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Developing transparency through digital means? Examining institutional responses to civic technology in Latin America

January 19, 2017 by Rebecca Rumbul

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A number of NGOs across the world currently develop digital tools to increase citizen interaction with official information. The successful operation of such tools depends on the expertise and efficiency of the NGO, and the willingness of institutions to disclose suitable information and data. It is this institutional interaction with civic technology that this study examines. The research explores empirical interview data gathered from government officials, public servants, campaigners and NGO's involved in the development and implementation of civic technologies in Chile, Argentina and Mexico. The findings identify the impact these technologies have had upon government bureaucracy, and the existing barriers to openness created by institutionalised behaviours and norms. Institutionalised attitudes to information rights and conventions are shown to inform the approach that government bureaucracy takes in the provision of information, and institutionalised procedural behaviour is shown to be a factor in frustrating NGOs attempting to implement civic technology.