AlaveteliCon 2012 was the first ever conference to bring together developers and users of Alaveteli, the international Right to Know software.
In April 2012, the Alaveteli project had been running for over a year. It was running in seven countries worldwide, with at least seven more planned.
The original idea behind AlaveteliCon was to consolidate the small community that had been built around the software. In this way we could keep collaborating, and to make the software and its impact on FOI even greater.
Thanks to generous funding from Open Society Foundation and Hivos, the scope grew to include more than 50 people from over 30 countries, many of whom were not current Alaveteli users.
The conference assembled a range of FOI practioners and civic society hackers that are rarely in one place together. It was a great opportunity to make progress on Alaveteli and also to improve our understanding of the international FOI scene.
- Video snippets from the conference
- Account of the conference from Huridocs
- Coverage from Chile
- Article in La Nacion, Argentina
- Twitter coverage from Cameroon
There were over 50 delegates from more than 30 countries at the conference.
A full list of delegate names is available to download.
David CaboI'm vice-president of Pro Bono Publico - a Spanish association organizing the biggest Open Data hackathon in the country, AbreDatos - and creator of dondevanmisimpuestos.es, a web site for visualizing the annual budgets from Spanish public administrations, developed in collaboration with the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN). I worked with mySociety and Access Info Europe in the development of the EU access to information site, AsktheEU.org. I launched the transparency initiative #adoptaundiputado (Adopt an MP) to crowdsource the parsing of Spanish parliamentarians' financial disclosure reports, and have collaborated with investigative journalists in the extraction and analysis of public records (Looting the Seas, ICIJ). I'm currently working on tuderechoasaber.es, an access to information site for Spain based on the Alaveteli software and funded by more than 150 small donors using the crowdfunding platform Goteo.
Seb BaconI'm the project lead for Alaveteli. I've been making websites for the not for profit sector for 12 years. I'm a coder and a manager. I used to run a web agency, then I took a long break, and when I got back did consulting jobs for a few different charities and companies. I've made some interesting democracy websites and odd (and generally unsuccessful) attempts at online commercial wheezes. About a year ago, I took the software for WhatDoTheyKnow and turned it into Alaveteli, and I've been working on it since then as part of mySociety, with funding from the Open Society Foundation and the Hivos Foundation. I like doing lots of different things, but especially being a dad, dancing, vegan cooking, travelling, archaeology, and farming.
Gabriela RodriguezI'm a software developer that has been focussed on the web and I'm working as a contractor for differnet clients right now. I'm organizing a open data and free software organization in Uruguay to get projects like Alaveteli running there. I live in Portland, OR (USA). http://about.me/gabelula
Stefan WehrmeyerBorn in 1987, lives in Berlin, Germany and studies IT-Systems Engineering. He is the project lead on the German FOI portal FragDenStaat.de that launched in August 2011.
Fabrizio ScrolliniPassionate and curious about transparency and access to public information he is currently doing his PhD at the Government Department of the LSE where he is also teaching Public Policy. His academic focus is on comparative politics, institutions and policy analysis and Latin America. He got the "transparency bug" when he did a Master of Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. He is also a lawyer and admits that this is a useful thing from time to time. Previously he worked with Latin American governments and civil society organizations on these issues and also in civil service reform initiatives, and also set up a youth participation programme in Uruguay (a.k.a. as home). Currently he is part of a great team of which is setting up an organisation in Uruguay that will harness the power of open data to foster social change (and that is why Alaveteli seems like such a cool thing) . Other than that, he enjoys tramping (hiking) tango and scuba diving.
Henare DeganI'm a volunteer and director of the OpenAustralia Foundation, Australia's open data, open government and civic hacking charity. The Foundation creates digital projects in the public interest such as OpenAustralia.org, PlanningAlerts.org.au and ElectionLeaflets.org.au. We hope to bring Alaveteli to Australia's shores as our next major project. A lifetime geek, I started my career as a sysadmin and after many years hacking I've recently come to accept I'm a software developer. I've been doing this professionally for over a decade and have worked for a diverse range of organisations from start-up companies to small business and large corporations. I'm a passionate advocate of Free and Open Source software, good food, great wine, and excellent coffee.
Pedro DaireI've been working in Web/Tech area within Ciudadano Inteligente (Chile) for about 18 months. Our Organization's Goals are Transparency, Accountability and Participation, all of them via web/tech tools. We also have some advocacy tasks related with our goals. I'm not a coder although I've coded sometimes. I'm more like a project manager and innovation hunter. We launched about 12 website last year, one of them called accesointeligente.org, it offers the same service that Alaveteli, making FOI Requests easier and public for Chilean people. We are now committed to the idea of how to achieve the same success that Alaveteli has but in Parliament Monitoring Field.
Michael MorisyI'm the co-founder of MuckRock.com, a U.S.-based FOI filing tool focused on accountability and public engagement. My background is in technology and civic journalism, and my main focus has been all the non-coding aspects of running MuckRock, from scanning paper to public outreach to educating the public about the importance of transparency. We're set up a little differently than most other sites, in that we accept paper responses, but we've been really inspired by all the wonderful, innovative ways other countries have used Alaveteli.
Tanka AryalMr. Tanka Aryal has been working for Citizens' Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) as an Executive Director. Mr. Aryal has served as a Country Representative to Nepal for ARTICLE 19. He has been teaching Media Law and Ethic in different universities in Nepal. Mr. Aryal is practicing lawyer at Supreme Court of Nepal. Mr. Aryal is engaged for the promotion and protection of Right to Information nationally through CCRI. Capacity building of civil society organizations, collaboration with National Information Commission (NIC) and providing service to local people through ICT facilitated mechanism are some of the major activities where Mr. Aryal has been working closely.
James McKinneyI’m executive director of Open North, a Canadian non-profit that creates websites to increase government transparency and civic engagement. I got started in open government through a citizen initiative to promote open access to civic information in the City of Montreal. I’ve since become an active voice in the Canadian open government and open data communities. Notable projects are: Represent, a database and API of government representatives and electoral districts in Canada; Citizen Budget, a budget simulator used by local governments to consult with citizens; and Gazette Documents, a public database of municipal contracts which local newspapers use to analyze how public money is spent. http://opennorth.ca/
Derek DohlerI’m an open government activist and manager of digital projects at Transparency International Georgia. I have been living and working in Georgia for over a year and a half, and in that time I have launched a local version of FixMyStreet, scraped several government data sources, and managed digital projects at TI Georgia. I also provide the Georgian government with suggestions for improving their e-government and open data efforts.
Ian DavisI am the founding director of NATO Watch and also work as an independent human security and arms control consultant, writer and activist. I was formerly Executive Director of the London and Washington DC-based British American Security Information Council (BASIC) (2001-2007) and before that Program Manager at UK-based think-tank, Saferworld (1998-2001). I try to keep tabs on British and US defence and foreign policy, NATO and transatlantic security issues, the international arms trade and arms control and disarmament issues. The Scottish Highlands, my family and Arsenal FC help to keep me sane.
Oleg BurlacaDeveloping websites and software. For more than two years I'm a system developer/information architect at HURIDOCS. We use only open source technology (PHP, MySql, Graphviz, SOLR). The target is to make the information more accessible to people. Our latests projects: caselaw.ihrda.org (here we've used GraphViz to generate a CaseGraph), www.omct.org (SOLR search engine used), http://www.sova-center.ru/en/ (flexible & live pivot reports: http://www.sova-center.ru/en/database/, click on detailed report). Attending Alaveteli to learn about a project that has the social component as a foundation.
Romina ColmanI’ m a student from the University of Buenos Aires and a dedicated activist for FOI in Latin America. I have filed for over 100 requests in different countries, including Argentina, Chile and Mexico. I love researching about electronic and paper systems for FOI to find out what are their strengths and weaknesses in order to understand how can we get this right closer to civil society. I´m curious and non-stop learner. I believe that Alaveteli has the power to change the relationship between Argentine government and citizenship and promote the law in FOI at national level. My passion? Opening archives and working for transparency. Twitter: @romina_colman Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/accesoalainfo/
Richard HuntI am a British advertising executive who moved to Prague in 1993, and became involved with business ethics and transparency. I came across WhatDoThey Know while back in the UK and thought it would be a great British export that could benefit Czech society. The project only really got going when Josef Pospisil joined us in December, and now we hope to soft-launch www.infoprovsechny.cz in April. I'm completely IT-illiterate, and I don't speak Czech well enough to front the campaign, so my role is to strike an 'eminence grise' pose, chivvy everyone else along, and buy the beers!
Daniela B. SilvaDaniela B. Silva is a participant of Transparência Hacker (Transparency Hackers), an autonomous and decentralized community of more than 800 hackers and activists for transparency and openness in Brazil. She is also a co-founder and director for Esfera, a company focused in open data and transparency issues based at the House of Digital Culture, in São Paulo. THacker is responsible for projects like Queremos Saber - the first Brazilian platform for access to information requests -, Ônibus Hacker - a bus to spread DIY culture in brazilian localities - and many others.
Danko NikolicDanko is one of the founders of the NGO Zajecar Initiative (ZI) back in 2001. ZI has grown into a leading civil society organization working outside the capital of Belgrade. On behalf of ZI, he has developed, co-managed and managed projects funded by various donors, such as National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USA Embassy Democracy Commission, USAID, Fund for an Open Society and others. Starting from 2011, Zajecar Initiative is working on the Serbian clone of WriteToThem, aiming to enable the citizens of Serbia to communicate with their local representatives and MPs. Danko also works as a program consultant with the National Democratic Institute's Regional Party Initiative for the Central and Eastern Europe Danko is huge fan of Depeche Mode. During 2006, he collected over 5,000 online signatures for athe group Depeche Mode to come in Belgrade for their world tour "Touring the Angel". He has a fear of flying and prefers traveling by train even if it takes much more time.
Josef PospisilI am a Czech developer based in the North Bohemian city of Liberec. I was the first Rubyist in the Czech Republic, even before Rails was released. I answered the call of duty last december when the Czech FOI community was searching for a Ruby on Rails expert. From that time I am working on getting the Czech version of WDTK going. I am also father to two kids, one as recently as the beginning of March. I am looking forward to joining the discussion on some technical issues with Alaveteli.<
Ganesh SittampalamI'm a volunteer for WhatDoTheyKnow, helping to answer user queries and maintain the site. I have a particular interest in the fine details of UK FOI law and in using FOI to understand the details of how the Government works. Outside the FOI world, I'm a software engineer currently working in the banking industry, and in the rest of my spare time I work on darcs, an open-source distributed version control system.
Rowan CrawfordTrained as a pharmacist; wrote software for hospitals for eight years. Now involved in the fight against spam email. Listens to New Zealand Parliament's Questions For Oral Answer in cold blood.
Karolis GranickasI am a project coordinator at Transparency International Lithuania. I have been managing the digital projects for more than a year now. We just launched the writetothem Lithuanian version www.parasykjiems.lt (not an alaveteli-based FOI platform). We're also currently working on political party financing project (visualizing political parties' budgets) and media transparency (creating media outlets' owners database and visualizing it). I am also the main organizer of the first Transparency Works event in Vilnius (www.transparencyworks.lt). I have a legal background and I'm not a technical person, so very much interested in impact, advocacy and policy side of digital projects. Passionate about basketball.
Heather BrookeHeather Brooke worked as a political and crime reporter in the US before moving to Britain where she is now a freelance journalist and freedom of information campaigner. Her investigation into the expense accounts of Members of Parliament led to the biggest clear-out of politicians that country had seen in decades and the first forced resignation of the Speaker of the House in 300 years. She writes for all of the main UK national papers and has published three books: Your Right to Know, The Silent State and The Revolution Will Be Digitised. While researching her latest book, she obtained the full batch of 251,287 US diplomatic cables from a Wikileaks insider and worked with the Guardian newspaper on this month-long exposé of global diplomatic relations. Heather has won numerous awards including the Judges’ Prize at the 2010 British Press Awards, the FOI Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and a Freedom of Expression Award from Index on Censorship. She is a visiting professor at the prestigious Department of Journalism at City University, London.
Richard TaylorRichard has been a volunteer administrator of mySociety's Freedom of Information website WhatDoTheyKnow.com since 2009. In this role he, along with other members of the team, responds to the continuous deluge of mail from users, public bodies and others. He is involved with dealing with requests to take material down from the site, maintaining the list of public bodies, and providing advice to users of the service as well as discussing and developing the site's policies. Richard and other team members tweet (@WhatDoTheyKnow) and write articles about the site and lobby for improvements to the UK's Freedom of Information law. Beyond WhatDoTheyKnow.com too Richard is an activist promoting openness, transparency and representative democracy in the UK, particularly in the field of policing, crime and justice.
- Web: RTaylor.co.uk
- Twitter: @RTaylorUK
- WhatDoTheyKnow: FOI requests