Createdestruct (V). Towards a new citizen democracy

Notes from the Creative destruction. Social innovation initiatives conference, organized by the Etopia centre for art and technology and the ZZZINC collective. Held a the Centro Joaquín Roncal, Zaragoza, Spain, in November 27, 2012. More notes on this event: createdestruct.

Ismael Peña-López, UOC/IN3
Towards a new citizen democracy

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Mar Cabra, Fundación Civio
The Power of Data

Data empowers citizens.

It is now possible who donates to political parties, who is lobbying, what are the expenditures of a government and in what is the money expended, what are the e-mail accounts of our elected representatives, it is now possible to access data and registries for free. But this is not happening in Spain.

There is no word for accountability in Spanish (just approximations). And this shapes mindsets. We have to raise awareness that accountability exists as a concept. Spain is the only big country in Europe without an access to public information law. Such a law is much needed in Spain.

Some initiatives of Fundación Civio:

Opening data can even be good for business: reuses public data and generate profits for the entrepreneurs that built the site.

Francisco Jurado, Democracia 4.0

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In 2006, a pregnant congresswoman implied that the law had to be changed so that she could vote electronically from home. There also is a right to petition to question political representatives about issues of importance.

Democracia 4.0 asks for the possibility that anyone can vote what is being discussed in the Parliament, directly, electronically, and substracting the proportion of one’s vote from the elected representative’s. Because citizens do not vote: the elect the ones that will vote in their names.

Such a system has to be open, hosted in public servers, guarantee the vote, be accompanied by discussion fora (it is not only about voting, but about discussing too), simulations should be possible, clear and sufficient information, and easy participation.

Democracia 4.0’s model corrects politics based in competition, leaks of sovereignty, is based on liberal principles. It implies the end of block politics, it allows for timing and accountability and transparency. The model shifts from dis-representation to the distribution of power, avoiding the distortions of the “man in the middle”. It also enables the veto of the citizens to certain policies.

With new methods of participation we are not substituting democracy and politics with another “thing”, but strengthening it.


Santiago Cirugeda: It would be interesting to also evaluate the citizens, especially citizen organizations: how much they have been subsidised, how much they lobby (and win), etc. On the other hand, how do we evaluate these citizen initiatives that aim at another kind of democracy?


Open Parliament: the Senate in the Net (2012)

Open Parliament, the Senate in the Net (II): Accessibility and Reuse of public sector information

Notes from the Open Parliament: the Senate in the Net, organized by the Spanish Senate in Madrid, Spain, in November 12, 2012. More notes on this event: senadored.

Keynotes on Accessibility and Reuse of public sector information.

Fundación Sidar. Loic Martínez Normand. Presidente de la fundación

Accessibility: guaranteeing that the web is available for everyone independently of their capabilities. This definition has been broadened when more people are disabled in different ways (e.g. temporarily because of broken arm) and because of the proliferation of different displays with which one can access the world wide web. Functional diversity: sensory (sight, hearing, touch), motor (mobility, skills), cognitive (comprehension, language, learning).

Principles in accessible design: a website has to be perceptible, comprehensible, operable, robust. The new website scores average, but is much better than the previous one.

Reuse of public sector information.
Fundación Civio. Mar Cabra. Directora de la fundación.

Some experiences in transparency and reuse of public sector information:,,

There is a lot of information that already exists, that has been paid by the taxpayers, and that is not used because it has not been made publicly available. There even is the possibility to make business/profit by reusing public sector information.

Make available:

  • Legally, by making it freely (no copyright) available by law.
  • Technically, so that computers can “read” the information (e.g. no scanned images, but text documents).
  • Humanly, presenting information in visual ways that humans can better understand than long lists of rows in tables.

Availability is also about being able to provide feedback, and providing feedback in a transparent way (e.g. no through forms).


Open Parliament: the Senate in the Net (2012)