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Newsom, Blakeslee Unveil Digital Tool On Government Meetings

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

In this photo taken Monday, April 20, 2015, Lt. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Californians for Safety and Justice conference in Sacramento, Calif.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

(AP) - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former state Sen. Sam Blakeslee have teamed up with computer scientists to create a video search engine that they say will lift the shroud on government.

Newsom, a Democrat, and Blakeslee, a Republican, will join students from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, on Wednesday in Sacramento to announce Digital Democracy. It's a free, nonprofit Web-based platform that uses the latest in voice and facial recognition technology to give citizens virtual access to state legislative hearings.

Digital Democracy not only plays committee conversations but transcribes what was said and identifies the speaker. The public even can see who has given to a lawmaker and who hired a lobbyist.

Newsom calls it a first stab for citizens to take back power from special interests