Jun 8

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Web 2.0 at the European Parliament

Ajit Jaokar wrote in to tell us about the talk he gave about Web 2.0 at the European parliament's EIF foundation. He notes, "The EIF foundation is a subgroup within the European parliament concerned with Internet issues. The audience is normally MEPs (Members of European parliament). I was invited to speak on Web 2.0, Mobile Web 2.0 and beyond. See the full text of my talk here."

It's interesting to see that Web 2.0 interest is reaching into government bodies like these. I remember when I started my career of technology advocacy back in the early 90's, talking about the commercialization of the Internet, and was invited to address the staff at the House of Representatives. Similarly, I remember in the late 90s, when I got a flurry of requests to talk to government bodies about open source software. Not much seems to happen as a result of these investigations, at least not at first, but eventually the ideas do start to catch on. Government is definitely a follower, not a leader, but they do start to pay attention about 30-40% of the way up the hype curve, so this is a sign that Web 2.0 still has a ways to go.

Ajit also noted that in his talk he used some of the ideas from . ( Ajit also put up a summary of the main points from the interview.) I'd forgotten about this interview, which I did after my keynote at TieCon a few weeks ago. We covered a lot of ground! Kamala set out for a five minute podcast and we ended up going for about twenty.

tags: web 2.0  | comments: 9   | Sphere It

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Comments: 9

  kamla bhattlog [06.08.07 02:50 PM]


Here is the original link to the interview that I did with you.


  Ajit Jaokar [06.09.07 01:58 AM]

Many thanks for covering this Tim. Yes, there is definitely a lot of interest in the Web 2.0 space (and by extension Mobile Web 2.0) from many members of the European Union.

I think we will see more from the European Union in this space.

I viewed my talk as a catalyst - i.e. setting the right framework (perspective of Web 2.0 and Mobile Web 2.0) and asking the right questions (the future is about Identity, mobile, Open Gardens, open source, WiFi/Wimax, DVB-H etc etc)

Like I said in my talk, I was pleasantly surprised that many more ideas came from the MEPs - especially in the Q and A sessions.

One such idea was from Malcolm Harbour MEP - who talked about the idea of ‘democratise’ i.e. for instance using Web 2.0 techniques to interact with grassroots members of the public. Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP has a video blog. And Bartho Pronk of the European commission also added insights by covering the whole spectrum (both good and the risk factors).

As I write this, I see a new report featured at the BBC which says ‘Government must do more to embrace Web 2.0 tools and communities’

So, - we can expect a lot more here.

With a blog like ‘OpenGardens’ you would definately expect me to talk about Open systems, Web, Open Standards, Open source, Net neutrality etc etc ..

The difference now is: Web 2.0 is mainstream and also there is a direct, tangible benefit to politicians interacting with the people.

I gave many examples of Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and others in my second(breakfast talk) to the MEPs(which included demos)

I think many are watching the American election very closely now - and especially with the use of Web 2.0 techniques.

There is one classic clip I used from Barrack Obama where he talks of ‘net neutrality’. This is what I call ‘Long tail campaigning’ i.e. Net neutrality is an issue which is of vital importance to many people - but its unlikely that Barrack Obama will use it in a face to face campaign. However, he has this classic clip on You Tube which I used (well worth seeing if you have not seen it)

Finally, I am glad that the Kamala Bhatt interview got the coverage it deserves. I even email Kamala offline to say that - I am surprised how this had been missed by the blogosphere. It took me more than two hours to create a summary on my blog - and with 31 bullet points, it was very well worth it

Considering this was not my usual audience .. I was truly happy with the feedback and with the many more new friends I have made ..

So, yes, expect a lot more in this space!
Kind rgds

  Rick [06.09.07 03:39 AM]

"government is definitely a follower, not a leader"

You might want to pay more attention when in Europe. Over here, government, especially at the local level, has been leading in adopting open source.

  Ajit Jaokar [06.09.07 03:49 AM]

I would agree with Rick. Government here has been taking a far more proctive role in promotion of Open source, Web standards etc. As per my previous comment, see as an example

  Roy Schestowitz [06.09.07 05:55 AM]

I caught the following in Technocrat this morning:

3 open source e-Government projects merge and launch

,----[ Quote ]
| Open source experts from the public sector, community and SME's
| participated in the first Plone e-government international workshop.
| [...]
| Attendants, equally representing the public sector, Plone community
| and SME's, came from several countries : Belgium, France,
| Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, The Netherlands and Luxemburg.

  George S. [06.09.07 07:31 AM]

Governments start paying attention to something when a certain point is reached, when something becomes really "hot". The Web 2.0 has already started to enter a "hot" phase and one cannot ignore this fact. Successful Web 2.0 websites, with critical number of users, is something that every government would (or at least should) pay attention to.

  Pierre Guillaume Wielezynski [06.09.07 11:57 AM]

Tim and all,

The World Bank, which many lump with the public or government sector is also tackling web2.0 in its own way. I have been working there for the last 7 years on web related issues and more recently on social media / web2.0. You'll be happy to know that we have just released an open-source aggregator that we conceived in house. The tool, called the Buzzmonitor, aggregates any RSS feeds (including search ones), integrates with the Yahoo term extraction API, displays technorati and alexa widgets, leverages wisdom of the croud through digg like voting and user tagging, and is 100% open source. We are releasing it back as we want the public sector (NGOs, foundations, governments etc...) to listen and eventually join the conversations.

You can learn more and download it here:
I would love to get feedback on it.

-Pierre Guillaume

  Ajit Jaokar [06.09.07 12:35 PM]

thanks for this Pierre. Had a quick look. shall blog about it after its live. email me at ajit.jaokar at for any specifics I should cover

  Alexa [06.12.07 01:00 AM]

I think governments have been aware of web 2.0 for quite some time. In discussions at European Schoolnet (a network of 28 Ministries of Education) this has been a key topic for some time.

Also, I gave talks about it in UNESCO Bangkok last year but web 2.0 is of limited use in many SE Asian countries as the schools involved still don't have Internet connections. In Europe, governments are cautious about web 2.0 because of the risks and issues highlighted by YouTube, MySpace etc.

For instance, in a user-generated content project, how can we control quality and prevent copyright infringement? In our understanding and experience of deploying web-based services, users expect "official" sources of information to have higher quality control than an equivalent privately-funded source. So, implementing web 2.0 for government services is rather more tricky than hacking together a service and putting it online. The technology is there (it usually is the first aspect which is available, for any new development), but the social/quality/control policies are not...

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