic Constitution Council: 
Helene Landemore, Yale University: Constitution
Lauren Kunis, National Democratic Institute: 
Lawrence Repeta, Meiji University: 
Online archive of government record related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster
Olusem Onigbinde, yourbudgit.com: 
Retelling the Nigerian budget across literacy spans
Jonida (Yona) Cali, Egovlab, Stockholm University: 
Session 5: What Happens Between Access to Data and Action
Alissa Black, New America Foundation: 
Participatory Budgeting: Illuminating Public Decision Making
David Herzog, Missouri School of Journalism: 
Data driven journalism
Alexey Sidorenko, Teplitsa of Social Technologies: 
Innovations by Teplitsa of Social Technologies, Russia
Issa Pla, Institute of Legal Research, Unam: 
Information poverty and the right to acess public information. A capabilities related issue
Katrin Verclas, National Democratic Institute: 
Koebel Price, National Democratic Institute: 
Liliana Bounegru, European Journalism Centre , University of Amsterdam: 
Sourcing practices in data journalism - Guardian, NYT and Pro Publica
Session 6: Technological Platforms & Tools for Transparency and Citizen Engagement
Djordje Padejski, Center for Investigative Reporting, UC Berkeley: 
Gabriela Rodriguez, Datauy: 
Aditya Vashista, Technologies for emerging markets group, Microsoft Research, India: 
Anas Qtiesh, Meedan: 
Andrew Schrock, USC Annenberg: 
Camille Crittenden, Data and Democracy Initiative, UC Berkeley: 
Session 7: Legal Challenges to Technology and the Right to Information
Paivi Tiilikka, University of Helsinki: 
Access to information as a Human right in the case-law of the ECtHR
Timonty Vollmer, Creative Commons:
Enrique Armijo, Elon University School of Law: 
Session 8: Barriers to Expression & Participation
David Caragliano, National Democratic Institute: 
Minda Rady, Department of Political Science, MIT: Anonymity networks:
Platforms for emerging cyber international conflict
Bill Thies, Technologies for emerging markets group, Microsoft Research India: 
Cristian Zapata, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) Brasil: 
Lindsay Beck, National Democratic Institute: 
Session 9: What Does This All Amount to: Assessing the Impact of Transparency
Daniel Posner, Department of Political Science, MIT: 
Does information lead more active citizenship? Evidence from an education intervention in rural Kenya
Guy Grossman, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania: 
Jeremy Weinstein, Department of Political Science, Stanford University: 
Conference Agenda
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