The American internet entrepreneur, 45, will become an unpaid adviser across all government departments to help civil servants develop “innovative” new technology.Under his role, it is expected that Mr Wales will also advise civil servants on how the public can be better engaged through the internet as part of its “open government” initiatives.A Whitehall source told The Daily Telegraph on Sunday night that Mr Wales was one of a number of “unpaid advisers” who would provide help to civil servants rather than ministers.
Mr Wales, a former futures traders who lives in Florida, will “help to deliver new ways that we can (harness) the internet and technology”, they added.It is understood he will be involved in specific “projects” although it remains unclear how long he will remain an adviser for, or who appointed him to the role. A government spokesman later added: “Mr Wales will act as an unpaid adviser to Government to support its agenda to open up policy-making to the public.“He will advise Government on developing innovative new ways technology can be used to give the public a greater say in the policy-making process.”
Mr Wales co-founded Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, in 2001 with philosopher Larry Sanger.Latest figures show it is sixth-most visited website in the world, with it viewed by more than 400 million people month. Wikipedia voluntarily shut down for 24 hours in January in a protest against internet piracy laws in the United States.In his talk, Mr Silva, a senior policy adviser in the No 10 Policy Unit, reportedly told the audience that the government wanted to “usher in the age of open source government”.
“(We) must use new technology to recast politics for the 21st century,” he said in a lecture titled the Open Source Government, Enterprise and Innovation. His talk was billed as outlining the government’s “adventures in crowdsourcing”.Mr Silva, who until last week was a deputy to Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s former director of strategy, told the audience that public sector workers had submitted tens of thousands ways the government could be more efficient in its spending.The announcement that Mr Wales is to advise the government follows several “crowdsourcing” initiatives undertaken by the Coalition.
These include Number 10’s Red Tape Challenge, in which more than 600 regulations have been cleared for removal and the government asking for public feedback on how to change policy.Last year more than 200,000 public sector workers also took part in a “crowdsourcing” exercise as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in which they submitted suggestions on how to reduce wasteful spending.The government is also currently developing a single website- www.gov.uk – in which all the Government’s websites will be put onto the single site.
The project could save the public £50 million a year by building a platform to make web publishing simpler for government and delivering more services online.South by Southwest, dubbed “Woodstock for geeks”, features music concerts, film screenings and panel discussions on “interactive” tecnology.More than 20,000 are expected to attend the conference that is seen as the location where the new mobile and social apps are launched.Known as SXSW, it started in 1987 and is where venture capitalists, software developers, film distributors and representatives of independent music labels all meet under the one roof.
It has historically been a music event where labels showcase their acts and young bands while film and what was then called “multimedia” were added in 1994.It is where Twitter catapulted to global fame in 2007 and drew attention to Amy Winehouse, the late British singer, who played the same year before she hit made it in the United States.On Sunday night, neither Mr Wales or his spokesman was unavailable for comment.Mr Kelsey, the founder of Dr Foster Intelligence, declined to comment. – Thetelegraph