Quarkside

14/12/2011

Democratic Accountability: Look at Lobbying

Filed under: Governance,Politics — lenand @ 12:08 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Thanks to the Great Emancipator we have seen a US view of “Government-wide Information Sharing for Democratic Accountability“.  The author, J.H. Snider, is suggesting using semantic web technology to monitor the connections between powerful politicians, public officials and lobbyists.  He points out that these techniques are used on the weaker members of society, but the powerful will cite privacy and cost for not applying the same methods on their activities. He recommends that the President’s transactions are monitored in detail as a showcase for monitoring Congress and executive relationships.  What are the chances of linking up data of the Prime Minister, Ministers, senior civil servants, leaders of councils and their suppliers of hospitality?

Well, there is the work going on in the Cabinet Office led cross-government information architecture.  They are attempting to use standards to provide interoperability between different departments and agencies.   Amongst these are the building of an “Upper Ontology for Operational Service Delivery” – perhaps this has the same intention as Snider’s “Who-What-When-Where ontology”.  The USA has a more accessible name for what may be the same thing.

It will take a long time, if ever, to develop a lobbying information system. Even though some MPs are calling for the establishment of a register it would eventually have to be linked to lots more sources of reliable data.

Where Quarkside differs from Snider is in the use of Global Unique Idenifiers (GUIDs).  They may think they have them in the USA, but it is not credible or politically acceptable in the UK. Reflecting back on a post from last year,

  • A person does not need a Unique Identifier (UID).
  • The Law does not demand a UID.
  • Use just sufficient data to identify a person.

Openness in personal relationships can only built from an understanding of federated identity, multiple identities, not by demanding a UID.  The likes of Experian can do it – so could UK plc. Maybe Liam Maxwell could assist here. Maybe we could also publish information about political lobbying that would improve democratic accountability.

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