What if EU citizens could really interact?

Solving most of today's modern society problems often require complex thinking and yet many Governments rely on one or a few human minds to cope with such high responsibility. EUGAGER shows off how to build an Engagement Platform that Governments can use to harness their Citizens' Intelligence.

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by Giovani Spagnolo, Pietro Speroni

What is EUGAGER?

EUGAGER APIs

EUGAGER project consists of research, design and prototype implementation of an European Citizen Engagement Platform. Basically, a web-based, open and secure toolbox for e-government and e-participation tools.

The proposed system will consist of a core (toolbox) providing a basic set of secure primitives (an open Application Program Interface) including those typically needed for the design of complex e-governance and e-participation web applications (tools). Moreover, the toolbox will support external tools resting on the toolbox API. The proposed system will enable project stakeholders (governments, SMEs, non-profit organizations and existing e-participation/e-government free/open source communities) to make the system evolve by creating new tools and eventually constitute an ecosystem for citizens engagement.

Citizen engagement will be greatly encouraged by EUGAGER. Indeed, it will provide: 1) advanced and usable tools for knowledge learning, interpretation, sharing and creation; 2) a flexible authentication mechanism ensuring privacy; 3) trusted tools that allow citizens to verify that their inputs are correctly taken into account in application results.

Why EUGAGER ideas and concepts ARE important?

Though we acknowledge that our proposal could be improved in many ways (this is the main reason we decided to make it available for anyone with similar ideas about developing a Free/Open Source Citizen Engagement Platform), we think that the potential impact through the development, dissemination and use of the EUGAGER project's results could have helped Europe to be truly united.

The European Union should strongly consider the fact that today's net citizens spend most of their spare time using social networking sites and Web 2.0 services, and that proprietary solutions like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and the like just don't suit the needs and transparency requirements of serious governmental applications.

It is also important to see the whole process in a more global framework. Since Obama’s election as President of the United States there was a strong impulse for e-government in that country. This is taking a three-forked path. On the one hand there is a level of transparency, where data from the government are made available to the general population. Then there is a level of e-bureaucracy, where citizens have the possibility of completing general paperwork online. But in addition to all this, there is now research that focuses on how the government should connect with the general population to (a) receive feedback about laws that are about to be adopted; (b) receive ideas and possible solutions to identified problems, and (c) receive indications as to which open problems should be addressed. Those three lines of research all point toward a stronger integration between the population and the government.

We feel that this whole process is very important. It should not just involve the United States, but should involve Europe too. The idea of the "government as a platform" is being discussed in US for some time now. The EUGAGER platform had similar aims for European countries. Although the plan for EUGAGER was developed independently, multiple sources seem to have reached similar conclusions. Our aim was to ensure that Europe did not fall behind. In a globalised society, good practices are reproduced around the world.

Now, the ultimate goal we are trying to reach by releasing this book is to let some of those ideas flourish. Our hope is that they may return to us improved, hopefully very soon. Thank you in advance for your support.

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Concepts

  • Knowledge Focus on building consensus.
  • Security Privacy, identification, integrity and confidentiality!
  • Transparency Open API and Trusted Applications!

Government-Driven Social Apps

  • One User Base, All Governments Improving eParticipation.
  • One Government, Many Apps Serving Citizens at all levels.
  • Information Filtering Apps based on your location.
  • Folksonomy Tags for personal information clustering.
  • Petition A sample app.
  • Proposals Collaborative problem-solving.
  • Verifier Trust-checking.

Project Management

  • Full Grant Proposal for FP7 ICT Call.
  • Gantt Chart Project Plan included.
  • WBS Full Work Breakdown Structure.
  • Deliverables & Tasks Detailed work and effort needed.
  • Milestones Main project achievements.
  • Final EU Evaluation How to make it happen.

What else?

  • Free/Open Source the key to innovation.
  • Genetic Algorithms to solve general, hard, problems.
  • Formal Verification to ensure apps trustworthiness.
  • OAuth for API authentication!
  • Election Markup Language to build interoperable services.
  • Much More! You have to read to believe...

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EUGAGER proposes the research, design and prototype implementation of a web-based, secure and free/open source software platform for e-Governance and e-Participation tools. In particular, the core system would support the connection of external e-Government and e-Participation web applications, possibly running on different machines, and an Open API for security, authentication and data exchange between applications.