Constitutional Crowdsourcing? Now that’s Gov 2.0!

Iceland rewrites constitution via social networksIn Iceland this week, the leaders of one of the world’s most wired nations took crowdsourcing and Gov 2.0 to a new level. They decided to ask their citizens to submit ideas online about the content of Iceland’s new constitution.

As Iceland continues to recover from its economic collapse of 2009, leaders there decided that their constitution – first written in 1944 – needs a re-write. And since in Iceland, 90 percent of homes are connected to the internet and two-thirds of the population are on Facebook, taking it to the people online was the logical way to go.

But if Iceland can write a constitution online, shouldn’t San Francisco be providing a stronger voice for its citizens online?

All of the talk about Iceland got us thinking about the limitless potential of Gov 2.0 for San Francisco. Re-writing a constitution online may sound like a crazy idea at first, but doesn’t “for the people, by the people” mean all the people should be able to have their voice heard? Shouldn’t our local government hear from people other than the usual suspects, who can show up in the middle of the day during the week, to offer in-person testimony before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors?

Phil Ting has offered several Gov 2.0 ideas to make our city government more inclusive. He recently called for YouTube testimony to be accepted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and just this week called for San Francisco to become the first city in the country to guarantee universal internet access to all of its citizens. Who knows, maybe in a few years we can crowdsource a revised version of the City Charter. 

San Francisco can do more to lead the way on Gov 2.0. If Iceland can re-write a constitution, we can re-write the rules of government in a way that makes the process more open and transparent for all.

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Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137