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Policy Beta

"Policy Beta will create a digital platform for citizens to network, generate ideas, debate issues, and vote on the policies […] Read More >"

Policy Beta will create a digital platform for citizens to network, generate ideas, debate issues, and vote on the policies that formulate principles for political action. In essence Policy Beta will provide a platform for crowdsourcing public policy.

As a policy crowdsourcing platform, Policy Beta addresses the participatory deficiency in modern democracies. As an open source platform Policy Beta can be adopted by anyone—businesses, political parties, or communities–seeking to crowdsource solutions to collective problems.

The proposed iteration of Policy Beta will be in the service of empowering citizens to engage with policy production for the UK Pirate Party. This first iteration of Policy Beta will assist the UK Pirate Party in developing direct democratic policies for their 2014 Manifesto.

Programmers and administrators will construct an easy to use platform open for citizen feedback, capable of including diverse voices, and able to facilitate deliberation. The content, however, will come from participants. Ideas will be crowdsourced, issues will be debated, and votes will be tallied for the UK Pirate Party’s 2014 Manifesto. The Manifesto will thus be collectively authored. After this process participants and non-participants will be surveyed for their feedback on the process and the platform.

With policies developed through bottom-up citizen dialogue as opposed to top-down professional political deliberation, political representatives can best know and implement citizen-driven initiatives. In this fashion, Policy Beta brings political representatives closer to the concerns of the citizenry while engaging citizens in policy production. This can only be good for the collective self-governance at the heart of functioning democracies.

Prof. Jon Whittle

Jon is a Professor in the School of Computing and Communications.  He is interested in using digital technologies to break down barriers and has worked on a number of digital innovation projects, for example, crowdsourcing local opinions on public safety (voiceyourview.com), serendipity in the digital world (serena.ac.uk), and digital technologies for managing work/life balance (digitalbrainswitch.org.uk)

Position: Principal Investigator, Catalyst Project team, Management Group and Advisory Group Chair

Website: www.jonwhittle.org


Loz Kaye, Leader of UK Pirate Party

Role: Developing the concept, feature set, and software platform fro Policy Beta.

The Pirate Party UK is a democratic political party built on grassroots support and the work of volunteers. The UK Pirate Party stands for Digital Rights, Civil Liberties and “a politics fit for the 21st Century.” They want a “Britain where all can be part of our shared culture and economy.”

Website: UK Pirate Party

Dr Adam Fish, Lecturer, Lancaster University Sociology Department

Role: Assisting development of Policy Beta.

As a social anthropologist of digital culture, I investigate the interface of economic and political power, cultural discourses and practices, and networked communication technologies. These interests coalesce into critical and ethnographic investigations into internet and television convergence, media policy, and network activism.

I am presently writing a book about Current TV–the transnational television network at the forefront of internet convergence, media “democratization,” and social media integration. I am also conducting fieldwork with communities such as Anonymous YouTube video producers and the UK Pirate Party who are engaged in network activism for “internet freedom.”

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