This is a mash up of different articles-
Real Time Congress is a fast and free app to access real-time information about U.S. Congress on iPhone.
Lobbyists have spent lots of money to get access to real-time information on Congress, and it’s a divide that helped them be more powerful than most citizens. Now, the Sunlight Labs new Real Time Congress App put Congress informations into anyone’s hands all the time, making public empowerment real.
« Our goal at the Sunlight Foundation is to change the way that citizens collect information about their government, and then help them to use that information to change the way they interact with their government. This new app shows how powerful new programs and smart phones can accomplish that goal. »
Real Time Congress for the iPhone – and assimilated “Congress” for Android – are two examples of how powerful mobile applications can be in shifting the traditional balance of power.
« We want to make data about what’s happening inside Congress more available to the public. It isn’t just who your member of Congress is that matters, but also what they do. It’s also important to see what they’re reading and who they’re listening to, and what the process looks like.
The app displays an up-to-the-minute feed of updates from the House and Senate, notices, and key government documents as they are released with features such as:
- Updates from the House and Senate floor as they happen.
- Critical reports and memos as they are published online by officials
- Daily and weekly notices
- Schedule of upcoming committee hearings from House and Senate
Brad Bauman, a former congressional communications director, wrote:
« The Real Time Congress application will keep journalists, Hill staffers, bloggers and interested citizens up to date on what is happening in Congress, in real-time. Its ease of use and sleek design promise that end users will continue to go back to the app for unfiltered information on Congress so they can make their own informed decisions on what is happening in the Capitol. »
For now, all this information is displayed quite simply. There is no deep personalization, no search features and push notifications. Sunlight Labs will continue to improve on the app with user feedbacks.
Still, this kind of app will definitely change the way citizens collect information about their government – and maybe how they are able to use that information to engage with government in new and more effective ways.