Group 4 Reading – Activism Politics

Netizens: An Anthology, The Net and the Future of Politics: The Ascendency of the Commons . FOCUS On pp1-5, 10-12, 15-22, 24-25

Assignment:
Synthesize reading(s) and supplement discussion material with at least one additional reading per group member. Blog, a reaction to the assigned reading(s)* that includes a short abstract (with link) of the supplemental resource. Posts are due 6 pm day of class.

Netizen’s transcribes the two-week November 1994 Virtual Conference on Universal Service and Open Access to the Telecommunications Network (see NTIA) as an example of public and open discussion to examine e-government.

Views on Internet and democracy:

  • 19th Century Political Theorist, James Mill – democracy as desirable but impossible to maintain.
  • Recent Scholar Professor Christopher Lach –is the press and modern journalism equivalent to a public forum for representative government?
  • Traditional town meeting limitations – is everyone allowed to speak?
  • At the conference – Internet identified as a public good.

Optimism at the conference:
“The development of the Internet and of Usenet is an investment in a strong force towards making direct democracy a reality. These new technologies present the chance to overcome the obstacles of preventing the implementation of direct democracy…Usenet newsgroups are discussion forums where questions are raised, and people can leave comments when convenient, rather than at a particular time and at a particular place…newsgroups and mailing lists prove that citizens can both do their daily jobs and participate in discussions that interest them within their daily schedule (2-3).”

Over ten years later government net uses are still being envisioned…UW Professor Philip Howard quotes in his book on page 36 about digital democracy:
“The general public will have ready access to government information and services over their computers. The internet will be an agent for democracy, as each community has an electronic town hall…citizens will vote from home by computer on daily and weekly issues which are raised by their elected representatives (Bainbridge 2003, 320).”

Internet Access in Libraries:
The ALA (American Library Association) includes the Internet as part of its Intellectual Freedom policy. Libraries defend the use of the Internet for everyone and try to resist filtering, however the courts upholding CIPA in 2003 required libraries receiving public funds to limit the sites which are accessible to children.

Questions:

  • How do we create a public forum through the net?
  • How do we use communication technology to drive direct democracy?
  • Is accessing the Internet a citizen right?

DEFINITIONS:
NTIA~ National Telecommunications & Information Administration – a former branch of the US Department of Commerce sponsored the email and newsgroup conference).

Intellectual Freedom~ Intellectual freedom is freedom of the mind, and as such it is both a personal liberty and prerequisite for all freedoms leading to action. Moreover, intellectual freedom, protected by the guarantees of freedoms of speech and press in the first Amendment, forms the bulwark of our constitutional republic. –American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom, Intellectual Freedom Manual

CIPA Children’s Internet and Protection Act~ forces libraries to filter the content of computer usage.

SUPPLEMENTAL SOURCES:
Howard, Philip N. (2006). New media campaigns and the managed citizen. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.
A University of Washington professor, Howard uses an ethnographic approach to examine the “networked computer” and “political campaign establishment.” Survey data and social network analysis provide an evolutional look at political campaigns over time from 1996 to 2004.

Lord, Catherine. (2006). Intellectual Freedom: Understanding and Supporting Access. King County Library System, Training 10 November 2006.

Stephanie

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