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White House makes 'We the People' online petition tool open source

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The "We the People" petition system is going open source, with the White House releasing the source code on Github.

White House with helicopter | FLICKR
White House with helicopter | FLICKR

The White House has announced that its "We the People" online petition system is going open source. Starting now the source code is available on Github, giving everyone the option to use it for their own purposes, as well as help to improve and expand its functionality. The tool is used on so that users can post petitions and then gather signatures online — current petitions cover everything from instituting a no-fly zone over Syria to requesting the White House release the recipe for its Honey Ale. If a petition gets enough support, it will be reviewed by White House staff.

"There is so much that can be done to improve this system," said Macon Phillips, the White House director of digital strategy, "and we only benefit by being able to more easily collaborate with designers and engineers around the country — and the world." We the People was originally launched in September of last year, at which point President Obama promised that the technology would eventually be shared openly.