E-Transparency: Google for Government

Feb 28, 2008


Jerry Brito, JD
Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center at George Mason University 

Click Here to View Mr. Brito's PDF


With California's expanding state budget and a projected $14 billion dollar deficit, many Californians may wonder how their tax dollars are being spent . Unfortunately, government information is scarcely made public. When it is available it's often difficult to access--either because it is not online or because it is not available in user-friendly formats.  As a result, in nationwide surveys California consistently ranks near the bottom of states in terms of its level of open government. 

In an age where technological capabilities abound, the possibility for taxpayers to engage in the legislative process is a reality. If government information were made public online and in standard open formats, citizens could more easily understand and interact with their state government.

In this course, Jerry Brito, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, will present his research on how online resources are an important aspect of the process of achieving government transparency.  Mr. Brito will focus the benefits of and tools for putting data online in structured and searchable formats

The course will address the following questions:

  • How can the internet be used to increase government accountability? What specific tools are available?
  • How are private organizations and government agencies taking advantage of this technology?
  • What is the importance of transparency in government, and what opportunities exist for achieving it?