Interesting read from a US politician on the use of the Internet in changing government. Estonia gets a mention, as does the US Techcrunch subsite, CrunchGov.
America is built on the principle that government at every level should be of the people, by the people and for the people. When elected leaders or career bureaucrats forget that, the people remind them through regular elections. But policy like SOPA happens between elections, when individuals have few accountability options. No more. The Internet has given incredible power back to the people, letting them access government information and act on it – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Father of the Constitution James Madison understood this, writing, “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” Believe me, when you started harnessing networks to guard against threats to the Internet we know and love, it surprised and frightened many of my colleagues in Congress. Every tweet, every meme, every email counted, quickly eroding support for SOPA and the Protect IP Act, then hastening their demise.
The ruckus did play a large part in forcing Washington to shelve its plans to hyper regulate the Internet. But it worked because you knew the issue inside and out, in most cases far better than elected officials and their staff. Imagine channeling all that collected knowledge into building up good policy rather than merely tearing down the bad.