Dear Colleagues and friends,
I am very happy to invite you again to an event with the European Parliament Free Software User Group. This time we have prominent guests from both academia and the hacker community who will talk about reverse engineering the law making process and the use of free software and open data in lawmaking itself. We meet within the framework of a two day competition for internet transparency tools, aka the EU Hackathon or Hack4Transparency. I warmly recommend you to join their freedom efforts too.
With the advent of open data initiatives and increasing transparency in policy-making, I believe the time is ripe to introduce computational resources in the legislative process. Not only is it possible to decrease the administrative burden, but modern data-mining techniques could allow us to also streamline information flows and reduce complexity, as well as lower entry barriers to citizen engagement. These bold claims will be discussed on the basis of "running code" as proof of concept, and as propositions for the future of democracy.
We will also have a discussion on the autumn release of a first class free software solution for our parliamentary email called tmail. With the recent and greatly improved wireless capacity of the EP's network, it is easier than ever to use our private laptops at work, and consequently also to use integrated solutions which implement open standards in free software applications - such as mail.
Please join us in November!
|Agenda for EPFSUG meeting 9 November 2011|
|WELCOME||by EPFSUG Patron MEP Indrek Tarand||
|Mining for freedom in oeil, eur-lex and a few others|
|Stefan will present Parltrack, a free software solution which aggregates and reinterprets the data from OEIL, Eur-lex and some other public EU resources. When you have limited resources, Stefan will show that using free software can be key to enable effective interaction with the Parliament's decision making process, with improved transparency as well as accountability as a result. The presentation will also uncover some shortcomings of the current information infrastructure, which suggests it might be prohibitively expensive to develop free solutions for organisations suffering from vendor lock-in, proprietary standards and data formats.|
RING THE LAWMAKING PROCESS
|"Code is Law"|
|Deployed, compiled computer code can be reverse engineered, and then hacked, patched, and re-engineered. Various constituting parts can also be identified and re-used. Peter will apply a similar perspective and methodology to the law making process, opening up new possibilities and perspectives. By indexing and analysing vast amounts of freely available legal and political texts, important ideas and terms expressed in text documents can be back-traced towards their origins. The spreading of some particular catch-phrase or legal twist can be traced and visualized. The vision is to develop and make available new software tools to policymakers and administrative staff, grassroots, activists and journalists, but also to researchers from political science, law, as well as computational linguistics and information science, as this kind of tools could open up new ways of working. Various kinds of broader implications, as well as challenges, will be identified and discussed.|
|First class tmail|
|Jonatan Walck and Erik Josefsson|
|Tmail, or Tratten Mail has turned out to be an ever evolving service, as the Parliament updates and upgrades its systems and as user needs grow. Jonatan and Erik will summarise their experiences after half a year of finetuning the tmail service and proudly present the autumn release of what must be labelled a first class free software solution for parliamentary email. Some new elements include archiving, search and web access - and last but not least - encryption.|