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People We Love :: Tom Steinberg

Open Source Democracy

The future of democracy is in “technologies that empower and uplift, not depersonalize and degrade,” says Tom Steinberg, founder of mySociety.org. The nonprofit runs popular websites that provide U.K. citizens with access to information and political action without requiring paperwork, lawyers, or bureaucrats.

On WhatDoTheyKnow.com, for example, anyone can ask government agencies to release their records through U.K.’s Freedom of Information law. On FixMyStreet.com, people can report a pothole or broken streetlamp: more than 800 problems reported were fixed in January 2009.

In 2006, mySociety created an e-petitions site for the prime minister’s office that has since gathered 8.9 million signatures on a variety of topics.

And though most of his websites focus on the U.K., Steinberg also offers tools and services freely to people around the world.

www.YesMagazine.org/steinberg
Steinberg discusses "How to Improve your Democracy Using the Internet" at Google.

Tom Steinberg
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Anna Stern wrote this article as part of Food for Everyone, the Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Anna was an editorial intern at YES! Magazine during the production of the issue. Anna Stern
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