Big Brother's Nightmare

To many citizens, the idea of an omnipresent state sounds like an Orwellian dystopia. But what about turning this idea upside down for a moment: What if mobile apps would equip citizens with the tools to keep an eye on big brother's activities? And what if citizens were able to provide public administration with instant feedback about their performance? Take a look at five apps that made the grade in the category m-Government and find out how mobile phones put a powerful means of participation in every citizens' pocket.

i-Police (Nigeria)
iPolice is a community policing platform designed to engage more Nigerians in making Nigeria a safer country. The mobile app iPolice provides citizens with an effective way of partnering with security agencies, by reporting crimes and providing valuable information via their mobile phones. iPolice also supports community-oriented policing efforts by keeping citizens informed of crime and security issues in the neighbourhood where they live or work, thus helping to reduce crime in the community. iPolice makes it possible to follow and analyze security and crime trends according to federal state and given location. The iPolice app helps locate the nearest police station with address and contact details, for quick and easy crime reporting. Special features of the application include: Security news and alert security tips for safe living; a Crime reporting module; an Information feedback module; the Town and suburb crime history and security report. The ‘Nearest police station’ option gives the user’s location. In keeping abreast of crime and security-related news as it unfolds, Nigerians can learn and contribute to basic crime prevention measures.

MyFunCity - Sustainable Cities (Brazil)
MyFunCity - Sustainable Cities is a social network that focuses on citizenship. It follows the worldwide trend towards segmented social networks. MyFunCity - Sustainable Cities is an e-government software tool designed for e-citizens looking to have an impact on public management with their real needs and priorities. Multi-platform and multi-channel, MyFunCity- Sustainable Cities integrates mobiles phones, smartphones and the web. Citizens can contribute to thirteen areas of evaluation, including transportation, education, health, leisure, safety, street cleanliness, traffic, roads, green spaces, visual pollution, noise, and mood. An average of six questions per area is presented randomly each time a user checks in. Drawing on the total evaluations pertaining to a certain space, such as a street, borough or city, an exact map is drawn based on citizens’ praise and/or disapproval.

Roadroid (Sweden)
ROADROID offers a mobile app designed for smart phones with Android operating systems, to measure road quality, as well as provides a home page with colour-marked maps displaying the results obtained. Users can measure the quality of roads, streets and bike paths by means of the phone’s built-in sensors, camera and GPS. Far more than a mere pothole app, ROADROID is based on years of research by the Swedish national Road Administration and is correlated to the international standard IRI. The professional app analysis provides 100 signals per second (100 Hz), defining road quality according to four levels: green for ‘good’, yellow for ‘OK’, red for ‘poor’ and black for ‘bad’. After logging onto the ROADROID’s homepage, users see the transferred data and can monitor, plan, implement or follow up on road maintenance. ROADROID provides an up-to-date picture of road quality, without displacing advanced methods or ocular surveys. By generating precise measurements and large amounts of data, the field-tested ROADROID system provides reliable statistics in a way unmatched by other methods. It also creates unique opportunities to choose good quality routes and avoid bad stretches, thus optimizing routing. ROADROID has relevance both in developed and especially in developing countries.

Towngas (China)
Towngas is one of the largest energy suppliers in Hong Kong. It provides people in Hong Kong with total-solution gas services, using a convenient specially developed iPhone app. The app features various mobile services that help citizens to increase their life quality and energy efficiency. The “Report Meter Readings” function allows customers to input accurate gas meter readings in seconds; the “Report Meter Readings Reminder” ensures customers report on time; the “eBilling Reminder” pushes an alert when a Towngas eBill appears in the customer’s eService account. Furthermore, the app carries over 1,000 free recipes with simple ingredients for healthy, inexpensive home-cooked meals in no time. Users can go straight to market with this ready-made shopping list. The “Low Carbon Action!” feature is a green campaign providing easy tips for a low carbon footprint. Users’ actions are tracked via diary logs. The app calculates and displays the personal reduction in CO² emissions. Furthermore, users can join the first Maggiemarket game, “Low Carbon Cooking Adventure,” and have fun flame cooking.

Transforming Access and Discovery of Digital Library Resources for the Gen-C (Singapore)
Singapore mobile penetration skyrocketed from 24% in 1997 to 131% in 2008. The shift to an on-the-go lifestyle was the impetus for the National Library Board, NLB, to develop Library in Your Pocket (LiYP). The app provides mobile users with convenient, on-demand access to popular library services and e-resources. Searching the library catalogue, checking loan status and downloading short stories is easy to do from mobile devices anytime, anywhere. Starting with a mobile web application in 2009, NLB enhanced the LiYP service for popular smart phone models, expanding over time to include access to online newspapers, audio books, and other library resources, including pictures, video, and Infopedia articles on Singapore, as well as historic newspapers and other heritage material. NLB launched the MobileRead iPhone application at 2011 READ!, a nation-wide reading initiative to encourage Singaporean commuters and book lovers to read fiction, including local creative literature, on mobile phones. MobileRead attracted over 50,000 downloads, doubling the annual reading programme’s outreach. The Singapore Memory Project is a long-term programme to enable the national memory to be collected, organised, preserved, discovered, researched and co-created. A key component is an online portal and the Singapore Memory Mobile app. Digital services are an integral part of NLB’s multi-channel delivery approach.