Mashups and Citizen Watchdogs

Can web mashups keep politicians on their toes? That's the question raised by a story in yesterday's Wired entitled "Web Mashups Turn Citizens Into Washington's Newest Watchdogs". In particular, the story profiles:, a nonpartisan website offering legislative data; the widely debated and bitterly fought California SB217 which would have banned clear-cutting in ancient forests; and this MapLight report showing that the logging industry gave twice the money to politicians as environmental groups did.


This is interesting follow-up to our post yesterday highlighting the new API, which is now one of 9 APIs tagged "government". As more of these types of APIs come online and more developers and organizations become aware of how to use them, there will certainly be many more enlightening mashups to come (or, as the Wired story notes, "Just in time for the 2008 presidential primaries").

John Musser




This is a good tech. Source of numbers is always difficult, though. Good luck to the data people.

[...] MAPLight API is part of an emerging trend where mashups and APIs are developed to aid citizens in monitoring government and its workings. You [...]

[...] winner of last year’s NetSquared contest was We’ve covered their efforts with citizen watchdogs earlier and have profiled their MapLight API. MapLight is a grantee of the the Sunlight Foundation [...]