Every day we as individual consumers deal with information overload. We can access the news, videos, messages, and millions of different opinions in a matter of seconds. Every minute there are over 98,000 tweets sent and 694,445 Google searches. With the amount of information at our fingertips, it can be daunting to keep up with what is truth and what are lies. This further makes it difficult to search for transparency, especially within the government. Government transparency is incredibly important, and every citizen should have the basic right to know the truth of important matters. While increased advancements can contribute to the ease of spreading false information, it may also be the solution towards a more transparent government.
Apple recently launched a new website offering heightened transparency into the number of government requests received to access user data. Previously, users were able to access a PDF file which was updated twice-a-year with new data and metrics. In an effort to be more sustainable, the new website provides more data in a browsable, interactive part of their website. Users can look at trends and patterns by individual countries and have complete transparency in government requests around the world to obtain user data. The report demonstrates a rise the worldwide demand for user data and is just one way technology is playing a contributing factor to providing transparency.
On a state level, transparency is also being introduced through websites which give residents a look at state government. In January 2015 the Governor of South Dakota, Dennis Daugaard, provided a way for citizens to stay more informed by establishing a hub housed with information. Since the onslaught, updates have been made to increase the user experience of the website. Users can access everything from upcoming state meetings, minutes from meetings, documents, and state laws. Additionally, citizens can find information about government contracts and salaries. Daugaard is quoted saying ”government should be open and transparent” when first unveiling the portal.
In an effort to increase transparency, bureaucracy and economic growth, Estonia has moved entirely towards a digital government. In this new experiment, just about everything besides marriage, divorce, and property transfer can be completed online. Citizens utilize a platform to access paperless communications across private and public sectors. Just about every important document can be housed and accessed through their account. A test for a more modern democracy, Estonia’s new digital government reaches for accountability and transparency for its citizens.