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Noveck’s Proposals for Open Government

Here is a very nice NYT profile of Beth Noveck’s work at the White House to use technology to enhance democracy:

The White House made its first major entree into government by the people last month when it set up an online forum to ask ordinary people for their ideas on how to carry out the president’s open-government pledge. . . .

Most of the suggestions were closely related to the topic at hand, like publishing a list of everyone who meets with the president, using computer graphics to track how rapidly agencies respond to Freedom of Information Act requests and installing webcams to monitor federal offices. The administration’s goal is to devise regulations that would tell federal agencies how to make their operations more open to the public. . . .

Ms. Noveck has some confidence that the effort will result in better government because she has built something like this before. As a professor, she worked with the United States Patent Office to test a system that invited the public to help evaluate patent applications. Companies that apply for a lot of patents, like I.B.M. and General Electric, participated in the optional program because the public comments helped patent examiners consider their applications more quickly.

Having praised Noveck’s Peer to Patent, I’m thrilled she’s taken on more responsibilities in the new administration.