This talk reports on a study about the impact of crowdsourcing on a law-making process in Finland. In the studied process, the off-road traffic law reform was opened for public participation in Finland by the Ministry of the Environment. The citizens were first asked to share their experiences and problems with off-road traffic and the regulating law on an online platform.
Then the participants were asked to share solutions for those problems. Crowdsourcing resulted into 500 ideas, over 4,000 comments and 24,000 votes, which were analyzed and evaluated both by the crowd by using a new tool called CrowdConsensus and by a globally distributed expert panel. The talk discusses deliberative aspects in crowdsourcing and the usefulness of blended expertise, i.e. the mixture of the crowd’s and experts’ knowledge, in law-making. Furthermore, the talk discusses the concepts of representation and legitimacy in a crowdsourced policy-making process.
The Finnish experiment is one of the first empirical studies about crowdsourcing in legislative processes. Such democratic innovations hold the potential to improve citizen empowerment and participation in the age of democratic recession and deteriorating political institutions. More about the Finnish experiment
*Tanja Aitamurto* is a visiting researcher at the Data and Democracy Initiative at UC Berkeley. The Data and Democracy Initiative is at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). Previously she studied at the Program on Liberation Technology at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford. She examines how collective intelligence, whether harvested by crowdsourcing, co-creation or open innovation, impacts processes in journalism, public policy making and design process. Her work has been published in several academic publications, such as the New Media and Society. Related to her studies, she advises the Government and the Parliament of Finland about Open Government principles, for example about how open data and crowdsourcing can serve democracy.
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