Friday, August 29, 2014

Young people in Australia are highly engaged in politics - but engagement has moved online. Have governments?

A few years ago I heard it said by political advisors that one hand-written letter to a Minister counts for more than 100 emails on the same topic.

The perception was that if someone sat down and wrote their thoughts in long-hand it showed more interest and commitment than if they typed and posted them online in a blog, social network or website.

I believe this has changed slightly, with emails now accorded almost equal status with postal mail (largely by treating them in the same manner as postal mail, which isn't always appropriate).

However the value placed on blog posts or social media commentary by both politicians and departments still remains far lower than the value that individuals using these channels place on their communication via these channels.

This discrepancy becomes particularly concerning when looking at the level of political activity amongst younger and older people in Australia.

Based on the 'traditional' forms of political engagement - joining political parties, participating in street protests, writing letters and otherwise using physical means to communicate political views - young people are generally considered unengaged, even disconnected, from politics.

This appeared to be supported by a recent study by the University of Canberra commissioned by the Museum of Australian Democracy. (reported on by the ABC and Hijacked)

This study found that, based on these traditional forms of engagement, young people were far less engaged than older people. In fact people aged under 35 were only about half as engaged as those over 70 years old, and were the least engaged of any age group.

Source: ABC Lateline

However, the study went much further, looking at modern forms of political engagement - blogging, tweeting, memes, apps and other digital techniques - as well.

When combining traditional and modern forms of engagement the situation was very, very different.

Suddenly young people were just as engaged as the oldest Australians and more engaged than many of the age groups inbetween.


On this basis, including both marching in the streets and creating online petitions, young people are quite engaged in politics in Australia, with a large amount of their engagement occurring online rather than offline.

This can be hard for older Australians to grasp - they often don't understand the internet as younger people do, having been brought up on newspapers, radio and television.

Not coincidentally, a disproportionate number of our politicians, top bureaucrats, corporate leadership and leading journalists fall into these older groups - therefore they are often not equipped to even see, let alone understand, the ways in which younger people are engaging politically.

This divide isn't necessarily a problem, but it could become one. When insisting that young people follow the same political approaches as their elders, older people are devaluing newer forms of political expression and underestimating its reach and force.

Where politicians, departmental Secretaries and CEOs gauge the public's mood by signals such as how many people show up to protest, they may overlook the new signals, when hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people organise and protest online, until it is too late for them to change course.

There have already been examples of how politicians, media and CEOs have misread the public mood as they still rely on traditional, rather than modern political signals.

Until our 'elders' begin to recognise that times have changed and continue to change, they will continue to be blindsided as innovation continues in political protests.

For example, there was the creation of the Stop Tony Meow plug-in for Chrome, which replaces images of Tony Abbott in the web browser with pictures of kittens. The plug-in has been downloaded over 11,000 times and attracted significant media coverage as an anti-Coalition political statement.

There's also been the recent Dolebludger app available for Android mobile devices, which allows someone to send job application emails in a matter of seconds to 40 Coalition MPs, meeting the proposed monthly job application requirement. This was designed specifically as a political protest against a policy seen by the creator (and many public commentators) as absurd.

On top of this we have the endless string of memes created using free online tools which take photos of politicians and adds text to make a political point. These are then shared widely on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other platforms.

And, more disturbingly, we've recently seen hackers take down a stock exchange and call on the nation's president to take action on a given matter under threat of having confidential financial data released publicly. Where did this last form of political protest occur? In Syria - a country not known as a bastion of democracy.

Similarly striking into illegal behaviour, we've recently seen the use of a phony bomb threat tweet to disrupt the flight of a Sony Executive as part of a protest against Sony's corporate behaviour.

Online political expression is evolving quickly, with new approaches emerging frequently and proliferating widely, if they work, or dying away when they don't.

The old view that people would get out on the street and protest if they were really unhappy is no longer supported by the evidence - and the notion that online activism is simply 'slacktivism' and doesn't represent significant numbers or strong views is equally no longer supportable.

Governments - both politically and administratively - need to build their understanding of modern approaches to political engagement and learn how to use and defuse them (as appropriate) to serve their own ends.

Otherwise there are real and growing risks that a government or public agency will be severely damaged or brought down through online political avenues - channels that they weren't effectively monitoring, didn't hold in high regard and catastrophically undervalued.







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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Algorithm detected Ebola outbreak nine days before health authorities using internet posts

There's a great article over at TechRepublic by Lyndsey Gilpin on how the computer algorithm behind HealthMap detected the recent Ebola outbreak nine days before it was identified by health authorities.

In How an algorithm detected the Ebola outbreak a week early, and what it could do next, Gilpin describes how by tracking, collating and corroborating information published in online news sources and social media, the algorithm was able to identify the 'mystery hemorrhagic fever' over a week before official health agencies.

However the significance of the outbreak was not realised by HealthMap founders until after health authorities got involved.

This type of use of internet 'chatter' and algorithms to make sense of the world offers enormous potential for organisations to better identify and understand underlying trends.

For government this means the ability to identify outbreaks of human, animal and crop diseases earlier, detect early indications of potential crises and trends in population views and behaviours.

In all these cases it gives government the opportunity - using only public sources of information - to react sooner and more appropriately, containing problems and getting ahead of issues.

Equally this capability can be used by commercial entities for marketing and product development, by financial organisations for faster and better informed investment decisions and by activists, lobbyists, foreign interests and terrorists to identify weak points for destabilising a nation or gaining advantage.

It remains early days in this area - not as early as when Google first released its flu map for Australia back in 2009 - but early enough that few organisations are, as yet, investing in this area (giving them a huge advantage over rivals).

However with HealthMap's algorithms now successful at screening out over 90% of unrelated information, the value of using this type of approach in policy and service delivery has now reached the point of commercial viability, which should only accelerate investment and research into the area in coming years.

If Australian governments aren't yet mining the public internet for intelligence to help improve decision-making, hopefully it won't be long until they do - at least to contend against others who might use this intelligence for less than positive purposes.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Government agencies need to think open first with all content - example of the Clean Energy Regulator

Last week the Clean Energy Regulator released a calendar that illustrates when other government agencies use National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting data.

Called the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting publication calendar, this is useful data for locating government reports on energy and climate change. It also serves a secondary role in highlighting the importance of the information collected and released by the regulator.

Now a calendar, by its nature, is simply a table of data - so it would make sense to release this calendar as data. Indeed as it is a public document, with no security or private constraints, it is a perfect candidate to be released as open data.

This would allow the calendar to be mashed up with other data on the topic to present, perhaps, a comprehensive calendar of climate change and energy research in Australia.

Indeed it would likely be simpler to release this calendar as data than as a formatted document, which would require additional formatting and conversion steps. This could also meet all government accessibility requirements, as well as making the data easily reusable by others.

So what did the Clean Energy Regulator do?

They released the calendar only as a DOC and a PDF.

*deep sigh*

It's clear to me that there's still a major disconnect in government regarding when and how to release data in an open way.

This is likely an education gap, but also a KPI gap. If public servants were required in their KPIs to ensure that relevant public content they were responsible for was published in an open and machine-readable fashion we might see some change.


Essentially agencies need to embed 'open thinking' at the start of their reporting and research processes, working from the basis that all data that is being released publicly - including content such as calendars, lists, financial accounts and more - should be available in a reusable open format.


In this case I've 'liberated' the data for the Clean Energy Regulator and let data.gov.au know, as I did recently for ACT Crime Statistics data.

In this case I've even improved the data by turning the month field into a working date, fixing the errors (where closing brackets were dropped), separating out web addresses as a new field and separating Department/Agency name from the note that follows it, thereby allowing Department/Agency to be analysed and grouped. (view it at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xlnfd0H9t4O1JzdNqhjfeUCw7Oxk1XN7DYM_WbAHZ-c/edit?usp=sharing)

I've also done some analysis on the number of reports by agency and month (as below).



This is the type of work that individuals like me should not be doing.

It's what agencies and individual public servants need to take responsibility for - particularly when opening up the data is actually simpler than locking it down into a less open form.

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting publication calendar is now (unofficially) available as a Google spreadsheet for reuse. The Clean Energy Regulator is welcome to take a copy and use it for their publishing updates.

You'll find it at:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xlnfd0H9t4O1JzdNqhjfeUCw7Oxk1XN7DYM_WbAHZ-c/edit?usp=sharing


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Friday, August 22, 2014

My presentation from DrupalGov: How open source is powering government

I've attended DrupalGov today in Canberra. Below is my presentation for people who missed it.

There's also a recording that will become available in due course.



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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why should governments continue to control voting systems and processes?

Having centralised systems for voting is the standard approach for countries around the world.

In most places it is simply accepted that the government funds the system for election and referendum voting - funding the polling places, ballot boxes, officials and vote counting systems, whether this be directly or at arms length via a body independent of government, but reliant on government funding.

And let's face it, voting is integral to governance. Voting provides legitimacy to a country's government, providing some form of mandate for a ruling party and ensuring that populations are satisfied with a given set of representatives by giving them a role in choosing them.

Looking at it cynically, having governments control voting could be seen as a conflict of interest - the politicians with an interest in re-election both create the electoral laws and fund the system for casting ballots.

Indeed in some parts of the world systematic electoral fraud is a major concern - the government can influence elections outcomes by changing the legal requirements for voting, adjusting electoral boundaries, place onerous condition on forming or operating new parties or on standing for election, limit electoral donations or advertising by opposition parties, or restricting physical access to ballot boxes.

That's before getting to issues with who votes, how many times and how the votes are counted.

In countries where there's substantial trust in governance and the electoral system these issues are generally small-scale, though ever present as we continue to see with voter identification laws introduced in some US states, major parties voting themselves more electoral funding (as Australia's two major parties tried to do in 2013) and individual examples of bad practice by candidates across all democracies.

In places where democracy is fragile and institutions are weak these issues are magnified, and various systems have been developed to keep elections honest - independent observers are often involved (where allowed) to scrutinise an electoral process; citizens and activist groups have photographed and published issues at ballot boxes online via mobile devices, first in ad hoc ways and then via map-based reporting systems such as Ushahidi; entire websites dedicated to exposing electoral fraud and bad practice have popped up around the world.

These systems have often migrated back to established democracies, for example, the mobile phone tool used to scrutinise the 2007 Kenyan elections was reused in the US Presidential race in 2008, demonstrating that in sustaining freedom to vote, eternal vigilance remains important.

However these are simply systems to scrutinise how governments run elections, rather than independent voting processes. They watch and report what happens in electoral systems, but don't seek to replace these systems directly.

Switzerland is perhaps unique in that it has an entrenched system of direct democracy which allows citizens to overrule parliament through a plebiscite vote - but even then the electoral process is funded and managed by the state.

More recently we've seen pseudo-electoral systems emerge - online petition systems like Change.org, which is having a material impact on government decisions. We've also seen systems that allow citizens to put forward laws to parliaments using banking details to validate individual supports (voters) for a given legislative proposal.

Governments broadly keep these systems at arms length, retaining the discretion to ignore these votes where they choose, for whatever reason they see fit - and fair enough, these systems are often flawed electorally, representing specific groups, can be prone to some level of gaming and don't have the same level of scrutiny as a formal government-run electoral process.

However the technology now exists for this to change - and it already is, beginning in Hong Kong.

In June this year two legislative steps by China were seen in Hong Kong to weaken the 'One country, Two system' approach that the city had been operating under since reunification with China.

As a result academics and citizens of Hong Kong started the ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ campaign, which involved the non-violent occupation of the main business district of the city with the goal of achieving universal suffrage for voting in time for the 2017 election of the next Hong Kong Chief Executive.

Attached to this process was an unofficial city referendum which took place from June 20th – June 29th 2014. The poll asked two simple questions: which proposal for universal suffrage would you like to see implemented in Hong Kong and should the legislative council adopts an universal suffrage system if it does not abide with the international definition?

This was held outside (and without the support) of Hong Kong's government by citizens, involving online, mobile and physical voting at 20 'pop-up' polling booths set up across the city, with all Hong Kong residents aged over 18 eligible to vote.

While there were official efforts to prevent the referendum, including a large scale attack on the referendum website, the confiscation of voting boxes by Chinese officials and censorship of mentions of the referendum online by Chinese authorities, these did not prevent large scale voting by citizens.

At the end of the ten day process, 798,000 residents had voted - over 20 per cent of the eligible population. Most had voted via the mobile apps, with the second most popular way being online.

Despite the turnout, the Hong Kong government took the view that civil referendums had no legal standing under Hong Kong law, and therefore the result could be ignored.

This led to the largest public protest in Hong Kong since 2003, with over 500,000 people taking to the streets on July 1st 2014.

A good article detailing the process in detail is at Free Speech Debate, as Vote for Hong Kong – on the streets and online.

This type of unofficial civil referendum, where citizens get together to develop robust electoral systems and use them to state a view to a government, is possible today in much of the world.

The notion that voting systems are the province of governments, that only a central jurisdiction can manage a fair national electoral approach, simply no longer holds true.

So while citizens may choose to allow governments to manage these systems, it is feasible to outsource them - on a case-by-case or a permanent basis, detaching electoral processes from the individuals and groups seeking power.

In the future we may see more populations hold their own civil referendums on government policy or on who governs them.

While governments might decry these as illegitimate, as they are not covered within the laws that parliaments have created, these civil electoral processes may indeed be more legitimate in the long run - as the voting process and system are not designed or modified at the whim of those who hold power.

Indeed it will be interesting to see how the government of an advanced democracy reacts in the face of a civil referendum. Even if they deny the legitimacy of the process, they may find it hard to ignore the democratic backlash.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Who won GovHack's National prizes - analysis

I've done some work analysing who actually won the National awards at GovHack based on the official results at govhack.org/2014-winners/, and this is what I've discovered...

There were 87 National GovHack awards given out to Projects and Teams, with one GovHack subcategory (Best Science Reporting) unawarded. Of these, 66 awards were awarded to Teams for their Projects, and 21 to Teams as team achievement awards that were not for a specific project.

Every GovHack location except for Mount Gambier won at least one national award.

Fifty six different teams won awards (across the entire eighty seven awards), with the leading prize winner being Sarbii from Perth with five awards, followed by Jonathan and Wai, Michael de Hoog and R3K1 on four awards and another six teams winning three awards. Eighty per cent of winning teams won either two or one award.



Forty five projects won an award (across the sixty six prizes for projects). Show the Gap was the top awarded project, with four awards, followed by eight projects with three awards: CancerMash, Data-by-region comparator, Energy Calculator and Comparison tool, Sarbii - Search and Rescue, Stat.Map, The Hack Report, What is Gov (Baby don't hurt me) and When the Heck am I?

Again about eighty per cent of winning projects won one or two awards.



Looking at locations, Canberra was the biggest winner by number of prizes (24), followed by Sydney (17), Adelaide (13) and Perth (11).


By the number of prizes relative to the number of entries, noting that some entries won more than one prize so this overstates the actual share of entries that won prizes, the winning location was Tasmania (89%), followed by Canberra (77%), Sydney (68%) and Perth (61%).

The most prizes were awarded in the Team category (22), followed by Best Social Inclusion (Hack (14), Best Business Hack (13) and Best Digital Humanities Hack (12).



You can see all of these statistics and more, as well as links to all the winners, in my Google spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18H4gWSuVLb5Mjt84YdymeXSlSaAxjY78lX5T90i6RmQ/edit?usp=sharing

There were also several prizes given to government agencies which I've not analysed:
  • Best Government Participation, won by the South Australian Government, with 2nd place shared by the Federal Department of Communication and The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; and
  • Highest Voted Government Data, won by the National Library for Trove and 2nd place going to the Victorian Building Authority.
I've not analysed local awards, which are visible or linked from the bottom of the GovHack winners page.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

NSW highlights open data as one of four focuses in the Premier's Innovation Initiative

The NSW government today launched the NSW Premier's Innovation Initiative, a program seeking expressions of interest in projects that support NSW government innovation in four focal areas - Congestion, Social Housing Assets, Open Ideas and Open Data.

The process will invite organisations and individuals to submit Expressions of Interest setting out proposals the government could consider in one or more focal area.

Following this, selected respondents will be invited to submit full proposals for funding and implementation consideration.

While this process is far more complex and bureaucratic that similar processes I've seen run in the US, UK and other nations , it is great to see a government in Australia taking the step to formally ask the community for ideas and proposals to improve aspects of the state and government.

The inclusion of Open Data is quite notable. This looks like a genuine and sophisticated attempt to accelerate the NSW open data agenda, involving the consumers of the data in the process of defining what data is released and how.

Given the significant economic value attributed to opening up public sector data it is good to see both the attention and the funding placed behind this initiative - in too many cases we see only one, or neither of these, with open data catalogues run on a shoestring and their managers required to cajole and beg government agencies into participating by supplying data.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Support the Emergency 2.0 wiki's founder to present and participate in the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference in Switzerland

Eileen Culleton, the Founder and CEO of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki has been offered a speaking slot at the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference (#IDRC2014) and is crowdfunding the money she needs to get there.

The International Disaster and Risk Conference from IDRC is one of the world's premier risk management conferences, attracting over 1,000 delegates from more than 100 countries and supported by hundreds of disaster and risk management organisations, associations and not-for-profits around the world. This year it is being held from 24-28 August in Davos, Switzerland.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki is a free online global resource and knowledge sharing hub for using social media and new technologies in emergencies. The wiki serves a global hub for emergency response agencies, government, NGOs, schools, hospitals, community groups, faith based groups, business, media and citizens to use social media to better prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

The wiki includes tips, guides, mobile apps, mapping tools, videos and an international directory of emergency services on social media. It has tips for citizens to help themselves and help others, an accessibility toolkit for people with disabilities and guidelines for emergency services, government, community groups and NGOs, schools, hospitals and business.

Eileen runs the wiki (as its voluntary CEO) with the support of a range of volunteers. It does not currently attract funding from governments or risk management organisations.


Eileen's attendance at the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference is an opportunity to showcase the expertise of Australia's emergency sector and the great work of Australian volunteers within and outside government in building the Emergency 2.0 wiki.

It is an opportunity to highlight and extend Australia's expertise in emergency management to the world.

However this isn't just a speaking slot, it is also an opportunity to shape world emergency management policy into the future.

As a speaker Eileen will be making recommendations for the Post 2015 Disaster Risk Framework that will be ratified at the UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in 2015.


Eileen ran a previous successful crowdsourcing campaign to raise the funds for the conference fee. She's now crowdfunding her travel.

As a volunteer, Eileen would otherwise have to pay out of her own pocket - which isn't a great way to promote Australia's expertise to the world.

You can support Eileen via her Pozible crowdfounding campaign at www.pozible.com/project/184557

Also please share Eileen's campaign via your social networks, and with your peers across government and the emergency management space.

Every dollar counts!

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ACT Crime Stats data - ready for people to analyse and mashup

At GovHack a few weeks ago my team, The Hack Warriors, wanted to integrate ACT crime data into our project 'Where Should I?'

While the ACT makes the data available visually in the awesome Crime Statistics site, it wasn't available as open data from data.act.gov.au.

So during the weekend I went through the code for the Crime Statistics site and (with a little help) identified where the data was coming from. I was able to download the actual Crime Stats data and process it into a spreadsheet with all the figures by suburb.

For reuse purposes I put the data up as a public Google Fusion table, which anyone can now access via a search of Fusion tables, or via the direct web address: https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?docid=1Cztgi-LF4CtXtS-EbU1M6JXnZAzPt1wLAH5YdXnN#rows:id=1

What this means is that now anyone who wants to mine the crime statistics for the ACT can do so easily using this table - performing statistical analysis or mashing it up with other data and mapping it easily.

Even better I found that while the ACT Crime Statistics site allowed people to see data back to 2010, the actual data went all the way back to 2007 - providing more historical data than is visually available from the site.

So if you want to play with the actual numbers behind the ACT's Crime Statistics site - you could start with the table below.




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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't help your official agency and Ministerial photos become parody memes through poor selection and timing

A challenge today for politicians and public servants is how easy it is for a photo or frame from a video to be reused out-of-context to parody, well, literally anything.

We've seen the increasing use of 'photoshopped' images on social media to support all kinds of political and social positions, ranging from the clever and amusing to the downright disturbing.

Two of the most notable examples - which have become memes in their own right - include the 'floating Chinese officials' from 2011, the result of the accidental upload of a poorly photoshopped image of three council officials (below).


The image appeared to show the officials (including the County mayor and vice-mayor) floating above the road and was immediately parodied by internet users, who placed the officials in a range of amusing and inappropriate locations, such as below.


The second example of a government photo-turned-meme was the phone call from David Cameron to President Obama in March this year, where the UK Prime Minister tweeted a serious photo of him listening to a landline phone, claiming he was on the phone to President Obama of the USA to discuss the Ukrainian situation (below).



This was parodied by a range of people, who started by posting tweets of them speaking on the phone, and then on a variety of other items. It even attracted celebrity attention from people like Sir Patrick Stewart (as below), and in the end David Cameron played along and tweeted a photo of him meeting an ex-US President in person.


This second 'on the phone' meme was replicated a month after the Cameron call in Australia when the Prime Minister tweeted a serious photo of himself on the phone addressing the MH17 crisis. This was predictably mocked by many people online in the same vein.

Now while it isn't possible to prevent the 'photoshopping' of images and their reuse in parody form, it is possible for agencies and politicians to consider what images they wish to 'put out there' to reduce the prospect of having their message overshadowed by a clever, funny or touching parody.

This means avoiding deliberately publishing images which are obvious fodder for parody - anything related to being 'on the phone', 'inspecting developments' or easily misinterpreted facial expressions.

It is also important to avoid 'follow the leader' shots - where an Australian official is photographed in a similar pose, or doing a similar thing, to an overseas official who was recently parodied for the same pose (such as the Cameron - Abbott situation).

I saw one of these images yesterday from an Australian politician and decided to see how easy it would be to modify it for use in parody.

Using my trusty copy of Seashore - a free graphics editing tool with many of the same features of Photoshop, I was able to cut out the relevant parts of the original image within about 15 minutes.

It then took a simple Google image search to locate some freely available images and a matter of second to import and place the politicians within the scenes.

Below I've included a copy of the original image (in its original tweet), as well as several of the 'photoshopped' parody images.

Consider this what is possible by a relatively inexperienced user of a free graphic design program in under an hour - then consider what someone with more experience and more intent could do with images that make parody easy.

The original Tweet (with a 'watching infrastructure' image - a type very likely to be parodied):

My (very quickly) 'photoshopped' images - starting with my favourite:





Now think about how you want your Minister and staff portrayed, and how you can minimise the likelihood of your official images being reused for parody purposes.

While you can't prevent this from happening, prudent image selection and advice can, at least, minimise the potential and help you retain control of your message.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Watch the video of the GovHack 2014 Red Carpet Awards

The GovHack Red Carpet Awards was awesome (as you can see from the liveblog from Sunday).

If you weren't able to attend or watch the event's livestream, the video of the awards is now live at the GovHack site, and I've embedded it below for your convenience.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

GovHack 2014 Red Carpet Awards liveblog

Tonight I am attending the GovHack 2014 Red Carpet Awards night in Brisbane, and will be liveblogging the proceedings.

Keep an eye on my live blog (below) and the Twitter hashtag #GovHack for all the winners and happenings.

Live Blog GovHack Red Carpet Awards 2014
 

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Friday, August 08, 2014

GovHack 2014 winners to be announced on 10 August

GovHack 2014 was the largest open data in Australian history.

With over 1,300 participants across 10 locations, it set a new benchmark for engagement with, and reuse of, government data.

On Sunday evening the winners will be announced at a Red Carpet Awards Night in Brisbane. I'll be attending and liveblogging & tweeting the event, so keep an eye on eGovAU and on the hashtags #govhack, #govhackau and #govhack14.

If you want to check out the entries before the event, visit the complete list of GovHack projects at http://hackerspace.govhack.org/

Don't have time to look through 200-odd projects?

Here's some that the GovHack team has particularly noted (note this doesn't mean they will necessarily be finalists, there's a lot of good projects):

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Accessibility is for everyone - an awesome accessibility alphabet

Gian Wild of AccessibilityOz made me aware of this awesome accessibility alphabet of mini-personas, reflecting a large group of people for whom accessibility in websites and documents is critical.

This is the sort of material I think agencies should make available to all their staff to help them be more mindful of the range of people who may be affected by accessibility issues.

An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues - the-pastry-box-project.net/anne-gibson/2014-July-31

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Monday, August 04, 2014

Get ready for the GovHack Red Carpet Awards night

This Sunday GovHack returns with the 2014 GovHack awards night.

With an exclusive Red Carpet Award event in Brisbane, and local events across Australia, it should be a great night to see which teams win the top GovHack awards for the year.

The invitation only red carpet event will be streamed nationally from the Brisbane City Town Hall from 7pm on August 10 (see video feed below).

The event will feature Adam Spencer as Master of Ceremonies, senior representatives from participating Federal, State, and Local government jurisdictions as well as many of the finalists - over 200 people in all.

I will be covering the event in Brisbane, and with over 200 entries into GovHack, there should be plenty of excitement as the National and Local winners are announced.

A complete list of GovHack entries is available online, and you can still vote for the People's Choice winner at http://hackerspace.govhack.org

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