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Carl Malamud, a digital provocateur, has been lighting fires under government bureaucrats for nearly two decades.

On Friday, the Bodega resident received two million more matchsticks to encourage U.S. governments and municipalities to innovate online.

Google awarded $2 million to Malamud's nonprofit group, Public.Resource.Org. It was one of five organizations to share $10 million in prize money awarded "for ideas to change the world."

Malamud's idea is to make government more transparent by pressuring officials to post online legal rulings, building codes and other underpinnings of American civic life in a format accessible to anyone.

"That's the raw material of our democracy," Malamud, 51, said Friday from his office in Sebastopol. "All legal materials in the United States should be available."

Currently, the amount of information placed online by governments from the federal level to city halls is inconsistent, and often in format that are not easily searched or compiled into databases.

Plus, much of the public material that is online is on sites that charge people for access, such as the federally run PACER database that charges 8-cents per page for court documents.

Malamud plans to spend some of the $2 million from Google to work with Sonoma County and local cities to get all local laws such as building codes and city ordinances online.

The money could not have come at a better time for Malamud. Public.Resource.Org was down to its last $2,000.

"I was really sucking wind," Malamud said. "This is huge. This is two years plus of financing."

Malamud has a track record of prodding governments to innovate. In 1994, he pushed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to post corporate filings online, opening the door for companies such as Google and Yahoo to create elaborate financial Web sites where people can access quarterly earnings reports.

In 2008, Malamud helped convince the state of Oregon to stop claiming copyright over its laws, meaning anyone could legally publish the material on their websites. Malamud is now pushing California officials to drop their claim of copyright over the California Code, which is a massive collection of state law. He digitally scanned a stack of the code that weighed 150 pounds, and now anyone can download the 33,000 pages from public.resource.org.

More recently he testified before Congress on how to make government more accessible in the digital age. He worked with the National Archive and others to help improve the online publication of the Federal Register. And he has put more than 4,000 government-owned movies online, attracting nearly 10 million views on Youtube.com and his site, FedFlix.

He also made an unsuccessful bid to be named Public Printer of the United States.

Malamud is the only staff employee at his nonprofit, which is located in the O'Reilly Media offices in Sebastopol. But he collaborates with tech veterans such as Tim O'Reilly and has a long-standing relationship with Google and other Internet heavyweights.

"We were confident (Public.Resource.org) would be able to use this money to make a difference," said Jamie Yood, a Google spokesman.

Google, which announced the $10 million award program s in 2008, received more than 150,000 entries from 170 countries.

With his coffers refilled, Malamud plans to use North Bay governments to establish best practices for getting local laws online.

"We want to use Sonoma County and the North Bay as a petri dish," he said. "We have to do this someplace and we're starting in our back yard."

While many local governments such as Sonoma County have placed their municipal codes online, Malamud wants to aggregate it and ensure it is in a digital format that can be easily compiled in a larger database.

"We are going to find the holes and get that stuff online," he said. "We want to gain experience as to what standards should be used and learn what it will take to scale that up over time."

If the information was in a standard and free format it would enable Internet entrepreneurs to design a simple, straightforward website for accessing public information across cities and counties. Currently, many government sites are clunky and not intuitive, and there is no standard layout so people have to learn how to navigate each municipality's site.

Malamud does not plan to design the most usable website. His goal is to determine the best way to provide government data in bulk so others can have access to it and design the most usable website.

"Our speciality is bulk access so any computer programmer can take this stuff and start working with it," he said. "Our primary focus is not end users. Our site is a like a big old loading dock for data."

The amount of government data just within the North Bay is massive. Malamud's task won't be easy.

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo said he and the county are behind Malamud.

"Making information readily available to the public is one of the pillars of having a transparent government, and a government that is effective," Carrillo said. "We are thankful for Google for choosing a local company."

Malamud said his first step is to determine what information is available, and phase two is to begin collecting and publishing the easily obtained material. Phase three will be to process the more difficult material, such as court rulings from Sonoma County Superior Court, which are currently not online.

"There are issues of privacy when you start posting things," he said. "Bottom line, the goal is get as much of the law of Sonoma and surrounding counties online as possible. We may or may not reach that goal, but we are certainly going to try."