Chronicling the Bottom Up
Connection Revolution

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Ellen Miller; Transparency and Open Government-- Armaments Against Corporate and Plutocratic Powers


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Broadcast 11/6/2013 at 16:35:42 (0 Listens, 0 Downloads, 0 Itunes)
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Ellen Miller is a warrior, and more-- a funder and builder of armaments designed to directly address and marginalize one of the greatest sources of power held by plutocrats, corporatists and the elected officials and government appointees they partner with-- SECRECY. There are good reasons she's been described as one of the most influential women in technology. 

I've come to believe that secrecy and "opacity," the opposite of transparency, are tools of top-down powers. Transparency and Open government are essential for the bottom-up revolution to go forward full force. 

Ellen Miller is executive director and co-founder of the sunlight foundation. 

Wikipedia says she is a political activist  an advocate for Open Government, who promotes the use of technology to increase transparency in government, and co-founded both the non-profit 501 C3 Sunlight Foundation and  its sister political organization Sunlight Network

She has held several staff-level positions in the US Government: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (1975), Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs (1976--1979), and the Senate Intelligence Committee (1980)

she's been listed as among

  • The Most Influential Women in Technology, Fast Company, January 2009. [5]
  • 15 People The Next President Should Listen To, WIRED Magazine, October, 2008. [6]

She's stopped counting after creating 18 tools and websites. 

"Almost everything Sunlight does uses technology to advance the information that ordinary citizens and journalists have at their fingertips, to engage citizens in demanding accountability, enabling them to tell their government what they think. The phenomenon is only going to getting bigger."

Very Rough Interview Notes- not an article-- more teasers to get you to listen to the interview. Mostly my questions

How are transparency and power connected?

       Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants-- Justice Brandeiss

How do you work to promote transparency as a value. Have you looked at it as a value and what are the dimensions of that value? 

Are there prehistoric indigenous culture, or historical precedents from the founders of the US? What are the mythic dimensions, the stories we have from history, from the classics. 

Basic definitions, transparency, secrecy, and the Sunlight foundation



Tell me how journalists and activists can and do use your tools. 

         Sunlight creates lots of datasets

         APIs just reached their one billionth use. 

Who are the transparency heroes? The friends really helping your cause?

       the hundreds of thousands of people working on transparency and transparency technologies. 

How many people using APIs

       5000 registered users with keys. 

How does transparency empower people from the bottom up?

You've said "Connections between us are what are so critically important""

I believe were in the midst of a connection revolution. Can you talk about the tie between connections and transparency and secrecy?

NSA-- are they already doing the connections?

           Human-centric design

       Open government, transparent open government-- data made freely available. 

What is the Sunlight network? 


What is transparency camp?

      major annual gathering of sunlight foundation

What about business? 

      influence explorer dataset. Type in any company, member  of congress or state official

       General Electric are biggest lobbying force in DC -- they spend most money

What are some of the other ways to look at influence?

       Greatest dollar is National Education Assoc.

       Third is Las Vegas Sands   (sheldon Adelson)

        Venetian resort

What's the best place to go to to find the dozens of tools you've created.

besides General ELectric 

Qui bono. Who benefits from

tools, technology, 

biggest Challenges

who benefits from secrecy? Who benefits from transparency and openness

In terms of who profits, who can benefit-- who profits from transparency and open data?  based on open data

      bloomberg gov open data. 

I'm guessing that already use of open data has spawned industries worth billions. 

effect of transparency on trust


what dreams you started with have come true?

     cultural transformation-- 

     dream that people will be more able and open to being more engaged with government, that government will be more trustworthy will enhance engagement, more voting"

How does the US fit in, i terms of transparency and secrecy-- 

        Not number 1

International consortium-- open government partnership

        moved from 2 governments participating to 60

What can listeners and readers do to help you?

     go to the website

     distributed, crowdsourcing

Last question-- university graduate studies--

      Technology literacy-- 

are schools teaching transparency-- 

         don't silo as study-- address as   open government, open societies

NYU has an open gov lab.

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Rob Kall is the host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360, where he discusses how the bottom up mind and bottom up revolution are reaching different areas of the world, of life, of politics, business, society and anywhere else.

Rob is founder and site architect of (more...)

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