On President Obama's first day in office, he issued the Open Government Directive with the stated goal to make the U.S. government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The primary method for achieving this goal was technological. All Executive agencies were instructed to adopt 'open data standards' and to connect with constituents using social media. This is Government 2.0.
The Open Government Directive, which became the White House Open Government Initiative, was consistent with Obama's campaign message and was a logical extension of Obama's successful use of social media during the 2008 campaign. In essence, The Open Government Initiative was the U.S. Government's entry into the database culture, an attempt to participate in the archival impulse.
Beth Noveck, Obama's first Director of Open Government, is a great apologist for the Open Government movement. Her TED talk brims with sermonic rhetoric: "The next great super power is going to be the one that can successfully combine the hierarchy of institution...but with the diversity, and the pulsating life and the chaos and excitement of networks."
Open data and 'opening up the api' of government is a technological solution to a socio-politcal problem. Is a government that participates in social networking more just than one that does not? More democratic? Does an app for tracking government spending really make the government more accountable? Does the recent revelation about the NSA harvesting telephone data give the lie to goal of creating an transparent, participatory, and collaboative government?