The next in the series Tech@State concerns Open Source. It would be interesting to engage with the idea of openness in light of the controversies and contexts wherein transparency and participation seemingly are at odds with US Foreign Policy.
““We recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Remarks on Internet Freedom
Tech@State: Open Source is a conference designed to convene those with an interest in government use of Open Source technologies and those who can envision an “Open Source future” that supports improvements to the world’s information infrastructure. Whether your interest is policy, code, data sharing or communication, you’ll find the right people in attendance to help you get things done. Save the date now, and join us on February 11, 2011.
The Open Source movement has opened a window for rapid development and implementation of technological solutions in the government space, but there are unresolved issues. How do we address procurement, accessibility, and security issues? Do policies written for other forms of technology apply in this space? What standards are in place for developing Open Source projects and documenting them? What can the larger government community learn from organizations that are already using Open Source technologies, and how might they use them better? And, ultimately, what is the role of government in creating a healthy community for open source innovation?
To develop a more thoughtful information infrastructure for our global community, we need to collaborate across governments, communities and networks. Important initiatives like Civil Society 2.0 and Open Government are taking advantage of Open Source technologies to enable innovation, coordinate communities, and engage citizens in the United States and around the world. Organizations and individuals are developing projects that rely on Open Source technologies to rapidly respond to disasters, provide reliable citizen services, and design information resource collectives. Discussing Open Source at Tech@State is a natural means of gathering more collaborators and methods around today’s most pressing multinational issues.”
From USC Annenberg News:
“Mobile Voices wins UN information technology award
Mobile Voices/Voces Móviles, the microblogging project designed in collaboration with USC Annenberg and the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California, or IDEPSCA, has won a United Nations-sponsored World Summit Award for innovative mobile applications.
“Today, we fulfilled where we said that Mobile Voices is a window to the universe where the voices of those who for centuries have been excluded can be heard,” read a statement prepared by the IDEPSCA Popular Communication team, the group of day laborers and household workers who developed the Mobile Voices system.
Mobile Voices is an open-source platform that lets mobile phone users post text, photo and video content to a publicly available website. Day laborers and household workers across Los Angeles, as well as members of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), have used the interface to report news, distribute information and share stories about their work, lives, and their points of view.
“One of the unique strengths of VozMob is that it was designed from the start in close collaboration with the immigrant workers it serves,” said communication professor François Bar (pictured at right), one of the USC Annenberg scholars on the project team. “This United Nations award brings global recognition to the value of our participatory design approach.”
The awards are given by the United Nations in recognition of online and mobile content that promotes global digital access and inclusion in the communication revolution, especially in developing countries and underserved communities. More than 420 products from nearly 100 countries were considered for awards.
Mobile Voices is one of five winners in the “m-Inclusion & Empowerment” category, targeted to those apps that “support integration within the global information society.” Other winners in the category included a German application providing resources for handicapped people and an SMS-integrated program linking remote communities in Guatemala.
The winning project teams will receive their awards in December at the World Summit Award Mobile Winners’ Gala, Conference and Expo in Abu Dhabi. In addition to an awards ceremony, the three-day conference brings together global leaders in mobile application development for networking and knowledge exchange.
Bar said the award was “a great honor for everyone who has worked hard to make VozMob a success — IDEPSCA and LACAN workers, community organizers, Annenberg students and open-source programmers.”"
Random Hacks of Kindness is holding a their third “hackathon” on Dec 4th and 5th, 2010. Hackathons are “a global gathering of hackers in many locations around the world, coming together in real time for a marathon weekend of coding around problems relating to natural disaster risk and response.”
“Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is all about using technology to make the world a better place by building a community of innovation. RHoK brings software engineers together with disaster relief experts to identify critical global challenges, and develop software to respond to them. A RHoK Hackathon event brings together the best and the brightest hackers from around the world, who volunteer their time to solve real-world problems.”
RHoK was developed by a team from the funded by Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, NASA and The World Bank.
“Sustainable, Affordable Support to Stressed Populations
TIDES is a research project dedicated to open-source knowledge sharing to promote sustainable support to populations under severe stress—post-war, post-disaster, or impoverished, in foreign or domestic contexts, for short-term or long-term (multi-year) operations. The project provides reach-back “knowledge on demand” to decision-makers and those working in the field. It helps catalyze public-private, whole-of-government, and trans-national approaches to encourage unity of action among diverse organizations where there is no unity of command. TIDES maintains this website, where anyone in the project’s network (called STAR-TIDES) can publish their work for feedback and critique.”
“This research project is coordinated at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) at the National Defense University (NDU), which is part of the Department of Defense.”
Created in the autumn of 2008, End Slavery Now (ESN) is a charitable organization based in Washington DC. Their mission is to utilize the widespread capabilities of the Internet to help fight against human trafficking. To do this, they have created an aggregate website that both serves to inform the public about trafficking while being a host to a bevy of links and information in how to get involved.
“Our purpose is to support the work of grassroots activists and anti-trafficking organizations, and to grow and advance the anti-trafficking movement, by consolidating and sharing resources, best practices, and events; and by promoting their work through various social media channels and free listings in the New Underground Railroad™.
ESN leverages the power of the Internet combined with database technology to empower members of the anti-trafficking movement to efficiently coordinate their efforts to combat slavery; to share information with partners and stakeholders; to coordinate grassroots efforts through social networking; and to make meaningful contributions in the anti-trafficking movement.”
Their website consists of: an up-to-date global news feed (as of 10/5/10), a self-published blog, photo and video galleries, a basic overview of the human trafficking situation, a global calendar of anti-trafficking events, governmental and organizational links that are anti-trafficking based, and additional ways to keep receiving updates via email to social networking tools.