28 November from 10.30 to 12.30 - Room 1 - Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN


Sponsored by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe


Do crowdsourcing platforms – such as the Finnish "Open Ministry" platform – contribute to a more effective and relevant legislation or do they make the process slower and more complex? A further question is whether policy making is improved or distorted by public opinion polls conducted through complex analysis of large collections of online data.

Semantic polling

Semantic polling is a technique to analyse large collections of online data, based on specific search words in tweets or similar texts exchanged on the social networks, in order to draw up conclusions of public opinion on varied subjects. Companies such as Linguamatics ou Semiocast are specialised in this semantic polling, which can be used, for example, in the framework of election campaigns, but also during political debates covering questions of a general nature. A new way of informing (virtually in real time) political parties and decision-makers what citizens think, but in itself raising new questions.


Mr Paul GUYOT, France, Co-founder and CEO of Semiocast

Paul Guyot founded Semiocast, a market, social and opinion research start-up leveraging public social media conversations, in 2009. He holds a Ph.D. in Artifical Intelligence from Pierre & Marie Curie University.


Legislative crowdsourcing, Finnish Parliament & Open Ministry, Finland

This session features two models in which crowdsourcing is used in law-making in Finland. On the Open Ministry online platform citizens propose petitions online. According to the Citizens Initiative Act those petitions have to be discussed in the Parliament if they gather 50,000 signatures in 6 months. Apart from gathering signatures, Open Ministry drafts the actual bills based on petitions with volunteer lawyers and other experts.

Website: http://www.avoinministerio.fi/

In another Finnish model, crowdsourcing is applied in law-making process in first mapping problems regarding the law and then finding solutions to those problems. Crowdsourcing as problem solving is used in off-road traffic law preparation on an online platform with gamification features such as gathering points and badges. The project is a pilot project of the Finnish Ministry of Environment and the Committee for the Future in the Finnish Parliament.

Website: http://www.suomijoukkoistaa.fi/


Ms Tanja AITAMURTO, Finland, Visiting Researcher, Data and Democracy Initiative, UC Berkeley

Tanja Aitamurto is a visiting researcher at the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford. She examines how collective intelligence, whether harnessed by crowdsourcing, co-creation or open innovation, impacts processes in journalism, public policy making and design. Related to her studies, she advises the Government and the Parliament of Finland about Open Government practices. Based on her previous research findings, she runs a pioneering experiment to crowdsource a law in Finland with the Ministry of Environment and the Committee for the Future.


Mr Mikael JUNGNER, Finland, Member of Parliament

Mikael Jungner is a member of the Finnish Parliament and former Secretary General of the Finnish Socialdemocratic Party. He is the former CEO of a Finnish Broadcasting Company and former Political Secretary to the Finnish Prime Minister. Mikael Jungner is a lawyer by training. His main interests are in social media and start up's.


Mr Joonas PEKKANEN, Finland, Founder of Open Ministry

Joonas Pekkanen is the founder of Open Ministry, an NGO that aims to crowdsource legislation. Pekkanen has studied Finance and Law. He worked for 10 years as a co-founder in several internet and mobile startups prior to his pro-democratic endeavours. Pekkanen is a member of the Open Government Partnership committee in Finland and on the board of Open Knowledge Finland.



Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Ms Nunzia CATALFO, Member of Parliament, Italy, Member of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Nunzia Catalfo, expert in active labor market policies, is a member of the Labour Commission and the Commission for Children and was elected as a representative of the Five Stars Movement in February 2013. She began her political activity in 2008 with the "Friends of Beppe Grillo." The Five Star Movement - today also as a parliamentary group - was founded on the principle of direct citizen participation in the political and social life of the state. In representative democracy Catalfo supports direct democracy mechanisms, with the desire to involve citizens in the decision-making process.

Mr Ben O'LOUGHLIN, United Kingdom, Professor of International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London

Ben O'Loughlin is Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2013-14 he is Specialist Advisor to the UK House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence. He is co-editor of the Sage journal Media, War & Conflict. His latest book is Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order. He has carried out projects on media and security for the UK's Economic and Social Research Council and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. He has contributed to the New York Times, Guardian, OpenDemocracy, Sky News and Newsweek.


Ms Francesca TRALDI, Italy, Head of Digital Agenda at Magna Carta Foundation

Francesca Traldi holds a PhD in political contemporary and comparative history of the university of Bologna and in Social History of Europe and the Mediterranean of Ca Foscari University. She was a research fellow in the Political Science Department at Brown University. Since 2011, she is the director of International Relations and head of Digital Agenda at Magna Carta Foundation in Rome.


Rapporteur to the plenary session

Ms Anne BRASSEUR, Member of Parliament, Luxembourg, Chair of the ALDE Group to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Anne Brasseur has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg since 1979. She was Alderman (deputy mayor) of the city of Luxembourg from 1982 to 1999 and from 2005 to 2009. Since 1993, Anne Brasseur has been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. She interrupted her mandate from 1999 to 2004 to take up the duties as the Minister for National Education, Vocational Training and Sports in Luxembourg. In the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur was Chair of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education. Since 2009, she has been chairing the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the Parliamentary Assembly.


Mr Charles KENNEDY, United Kingdom, Member of Parliament and Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe



Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the Semantic polling technique:
% Stimmen
37% 41
a. Yes
63% 69
b. No

Gesamtstimmen: 110

Die Abstimmung endete am 29.11.13 12:00 und ist daher gesperrt.

For the Legislative crowdsourcing initiative:
% Stimmen
80% 105
a. Yes
20% 27
b. No

Gesamtstimmen: 132

Die Abstimmung endete am 29.11.13 12:00 und ist daher gesperrt.