Saturday, July 30, 2011

Can IT help clean Athens?

Here in Athens we are constantly faced with an uphill struggle to merely maintain what we have - to stop Athens from backsliding into a cesspit and maintain a standard of living other countries take for granted. 
Nikos Pitsianis has written an interesting idea on how to link grassroots demands with open-gov, making open government more than a window dressing but an effective reality that would have important positive impact on how we here in Athens live our day to day lives. 

In essence what he proposes is a linking of government tenders and responsibilities, say road maintenance tenders with IT applications that people can download and automatically know who is responsible, from the Minister down to the mayor and the body that is responsible be it public or private. 

Of course getting them to do something is another story altogether, but all to often we here in Athens whenever we complain we are told "I am not responsible" and we are led to on a merry chase - trying to find who is responsible. The lines of responsibility are kept blurry so that nothing gets done - and blame can be apportioned to whoever is the bad guy of the day.

His idea is one step in the right direction that can make our lives easier.

Unfortunately i lack the skills to do anything... Sigh

The interesting article can be read here


Anonymous said...

I think the idea of open government using newest technology is very good, but what about the people who don´t have access to this kind of information? It needs e.g. free internet access from everywhere like public libraries or cafes and definitely from public transportation system to work.

Interesting enough is that Greece has already Open Government web page were they "promised" to put all of the new decisions and legislation... I think opening this page was a very good and even surprising step from Greek government for the better future here. Still the question remains, how does these grassroots people get an access to open society if it exist only through high-tech or are we creating more polarization in the society demanding such a reality?


Vassili - Mike said...

Of course that is an excellent point, especially in a society where broadband access (or take-up) is still very low.
As you no doubt know IT products (PCs - routers etc) are more expensive here than elsewhere in Europe.
And then there is the question of education and a NOTION of public responsibility. Whats the point of having open access if everyone just accepts corruption.
You are very right that these high tech avenues are still out of reach of many grass roots organisations.

As a start it is a good idea, but it does also give an opportunity to traditional media outlets to gain access to information that would previously be available only through leaks and bribes, and to report news people want to - and have to - know about. And make themselves once again relevant to the people.