Governmental data + public accountability in the age of Trump
Aside from the telephone, the web is perhaps the single most effective communication tool ever invented. It has an unsurpassed capacity to connect people and ideas, and much of the world now benefits from it as well as its resulting data. It often feels like a global public resource.
However, the recent U.S. presidential election and its ensuing administrative shift have challenged our understanding of ownership of governmental websites and the allegedly public data that resides on them. The new administration’s seemingly arbitrary alterations and outright mass deletions of content on some U.S. government websites have destabilized the still nascent open data movement. For much of the public, particularly, scientists, researchers, and educators, the specter of a state-controlled social media with extreme data limitations doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibility. In short, the appropriate use of governmental control of personal and public data is now in play.
Thoughtful use of technology can be an important means to an end in remedying global challenges, particularly political ones. Distributed and decentralized technologies can offer ways to disperse information on a global scale thereby lessening fears of deletion and alteration. Capricious governments, questionable officials, and bad actors can and will still occur, but the data stored in distributed networks is more robustly protected against those threats. Mesh networks with multiple points of origin and network redundancy can ensure that content is not lost or deleted without significant effort. The result: greater levels of access and trust.
Here are the articles that inspired our commentary in this newsletter: we recommend them to you as interesting data points in the consideration of blockchain technologies.
BadgeChain launched in 2016 as an ongoing investigation into the links between learning recognition and blockchain technologies. Our initial approach focused on regular community calls and informative blog posts. In 2017, we are pleased to announce our shift to a biweekly newsletter featuring important and relevant news about blockchain and distributed web technologies. We’re interested in all aspects of these technologies and we’re excited to inform you about how they’re reshaping the world around us. So, share your stories! Follow us on Twitter: @BadgeChain