White House to open We the People platform
The White House is in the process of creating an open source version of its "We the People" online petition platform, says Chris Vein, deputy federal chief technology officer.
The effort will fulfill one of its objectives under the National Action Plan it revealed as a member of the international Open Government Partnership. One OGP member country, Latvia, plans to use the platform as soon as it's available, said Vein June 20 at NASA's Open Source Summit in Washington, D.C.
An open source version of We the People will "help multiple other countries kind of plug and play that option and actually incorporate it into their day-to-day governance," said Vein.
The White House hopes to release the open source platform before Sept. 18, when President Obama next meets with OGP country leaders at the United Nation's General Assembly in New York City.
"The goal is to get it out before the president has to go back and talk about this. Because if there's one person you don't want to upset it's the president of the United States. So, we are doing our best," said Tom Cochran, new media technologies director at the White House, during the event.
The platform is based on open source web content management system Drupal, he said. "With Drupal being open source it should be very easy to release. However, we work in government so things are not as easy as they should be," said Cochran.
"The idea here is that not only are we going to change our data.gov and move in the direction of open source, but we're creating a model, an initiative, a platform that any government can use," said Vein. "In fact, we're focusing on developing countries and Rwanda is the first country that India picked to have us to work through the development group."
- watch an archive video of Vein's address