Tom Steinberg is the founder and director of mySociety, an international non-profit group which aims to help people become more powerful in the civic and democratic parts of their lives, through digital means.
mySociety runs the popular UK transparency websites TheyWorkForYou and WhatDoTheyKnow, and problem-fixing sites FixMyStreet and FixMyTransport. It also builds open source software to enable international re-use of mySociety’s projects.
Tom’s job is to help ensure that mySociety’s UK sites are as helpful as possible to the people who need them, to enable and encourage overseas groups to deploy their own versions of our sites, and to supply products and consulting services to media companies, campaign groups and public sector clients.
Tom’s interest in technology and government comes from an unusual background in both fields. Having worked as a sysadmin and junior think-tank researcher, he became a policy analyst at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit from 2001 to 2003. He is a US/UK citizen and currently lives in Oxford.
Outside of mySociety, Tom is frequently asked by governments to help formulate policy advice relating to digital issues. Tom has also advised governments and parties across a spectrum of countries, and a range of ideological positions. He believes that good digital government services, usable community tools and powerful transparency sites are not the preserve of any one political ideology.
In 2007 he co-authored the The Power of Information Review with Ed Mayo and the Strategy Unit, and from 2010-2012 was a member of the UK government’s Public Sector Transparency Board. He’s also proud to be an advisor to Code For America.
Things Tom Doesn’t Like (periodically updated):
- A world in which the likelihood of an issue being acted on depends on how well it flukes a position in the news cycle.
- The current notion of ‘a public debate’, and suspects it is largely synonymous with ‘an issue on which at least one columnist from each national newspaper has vented their prejudices’.
- Gerrymandering, earmarks and un-capped electoral spending.
- The ratio of resources put into studying ‘edemocracy’, versus doing it.