July 9th, 2010
12:05 PM ET
4 years ago

Craigslist founder working with congress on transparency

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (right) at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday.
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (right) at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday.

Aspen, Colorado (CNN) – Craig Newmark, a self-described "nerd," has found a pretty nerdy issue on Capitol Hill and is seeing bipartisan support: transparency in government through technology.

Newmark, who founded the popular website Craigslist, is now the company's customer service representative and a board member of the Sunlight Foundation, which focuses on transparency in government.

"A democracy needs informed citizens to survive, and that requires accurate information on political matters," Newmark told CNN after a discussion on technology and government transparency with America's Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Newmark has been meeting with Capitol Hill staffers encouraging even more transparency. He is talking with people on both sides of the aisle about transparency with the intent of bringing them together.

"They want to get beyond the partisan stuff, but it's a big challenge," Newmak told CNN.

Exposing data and using private sector technologies, Newmark says the tax payer will see actual value.

With 270 thousand raw data sets available for private companies to tap into to help make government more accountable, Kundra and Newmark are trying to change the government culture from "there is a form for that" to "there is an app for that."

Already apps are appearing which tell people how long the line at the airport will be before one arrives to when the next train or bus is coming.

Newmark sees the progress, but knows it is only the beginning and will continue making trips to Washington to encourage the use of technology in government.

"I am a pretty impatient human. I want to see more," he said. "The fact of the matter is this administration has exposed more about how it works than every government in human history."


Filed under: Capitol Hill • Technology
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Stephenson Billings

    I hope this man dedicates all the millions he makes to curing all the disease he has spread through his dangerous website. Criagslist is a veritable bazaar of homosexuality and stds. Yet he has offered no apologies to the families destroyed by the crisis of sexuality today. For shame.

    July 9, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Nick

    Craig Newmark, thank you for giving us Craigslist, people first!

    July 9, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    You seriously expect straight answers from politicians? Good luck with that!

    July 9, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. jbNYC

    Tree.. but most was not on purpose.. ;)

    July 9, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Annie, Atlanta

    I agree – we need accurate information on political matters – on all matters, actually.

    The Republicans have been deceiving us as strategy for years. No plans, no ideas to move us forwarding (they actually set up a web site with tax payer dollars to share our ideas!). Just raw fear to bind us to them. Only they can keep us safe, which is absurd. No one can make that claim. This strategy is dividing us, creating an atmosphere where hate grows. Fuel to this fire are the words of Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, etc. Why are they trying to destroy us?

    So we desperately need the truth. Every time we're lied to it needs to be knocked down. The media won't do it. They're corporate owned, just like the GOP. Who will?

    July 9, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Greg Collier

    You should probably first start by running your own transparent enterprise before asking others to do so. You know, lead by example.

    July 9, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Bobert

    The only way that someone would sign on for transparency if it helps their position. This goes for Democrats as well as Republicans. However, this will never happen as one side being helped tends to hurt the other side. Thus, you will never see both Democrats and Republicans working together on this issue, because they will both lose out.

    As far as this administration being transparent. HA! More likely, this administration has been more aggressive in using new technologies to push it's agenda and propganda more than it is to open up to transparency. True transparency, like I stated above, is only shown when it suits their needs.

    July 9, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Michael

    Just publish – very conspicuously – the names of every member of Congress, linked to the names of all entities (and the nature of those entities) that have paid them money, and the exact amount of that money. Also how they have voted on issues that benefit those entities.
    Then we can see who is representing the people, and who needs to be prosecuted for corruption.

    July 9, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. db

    Great, the guy who gave us an internet superhighway for stalkers, con-men, rapist and murderers brings his magic touch to government.

    July 9, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "A democracy needs informed citizens to survive, and that requires accurate information on political matters,"

    Indeed. Keystone of democracy is a throoughlky informed, well-educated populace. Here that GOPers? "ACCURATE INFORMATION" not "death panels" and "socialism" and "ignore scientists because they scare the bible out of me" and "the free market regulates and fixes itself." Kapiche?

    Actually, you probably don't kapiche...and why? Because you don't care and are afraid of what accuracy might mean for your chosen pre-conceived ideological world view. 99% of you don't even know what socialism is and never read the HCR Bill despite regurgitating those talking points ad nauseum.

    July 9, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Craigslist rocks. Forget all this stupid facebook and twitter hype. Craigslit actually is useful unlike all this dumb "social media" hype which is all fluff and no substance.

    July 9, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |