Yesterday Jihii wrote about an effort originating in the Reddit community to crowdsource a privacy bill to protect people’s online rights.
Perhaps, then, a trend, because yesterday also saw the launch The Internet Blueprint, an effort by Public Knowledge, a Washington DC-based digital advocacy group, that crowdsources technology bills that members of Congress can then pick up and run with.
The idea is certainly interesting. What we saw recently in the fights over SOPA and PIPA — and see generally over everything else — is reactive protests against proposed laws drafted with little public input and often by the lobbyists whose groups will most benefit from them.
The Internet Blueprint attempts to turn this process on its head by proactively promoting Internet-related laws that are written in public, by the public (and with Public Knowledge lawyers massaging them into proper DC legalese). Visitors to the site can vote up and comment on particular bills, vote on ideas they think should become proposed bills, and contact their representatives to get behind completed bills.
Via Public Knowledge:
While it can be reasonably easy to get people to agree on broad principles, conflict can often come when it is time to focus on details. That is especially true when it comes to legislative language – a single word (or even a single comma) can change the impact of a bill. That is why The Internet Blueprint goes beyond broad concepts and proposes concrete legislative language. The bills on The Internet Blueprint could be introduced and passed as-is.
The Internet Blueprint is a place for everyone – individuals, organizations, and companies – to come together and make it clear what is important to them. When you visit the site, the first thing you will see is a list of complete bills. Along with the text there is a headline, a short explanation, and a more detailed explanation of both the problem and our solution.
Public Knowledge has seeded the site with a few completed bills that focus on copyright policy and openness in international intellectual property negotiations. You can view them here.