RELEASE: Free Law Founders Expands with New Members from U.S. Open Data and Hypothes.is

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2015

CONTACTS
The OpenGov Foundation – Nicko Margolies: nicko@opengovfoundation.org

Press Release

Free Law Founders Expands with New Members from U.S. Open Data and Hypothes.is

Waldo Jaquith of U.S Open Data and Dan Whaley of Hypothes.is Join Nationwide Coalition to Transform U.S. Lawmaking and Legal Data for the Internet Age.

WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2015)The Free Law Founders (FLF) coalition today announced that Waldo Jaquith and Dan Whaley have joined its nationwide efforts to bring America’s laws, lawmaking and public access to legal information into the 21st century.

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“The United States is a nation founded on an open, self-amending document, with thousands of legal codes built atop that core library,” said Waldo Jaquith, director of U.S. Open Data. “This system demands open access to these legal codes, so that anybody can read them, understand them, obey them, and propose modifications, via their representatives. That ideal has largely been ignored, but the Free Law Founders brings together people who uphold that ideal while upgrading it for the 21st century.”

Waldo Jaquith has been an enthusiastic supporter of legal technology for twenty years, beginning with an effort as a teenager to put his city’s laws online. He created The State Decoded, runs Virginia Decoded, and worked in open ethics data at the White House. He serves as the Senior Technical Advisor to the Sunlight Foundation and the Director of U.S. Open Data, where his work is made possible by a fellowship with the Shuttleworth Foundation.

“Opening law is as important to the future of global democracy as any other initiative within the open knowledge movement,” said Dan Whaley, founder of Hypothes.is. “It’s not just about freeing it from those who would extort tolls from citizens for using what’s theirs— it’s also about making it more responsive, more modern and more accountable in its creation to the needs of real people right now.”

Dan Whaley is the Founder and CEO of the non-profit Hypothes.is. Their mission is to bring an open, interoperable conversation layer to the world’s knowledge. Many years ago, Dan founded the first travel reservation company on the web, GetThere, which went public in 1999 and was purchased by Sabre in 2000. Today, it is the dominant player in its industry and processes $10B in travel services on behalf of airlines, corporations, and consumers.

“The Free Law Founders will be stronger and more effective with Waldo and Dan lending their considerable talent and experience to our goals to opening laws and legislative data to the public,” said Ben Kallos, New York City Council Member and a member of the Free Law Founders. “I’m excited to see the Free Law Founders grow and look forward to opening our country’s most important data with these new partners.”

“Waldo and Dan have long been on my open government and open source dream teams,” said Seamus Kraft, Executive Director of The OpenGov Foundation and a founding member of the Free Law Founders. “They are not only brilliant technologists, but genuinely awesome people who have much to contribute to the coalition’s important work at all levels of government. FLF members are lucky to have the opportunity to closely collaborate with, and learn from, these cutting-edge civic innovators.”

The Free Law Founders is a nationwide effort of people seeking to improve how we access, produce, and maintain the most important public information in America — our laws, legislation, and legal codes. With over 20 members in cities across the country, the Free Law Founders is one of the leading open legislative data advocacy groups in the United States.

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