Ever since we started to organize ourselves socially, we have thought hard and long about how to ensure that we can develop checks on the power that we entrust to some in our organization, and how we can ensure that this power is not abused or misused in different ways. There are several different ways to accomplish this goal - from balancing power between different institutions to limiting it in time. One particularly effective and interesting way to accomplish this goal has always been transparency. If we as members of an organization, citizens in a state or just human beings gain insight into how power is used, and how decisions are made, we can review the exercise of power and act on what we find.
But designing transparency is hard, and requires careful thought. As in all institutional design, the end result needs to reflect the set of relationships in the society we live in, and it needs to change when our circumstances materially change as well. In this essay I will argue that we need to examine what it would mean to change from passive access as the goal of our transparency design to active disclosure, and what new institutional challenges that will present us with.
Nicklas Lundblad is senior policy counsel and head of public policy for Google in Mountain View where he leads a small team of policy experts in analyzing and advising on public policy. He has worked with tech policy since he wrote his first article on the politics of crypto in 1994. Prior to joining Google he was senior executive vice president of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and co-founded Swedishcurrent affairs magazine Neo.. He currently serves on the Swedish ICT-council, advising the Swedish ICT-minister, works as a member of Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt's reference group on Internet Freedom and has been a member of several corporate and organizational boards. Nicklas was recently elected member of the Royal Engineering Academy in Sweden and is an Eisenhower fellow. In 2009 he was recognized as ICT-person of the year by the two largest computer and business publications in Sweden. He holds a B.A. in philosophy, a L.LM and a PhD in applied information technology. He has served on the e-Europe Advisory Board advising then-ICT-commissioner Reding on i2010 as well as represented Google in the OECD, ICC and WTO.