News and Coverage

Mr. Hacker Goes to Washington

Geek Life, Mobile and The Web
Location: Imperial Ballroom Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.83, 6 ratings)

Want to help fix democracy? Hackers, those crazy Utopian dreamers with DIY attitudes, have begun a sustained assault on government with projects like the Sunlight Foundation, OpenCongress, GovTrack,, FedSpending, MySociety, and Public.Resource. The goal? Access to treasure troves of data, holding politicians more accountable, and remaking governance in the open, transparent model of the Web. But is it possible?

With insider stories from three years of living in DC and helping to visualize earmarks on Google maps and create APIs for government spending, this hacker explains why the tipping point has already occurred and what comes next with the transparency movement.

From the SEC’s overhaul of EDGAR to congressional twittering, this talk provides a whirl-wind tour of how opaque yet surprisingly accessible our federal government is along with a buffet of action-able resources, initiatives, and activities.

Photo of Greg Elin

Greg Elin

Sunlight Foundation

Greg Elin created the Sunlight Labs at the Sunlight Foundation in 2006 and now serves as the organization’s Chief Data Architect, where he researches and evangelizes new ways to share heterogeneous, incomplete government data. The Sunlight Foundation is a Washington DC-based non-partisan grant making and programming foundation committed to helping citizens, bloggers and journalists be their own best congressional watchdogs, by improving access to existing information and digitizing new information, and by creating new tools and Web sites to enable all of us to collaborate in fostering greater transparency. Greg Elin is also the creator of Fotonotes, an open-source image annotation technology, and has attended Etech for many years and learned a great deal.

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Picture of Gene Becker
Gene Becker
03/11/2009 11:54am PDT

Sunlight is a huge idea, support these guys please

  • Sun Microsystems
  • Yahoo! Inc.
  • IEEE
  • Make magazine
  • Orange Labs