How can citizens use technology to change society? This is the question that Jorge Soto, an electronic engineer from the Technological Institute of Monterrey (Mexico), has been asking himself since he created his first project for open data and citizen participation: Cuidemoselvoto.org in 2009.
Thanks to this electoral monitoring tool, citizens and non-governmental organizations could report on electoral infractions through Twitter, text messages and emails during the elections of 2009. "We received about 11,000 reports and in 200 cases we took legal action," recalls Soto, who, in addition to engineering, is an expert in business administration from Columbia Business School (United States).
Cuidemoselvoto.org was followed by internetnecesario.org, created by Soto and other colleagues in the wake of an additional 3% tax on internet use, proposed at the end of 2009 by the Government of Mexico. "There were many criticisms, so we launched the site to channel them by monitoring activity generated by the movement," says Jorge. Among other things, the system turned Twitter activity into an email to each one of the representatives of congress. As a result, part of the creative team from Internetnecesario.org was invited to present its position during the debate on the tax in the Senate.
But Soto´s efforts did not stop there. In 2010, Soto launched the company Citivox and although he has continued to launch new initiatives, today this is his stellar project. According to Soto his aim is "to help citizens, civil society organizations, Governments and institutions to work together to improve their communities".