Lawmaking involves turning good ideas into written proposals for a bill. This provides an opportunity to solicit comments on a draft in an effort to improve it collaboratively. Designed well, processes that invite the public to participate in drafting help raise new issues for legislators and ensure that drafts more effectively reflect the concerns of the people who will be impacted by them. Here, engagement opportunities allow residents to collaboratively write, comment on, and document draft legislations or regulations. For example, WikiLegis enables Brazilians to edit draft legislative text in a manner analogous to collaboratively working in a Google Doc. At this stage, giving the public insight into the drafting process through online participation gives lawmakers the potential to enhance transparency.

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  • Web-based annotation platforms
  • These are tech tools that enable people to mark up web pages and other online documents in much the same way as hard copy documents. People can suggest edits to and make comments about content with the content owner holding final approval for accepting or rejecting changes. Some annotation platforms have settings that allow you to seek public comments and display these while keeping a selected subset of comments (e.g. from invited experts) private and only visible to that group.
  • Blockchain-based petitions
  • These are online petitions that lower the potential for fraud by utilizing a technology called a blockchain that securely stores information. First, the blockchain establishes the identity of signatories (often with reference to a unique identification number issued by government for taxation purposes or similar). Then the blockchain creates an immutable and verifiable record of signatures where each signature is directly attached to the identity of the signatory.
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Wikilegis (formerly e-Democracia) is a tool developed by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil which aims to be a wiki for collaborative legislation generated by citizens that is an easily-modified and accessible web tool that aims to increase the active citizen participation in the legislative process. The portal was set up in 2009, specifically by Brazil’s LabHacker, with the aim being to make legislation more transparent, to improve citizens’ understanding of the legislative process, and to make the Chamber more accessible and interactive.
About the interviewee:
Alessandro Molon is a Brazilian politician, professor and broadcaster affiliated with Rede Sustentabilidade (REDE). He is currently serving his second term as a federal deputy. In his first term (2011-2014), he was the rapporteur and main articulator of the approval of the Civil Internet Framework. During his two consecutive terms as State Representative (2003-2011) in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Molon was known for his defense of human rights and for the oversight of the Executive and the actions of the legislative house itself.
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