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Geeks and government converge at the FCC

Yesterday, the first FCC developer day focused on open government innovation. For a day, the commission room that has hosted hearings on spectrum policy, licensing, mergers and net neutrality was full of geeks focused on making something useful from the FCC's new APIs and open data stores.

One of those geeks is well-known to many developers: the founding editor of Lifehacker, Gina Trapani. I spoke with her in the FCC's new TEC Lab about her work on the ThinkUp app, the prototype apps that came out of the hackathon, and the potential for geeks to create better outcomes for citizens - and maybe make a few dollars along the way -- with open government data.

Will a rebooted FCC.gov become a platform for applications driven by open government data? If that vision is going to come to fruition, the nation's pre-eminent communication regulator will have to do more than just publish open data sets in machine readable formats. It must also develop a community of software developers that benefits from creating such applications.

Monday's FCC developer day was a first step toward that future. Whether it’s a successful one will depend on how the applications help citizens, businesses or other organizations do something new. In the process, expect a few savvy entrepreneurs to tap into the goldmine of Gov 2.0, empowering citizens along the way.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl