Hacking the Canadian Parliament

Posted on Apr 22, 2009

Well the good news is that a side project I was working on has finally become unnecessary. Turns out someone in parliament has their head screwed on and has pushed ahead for their voting data to be put online. It apparently has something to do with transparency, but I’m not quite convinced. If it’s transparency they wanted then why have they hired such dense developers to build this website of theirs? Why not make it open-source? More like translucent. The data is there, but you have to mull through it by hand to get any real answers. It’s built and protected in a walled garden.

This should have been an open-source effort. Transparent means anyone can access and query the data using whatever means they want. They should be able to add the features they need if they don’t exist. This data could answer some very important questions. Why is it being held hostage by a poor interface in a closed environment?

My plan is to write a spider to crawl the site and liberate the data, build a web service to allow anyone free access to that data, and to make sure everything about it is open-source and free: the data, the source code, the whole nine yards. This should have been a community project from the start. Any civic-minded hackers are definitely welcome to help out — let’s co-ordinate our efforts and make this happen.

Keep you posted.


Just created the source repository for the project at http://bitbucket.org/agentultra/parlica/

Update 2:

There are many other projects that had beaten me to the punch. Should have known. :)