Today I launched a website called Open Source Homeland. Here’s the about page:
This site highlights the people and tools that support the idea of Open Source Homeland— that regular citizens can play key roles in what are traditionally considered government responsibilities— disaster recovery, national security, and emergency preparedness.
Here are some recent examples:
- Craigslist Katrina: the spontaneous offers of help and lists of the missing that were organized quickly and efficiently by regular people on a free website. Thousands of people with free tools doing what the government couldn’t possibly do on its own
- CTA Alerts: a group of hundreds of riders of the Chicago Transit Authority who text each other with service updates. The largest contributor to this site, which I started on a free wireless network service, is the CTA itself. Government cooperating with citizens to get things done cheaply
- Policy Analysis Market: the failed 2003 initiative of DARPA-run Terrorism Information Awareness Office. It was to be an online tool that would allow people to trade contracts on the likekihood of certain events. Subtitled “A Market in the Future of the Middle East“, PAM sought to use market forces to pull quality info out of normal people
In earlier times, people used spades and seeds to plant victory gardens. Now we naturally turn to other tools. With a focus on the United States, this site highlights the tools people use to be of use.