The folks at MIT’s Media Lab have set up Open Government Information Awareness, in the hopes of creating “a Google of government, a massive Internet clearinghouse of information to help citizens track their leaders as effectively as their leaders track them. …GIA hopes to create an enormous but self-sustaining community where users do the work of keeping it running and credible.”
Some excerpts from the mission statement:
As the government broadens internal surveillance, and collaborates with private institutions to access data on the public, it is crucial that we maintain a symmetry of accountability. If we believe the United States should be a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” it is of central importance to provide citizens with the power to oversee their government. At least as much effort should be spent building tools to facilitate citizens supervising their government as tools to help the government monitor individuals.
The Open Government Information Awareness suite of software tools acts as a framework for US citizens to construct and analyze a comprehensive database on our government. Modeled on recent government programs designed to consolidate information on individuals into massive databases, our system does the opposite, allowing you to scrutinize those in government. Citizens are able to explore data, track events, find patterns, and build risk profiles, all in an effort to encourage and motivate action. We like to think of it as a Citizen