An Introduction to the project

The best way to explain what Political Memory is, is by explaining where it came from.

So, let's start by a bit of context. Political Memory is a tool built by La Quadrature du Net. It is its major campaigning tool.

La Quadrature du Net is a citizen group defending fundamental rights on the Internet by:

  • raising citizen awareness about their political representatives' actions
  • trying to get citizens involved in the political life and demand of their representatives that they represent and defend their rights
  • acting very closely with these representatives
  • organising campaigns during which citizens contact their representatives before certain votes or for given occasions, educating or warning MPs about issues
  • getting MEPs to sign written declarations (for instance, La Quadrature campaigned on a written declaration about ACTA which over half the MEPs signed)
  • and most importantly, trying to increase the political cost of decisions. Making sure elected representatives think long and hard about what their constituents will think of their decisions. The Hadopi “three-strike” law in France is a very good example of that.

In order to reach these goals, Political Memory tries to make it easy for citizens to:

  • follow la Quadrature's work, and campaigns
  • understand their representatives' actions
  • make it easy to contact their representatives
  • raise the political cost of representatives' decisions by keeping them under close scrutiny

In order to work, Political Memory gets its data from two sources:

  • The European Parliament, via Parltrack, for the European MPs
  • The French Parliament, via, for the French MPs

This data is then used for several things:

  • MEP listings and contact details
  • voting data
  • show these representatives' score according to our voting recommendation

Once all this data is input, MEPs are rated, votes are recorded and citizens can see what a given MEP has been up to, how they've voted on specific issues (those on which la Quadrature works).

Citizens can easily reach out to their representative, at any time, or during a specific campaign.

Eventually, this will increase the connexion between citizens and their representatives, putting citizens' concern back at the centre of politics.

For a more lengthy and detailed explanation about what Political Memory is about, you can read Changing Democracy with Code: a Word from the Developpers.

Written by bram in About on 05/06/2011.