In May 2011, council member Carl DeMaio launched San Diego 311, a Smartphone application that allows San Diegans to connect directly with the city government. The app was designed and built in Los Angeles by CitySourced, Inc. and was last updated on July 12.
Now at version 1.5.1, San Diego 311 lets citizens report civic issues, like potholes, graffiti, broken sidewalks, and broken street lights, to the city for quick resolution.
The application description states:“This mobile reporting platform will improve how San Diego delivers services to your neighborhood. By downloading and using San Diego 311 you will be make our city a better place for all residents of San Diego to live.”
Of the 1,000+ downloads, eighteen people have +1’d the app on Google Plus, and twenty-five have rated it. With an average rating of 3.5 stars out of 5, nineteen users have left both negative and positive reviews.
D like the letter :) remarked with a Samsung Galaxy S on version 1.4.3 in January 2012: “This app actually worked for me! I reported a dangerous street corner and a few weeks later they installed a yield sign.”
Enjoypb raised the issue of user security and privacy from an HTC Thunderbolt on version 1.4.0 in May 2011:
“Not a fan of application collecting user data and cell number to report things, like graffiti as savvy attorneys for taggers (including those for gangs) will soepena reporting users’ info. Far cry from being able to report as ‘anonymous’ and should be clearly indicated to users.”
User security and privacy may be a point of interest to potential downloaders. The permissions required to download the current version of San Diego 311 allows the application access to a user’s hardware controls, location, network communication, phone calls, storage, and system tools.
It will be interesting to see if this application catches on in San Diego, and what effects it may have on the relationship between citizens and city government. If more users download San Diego 311 and it proves to be a legitimate platform to augment the actualization of direct democracy, hopefully we will see the application’s definition of “civic issues” expand.