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The Big Wide World of Transparency Activism

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, November 18 2010

That there are people working hard the wold over to figure if and how modern technology can be used to make government more transparent and politics more accountability is one of the early takeaways from what's going on down here in Santiago, Chile, where PdF LatAm is chugging along. But a second takeaway is that the many activists and advocacy groups doing that work aren't learning enough from each other's struggles, successes, and failures.

Enter into that space the Technology for Transparency Network, a neat mapping and tracking project operated by Global Voice and Rising Voices that has as its mission "documenting the use of online and mobile technology to promote transparency and accountability around the world," from Colombia's Nuestras Elecciones ("Our Elections") to India's Project Clean Up to the Fair Play Alliance in Slovakia. There's full awareness built into the site that plenty of these projects are experimental. But as people in scores of countries work to break new ground in figuring out how the newest of tools can fix the oldest of problems -- closed, broken societies, being transparent about that process is one way of upping the chances that that process will ultimately produce positive results.