Open Legislative Data is a term mixing Open Data (the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish) & Legislative Studies (the academic study of parliaments and legislators).
The Law Factory is a French group made of hacktivists (Regards Citoyens) and academics (Centre d’études européennes & médialab Sciences Po). We are organizing a conference in Paris about Parliamentary informatics.
The conference has two aims:
- discussing the latest developments regarding parliamentary informatics, eg. parliamentary open data, computer analysis of parliamentary activities, e-parliament…
- assemble two groups that usually do not communicate: the academic world of legislative studies and individuals and organizations from across the open data and parliamentary informatics spectrum.
Tell me more…
In Paris, we will discuss a variety of topics related to parliamentary informatics. For the last years, information technology and tools of parliamentary monitoring have experienced a great transformation both with the development of new tools related to parliaments and with the spread of open data projects related to legislatures. The aim of this conference is to establish a statement of those rich developments. What are the main and most effective ways of using open data in order to visualize and analyze parliamentary activities? What are the main past, present and future developments in that area?
Beyond this statement, the marriage between new technologies and old legislatures brings about a lot of critical questions for the state of representative democracy. What does the new informatics tools tell about the functioning of legislatures and their political role in the XXIst century? How do the new process of counting and visualizing parliamentary activities impact the parliament itself? Between MPs, parliamentary clerks, hacktivists and ordinary citizens, who are the actors of the on-going process of opening parliamentary data? Who will win? Who will lose? Also, does a greater online access to parliamentary activities change the public perception of the legislatures as a whole and of specific MPs? Last, is there a kind of parliamentary resistance towards the computer age? Are there parliamentary activities that are just unfit for computers?
Those questioning are central to the future of parliamentary representation given the significance of the latest informatics development related to all aspects of parliamentary activities (roll-call, attendance, amendments, speech, control of public spending…). The conference is driven by the idea that those issues should be answered by filling the gap between academic research and the hacktivist world. The two communities are undoubtedly different. To the exception of a few personalities, they don’t share the same history, assets or methodology. Yet, both have a lot to win by discussing together and comparing their ways of understanding parliaments. For instance, the Law Factory group, convener of the conference, is made of members from both academic and informatics background. We will present during the conference a prototype of law tracking system.