Society is changing faster than ever before and almost every part within the system seems to be able to adapt to this new way of functioning. Almost, because the political system seems to reject using the latest innovative technologies and carries on with the old system.

More and more citizens are disagree with the way that governments are involved with their citizens. As Winston Churchill once said:  ‘’the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.’’ But fortunately, there are some new movements and innovative organisations on the block that are trying to increase the participation and are trying to give democracy back to the citizens.

G1000 citizen empowerment

One of these organisation is G1000 which is a major citizen initiative in Belgium that appeared after Belgium did not have a parliament for 500 days. The movement has their values based on the 4Ps: altogether good for the environment (Planet), the well-being of all (People), a thriving economy (Prosperity), and with participatory governance as a red line. They organised the G1000 summit on 11 November 2011 which brought 1,800 citizens together to discuss (in)equality, research and education, and dissemination with an international outreach.

Perfect transparency or perfect privacy?

Another initiative is the ONLIFE Manifesto: a project launched by the European Commission that aims for fostering the public debate by making use of ICT developments. This top down initiative of the European government wants to reframe and translate privacy with help of the European citizens.

We are living in a society where the line between the real and virtual world is blurred. Everything that is uploaded online can be used in real live, and many people are not aware of the transparency of the internet.

According to ONLIFE Manifesto, privacy includes that the identity of the people is not misused. People should use the Internet in a responsible manner, fairness on transparency should be uphold and people should respects each other’s personal data.

Call for action

It’s the task of the public and politics to define and set boundaries for both privacy and transparency. By making use of participatory initiatives such as the ONLIFE Manifesto and G1000, a debate between the public and politics can be fostered. However, this requires action from both sides.

Politics must try to get closer to the people and this needs communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Politicians should dare to step down from their bureaucratic tower in order to join the floor of discussion within the public debate.

Moreover, you are included in the group of citizens that should hold the politicians accountable, ask for transparency, fairness and respect. You can be the trigger to a new society. Find your passion and dream big because: “there is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”― Nelson Mandela