Ročný Archív: 2000

Internet demokracia - pre Združenie pre Computing - Steven Clift - 2000

Internet demokracie

Zverejnené vo zväzku. 43, Nie 11.11.2000 zo spojov ACM (CACM), publikácie Asociácie pre Computing (ACM).

Steven Clift

Tu sedím so svojím laptopom na lavičke v parku mimo Independence Hall vo Philadelphii, ehm, zázraky a humbuk moderných technológií. To bolo tu že americká Deklarácia nezávislosti bola podpísaná v roku 1776.

Ak chcete napísať o využití informačných a komunikačných technológií a demokracia nevyžaduje pohľad hyper rýchlosťou, že všetko sa bude meniť v najbližších dvoch rokoch. Skôr sú to zásady, ktoré sme vytvoriť a akcie berieme teraz, keď sa nastaví kurz pre ďalších 200 rokov demokracie v informačnom veku. Musíme sa pýtať sami seba - Chceme vybudovať internet do podstaty mnoho našich demokracií? Alebo budeme udržiavať predvolenú kurz, kde demokracia je zaťažujúce add-on, a na strane aplikácie, ktorá sa stane pre spustenie na internete? Rovnako ako sme sa venovať čas a zdroje, aby z Internetu bezpečné miesto pre e-commerce, nemali by sme urobiť to isté pre e-demokracia?

Už v roku 1994 som si myslel, že som vymyslel termín "e-demokracia." Bol som do demokracie, e-mail, a Minnesota politike. Že volebný rok skupina dobrovoľníkov vytvoril Minnesota e-demokracia < http://www.e-democracy.org >, ako prvý na svete voľby orientované webové stránky. "E-mail" alebo "elektronický" v kombinácii s "demokracia" z "e-demokracia." V posledných rokoch som objavil článok z 1987 , ktorý používal termín, ale ide o to, aby občania spontánne postavený niečo nové na vrchole jedného z najdôležitejšie inštitúcie ľudstva - demokracia. Valcované sme si rukávy a robil prácu potrebnú k pohybu za humbuk k reálne výsledky.

Aj keď aj naďalej dobrovoľne s Minnesota e-demokracia, som tiež zapojený do "konvergencie demokracie a internet" na celom svete cez moje Demokracia on-line úsilie. Uvedomujem si, že sociálne, politické a ekonomické rozdiely v krajinách, dokonca aj komunity na celom svete za následok v mnohých rôznych demokraciách. Cez tieto dynamické rozdiely, formy zastúpenia a verejnom rozhodovaní sa sťahujú na internete a iných informačných a komunikačných technológií do srdca to, čo robia. Avšak, z parlamentov a miestnych zastupiteľstiev občianskej spoločnosti a mediálnych skupín, odvetvia, demokracia sa zameriavajú predovšetkým na koncové aplikácie, a nie základnej infraštruktúry internetu.

Potrebujeme generácie občianskych technológov, ktorí sa zaoberajú základnú infraštruktúru internetu a štandardy procesov vo verejnom záujme. Potrebujeme talentovaných ľudí s okom na vytváranie internetovej demokracie sieť od prírody. Rovnako ako prenosové protokoly hyper-text a mark-up jazyky umožňujú voľnejšie prejav, aké normy by mohli pomôcť elektronického voľné združenie alebo geografickej báze internetového obsahu navigáciu? Zmysluplná on-line reč len zdá, že prípad, kedy sa ľudia môžu vytvoriť trvalé cieľové skupiny alebo v rámci aktívnej on-line komunít. Skutočnej demokracie je tiež v podstate vychádza z geografie, ale webové stránky sú neuveriteľne ťažké sa orientovať a vyhľadávanie na základe robiť to náročný pre ľudí nájsť informácie týkajúce sa problematiky miestnej komunity.

Ako som sledoval Internet Engineer Task Force a ďalšie technické skupiny je jasné, že musíte mať "štát" s cieľom prispieť alebo ovplyvniť tieto technické meritocracies. Nestačí cítiť niečo, čo by malo byť vykonané a nie je predpoklad, že každý má právo na zastúpenie. Tí, ktorí chcú internet, ktorý pracuje prirodzene vo verejnom záujme a demokracie musí byť v zábere s zásluhy ako v rozvoji a podpore internetových štandardov. Potrebujeme občianske zmýšľajúce technológov, ktorý nielen podporí technický vývoj, ale aj hrať vedúcu úlohu pri rozvoji technických riešení a aplikácií získať rešpekt, uznanie a výkon v rámci Internetu je meritokracia. Musíme nielen odôvodnenia pre štandardné alebo open source riešenie, ale aj písať a riešenie kódu, ktoré robia naše technické ciele v realitu.

Nechaj ma byť trochu konkrétnejší. Niektoré z projektov a nápadov, ktoré som si prial, aby obsahovať:

  • Open Group < http://opengroups.org > - Toto je môj prvý pokus o zavedenie vývoj technické úsilie s revolučnou vplyv na verejné on-line komunít, a bezplatné elektronické spojenie. Zistil som, že na základe skúseností, že väčšina transformačné aspekt internetu v demokracii je many-to-many komunikácie. Zatiaľ čo drvivá väčšina on-line komunít, nemajú nič spoločné s politickými otázkami alebo miestnych vecí komunity, veľa robiť. Problém je v tom, že je takmer nemožné, aby priemerný užívateľ internetu nájsť, vyhodnotiť alebo vstupovať do týchto fór. Otvorené skupiny by vytvorenie štandardu XML pre opis on-line skupiny, schopnosť integrovať túto normu do zoznamu e-mailových, webových fórum a rozprávanie serverový softvér aj mechanizmus, ako získať a zdieľať tieto dáta.
  • Reprezentatívna demokracia Online Toolkit - Táto sada aplikácií sa bude snažiť využiť internetové štandardy a open source softvér, kde je to možné pre poradcu integráciu Internetu do formálnych reprezentatívnych procesov. Aj keď to nie je v podstate určený na vytvorenie novej internetovej štandardy, by sa mala zamerať na využitie spolupráce Internet štýlu celej vlády a akademických pracovísk stavať lacná a robustné softvérové ​​nástroje pre zastupiteľských zborov po celom svete. Príklady použitia môže zahŕňať e-mailovú odpoveď, pokročilé filtrovanie prichádzajúci e-mail a pobočník odpoveď, virtuálne rokovania, systém, ktorý umožňuje fyzickej verejné vypočutia musí byť vykonané plne k dispozícii v reálnom čase on-line (vrátane letákov a pomocné materiály), rovnako ako umožňujú na báze internetu svedectvo, a vyhláškou systém oznámiť všetky verejné stretnutia a programy on-line v rámci danej geografickej príslušnosti.
  • Digitálny datacasting < http://www.publicus.net/pi/ > - S rozvíjajúce sa digitálnej televízie po celom svete, možnosť zabezpečiť univerzálny prístup k najpodstatnejšie informácie verejnej služby je na nás. Po vzore teletextu v Európe a prístupe verejnosti kábla modelu televízie v Spojených štátoch, datacasting textu, obrázkov, audio a video ako súčasť DTV vysielania streamu bude robiť to najlepšie z verejných obsah dostupný na internete, bez toho, aby tí, obojsmerné pripojenie k internetu. Umožní aj televízia a set-top-box má byť použitý pre rýchly prístup k dôležitým vlády a komunity informácie, ako sú chýbajúce deti výstrahy, upozornenia trestnej činnosti, upozornenie počasie, školský obed menu, komunitné kalendára, a v miestach, ako Minnesota - snow núdzové varovanie, aby vaše auto nedostane ťahané, keď pluh v uliciach. Ak chcete vytvoriť také normy založené úsilie bude vyžadovať značný vývoj a politické zdroje zlúčiť to najlepšie z vývoja internetu s kontroverzné oblasti noriem a predpisov vysielania.
  • To sú len niektoré z myšlienok, ktoré mám s významnými technickými požiadavkami. Som si istý, že máte mnoho ďalších. Od podpísania Deklarácie nezávislosti trvalo jedenásť rokov, kým americká ústava bola podpísaná v budove predo mnou. Tí, ktorí sa starajú o "e-demokracia" je potrebné prejsť od našich vyhlásenie o záujmoch a ideály a teraz tvar založený na štandardoch ústavu internete je. Chceme, aby bol internet technicky podporuje povahu demokracie, ktoré chceme, aby sa individuálne a skupinové slobody, práva a povinnosti potrebné vybudovať lepší svet, sú základom, a nie výnimkou digitálnej éry.

    Aj často sa odkazujú na seba ako "radikálny incrementalist." Som presvedčený, že musíme mať malé kroky na základe nášho ideálu čo je to Internet by mal byť, alebo by mohol byť teraz namiesto čakania až sa to stane naraz na základe nejakého veľkého plán. Ako "E-občania" môžeme prijať opatrenia v našich komunitách, rovnako ako na celom svete na internete technických kruhoch. Poďme prispievať zdieľaním naše úspechy a neúspechy s našimi rovesníkmi pozdĺž cesty a stavať, aby bol internet "alebo" demokracie, a nie usadiť prežívajúce zvyšky súčasnej demokracie, ktorí potrebujú jednoducho existovať "na" anti-demokratickej internete.

    Steven Clift je editorom Demokracia online Newswire < http://e-democracy.org/do >, Internet e-mail oznámenia zoznamu s viac ako 1.600 účastníkov, ktoré majú záujem na o "zbližovanie demokraciou a na internete po celom svete." hovoril v 19 krajinách na tieto témy a má pracovný návrh jeho "E-demokracia E-Book" je k dispozícii on-line od < http://publicus.net >.

    Zdieľať

    E-demokracia E-Book: Demokracia je prihlásený 2,0 - Steven Clift - 2000

    E-demokracia E-Book:
    Demokracia je prihlásený 2.0

    Steven Clift

    Copyright 2000 Steven Clift - Všetky práva vyhradené. Tento článok môže byť voľne spojené, už citovaný, alebo s jednoduchým e-mailom na autora a záväzok zdieľať kópie všetkých konečných odvodených diel. Plné znenie tohto článku môže byť šírený len on-line alebo v tlačenej podobe s výslovným súhlasom autora.

    Obsah

    1 - Úvod

    Online hlasovanie - Just súčasťou demokracie prihlásený
    Demokracia Online je participatívnej

    2 - Vládne online - E-Government

    Zástupcovia a rozhodovanie prihlásený
    Predné Online vládna podpora pre demokraciu príklady
    Politika a výskumná agenda

    3 - Media Online a Com svet

    Volebné Novinky a informácie a on-line
    Politika a výskumná agenda

    4 - Kandidáti a politické strany prihlásený

    Po voľbách - Still campaigning?
    Výskum a lekcie

    5 - advokácie Online

    6 - Súkromný sektor a internetová infraštruktúra

    Zadarmo E-mail zoznamy
    Open Source pre demokraciu
    Otvorené štandardy - a zdieľanie informácií Geographic relevantnosť

    7 - Stavebné Civic Life Online

    Minnesota E-demokracia - Sťahovanie Model Forward
    Minnesota fóra

    8 - Záver - Teraz Big Picture, aby to na väčší obrázok

    Demokracia online - prírastkové príspevok
    Poďme vytvoriť verejný internet
    Verejný internet Consortium

    Verzia 3.1 - pôvodne pripravený pre stredisko spoločenstvo sekretariátu pre elektronickú správu konferencie knihy. Jedná sa o rovnakú verziu umiestnené on-line v júni 2000.


    E-demokracia E-Book:
    Demokracia je prihlásený 2.0
    1 - Úvod

    Internet ušetrí demokraciu. Alebo tak Internet technohype viedol mnoho veriť. S každou novou komunikačné médium je naivné predstavu o jeho potenciáli. Rád by som o tom, že rovnako ako televízne zachránil demokraciu, rovnako tak aj na internete. Teraz, keď som nastavenie nízkeho očakávania, všetko, čo robíme postupne zlepšenie demokracie cez internet je niečo, čo môžeme uvažovať o úspech.

    Počas posledných dvoch rokov od verzie 1.0 tohto článku bola publikovaná v časopise OnTheInternet Internet Society a on-line, tam boli tisíce zaujímavých a dôležitých demokracia on-line úspechy. Tempo zmien sa zrýchľuje, ale transformáciu demokracie pomocou internetu práve poškriabaný povrch. Nemám záujem o jednoducho prispôsobiť demokracie "tak ako je" na internet. Počas niekoľkých nasledujúcich desaťročiach môžeme zmeniť demokraciu na lepšie a rozvíjať "drôtové" spôsoby, ktoré umožňujú ľuďom zlepšiť ich životy a svet okolo nich. V našich miestnych komunít a regiónov, naše národy, a na celom svete sme na začiatku éry môžeme definovať.

    V roku 1998 som dospel k záveru, Demokracia je prihlásený 1,0 s, "možno najviac demokratizácie aspekt internetu je možnosť pre ľudí, organizovať a komunikovať v skupinách. Je to v rámci elektronického slobodu zhromažďovania a združovania, že občania získa nové príležitosti pre účasť a hlas v politike, správe a spoločnosti. V budúcom desaťročí, ktoré sa aktívne podieľajú na vývoji internetu a budovania demokracie majú možnosť zasiať semená pre "demokraciu online" v budúcom storočí. Rovnako ako založenie akéhokoľvek moderného národa, výber z dnes, ideály potvrdil, prijala pravidlá a očakávania vytvorené určí príležitosti k demokratickému zapojenie pre budúce generácie. "

    Pokrok cez demokraciu on-line "odvetvie" je značný. Používanie internetu na ďalší interaktívny, ktoré sa zaoberajú občania a znovu oživené demokratických procesov zostáva dôležitým a nenaplnená výzvou. Tento článok bude skúmať stav techniky v rámci existujúcich inštitucionálnych rámcov alebo "odvetvie" demokracie online. Dochádza k záveru, s víziou budovania občianskeho života on-line a on-line verejné služby prostredníctvom praktických krokov rozvíjať to, čomu hovorím "Verejný internet".

    Online hlasovanie - Just súčasťou demokracie prihlásený

    Dovoľte mi, aby som si to z cesty, najmä ak sa zdá, že toľko mýtus a mylná predstava, vyvíjajúci sa okolo tejto témy. Na svojich cestách rozprávanie, zistil som, že novinári najmä by som sa opýtať hlasovania online. Dostávam tlačovej otázky týkajúce sa používania internetu hlasovať v arizonskej demokratických primárnych voľbách. To sa stane. Bude to trvať oveľa dlhšie, než si môže myslieť, že umožní at-home volič na dokončenie hlasovania z domu tak, že svätosť volebného procesu je v bezpečí. Rozdiel je, že teraz moji priatelia a príbuzní sa opýtať podobné otázky.

    Postupom času sa mnohé krajiny umožnia ľuďom, aby hlasovali prostredníctvom svojho preferovaného technológie. V scenári som očakával, bude občan dostane hlasovací lístok do e-mailu, ak sú registrované ako "at-home voliča." Oni sa vráti ich hlasovania prostredníctvom e-mailu, alebo použiť tónovou voľbou opustiť svoje hlasové podpis, alebo využiť jedinečné informácie o ich voľbe hlasovať cez internet - takže ich digitálny podpis alebo PIN číslo. "Volebné miestnosti voliči" môžete ešte hlasovať v-osobne v prieskumoch verejnej mienky. V "at-home", voliči, ktorí nehlasovali pred záverečným dňom môže priniesť svoje hlasovacie lístky zaistiť pripojením na internet a umiestnenie volebných.

    Ani hlasovanie ani dotazovanie technológia je dôvodom buď jeden oficiálny užívanie akejkoľvek vlády. Ich technické existencia sama o sebe nie je a nemalo by viesť k častejšiemu využívaniu referend alebo viac priamej demokracie. Možnosť podať hlasovanie do ďalších aspektov života občanov versus role zastupiteľskej demokracie by sa mala stať viac high problém profilu. Rozhodnutie o uplatnenie technológií v oficiálnych voľbách bude v prvom rade politická voľba. To bude mať viac čo do činenia s tým, ako ľudia pri moci domnievajú, že bude mať vplyv na hlasovacie výsledky, než či chce verejnosť možnosť. Nemám proti hlasovanie on-line, ja si nemyslím, že je to naozaj všetko, transformativní. Voľby sú "biely chlieb", ktoré držia naše legitímne demokraciu sendvič spolu, ale to je to, čo je v strede, ktorá je najviac zaujímavé a dôležité pre zdravie našich demokracií a komunít.

    V Spojených štátoch, ja predpovedám, že prvé štáty, aby Internet-based at-home on-line hlasovanie v záväznej všeobecné voľby budú nútení urobiť prostredníctvom občanov viedol volebnú iniciatív. Vzhľadom k tomu, náklady na prechod k at-home online hlasovanie sa odhadujú stav vládnych volebných kancelárií politický impulz pre tieto systémy budú výrazne tlmiť. California on-line hlasovanie štúdie, ministerstvo obrany prieskum zahraničná vojenská on-line hlasovanie, a do doby, než National Science Foundation on-line hlasovanie štúdie na žiadosť Bieleho domu spolu so štúdiom v iných krajinách, ktoré budujú vedomosti potrebné pre prípadné hlasovanie online. Opäť platí, že sa to stalo. Musím poznamenať, že môžem prezrieť akýkoľvek pokus umožniť hlasovanie cez internet, v záväznej všeobecné voľby, bez toho aby zodpovedajúce úsilie o zvýšenie hlasovanie poštou a in-osoba ako zásadne nedemokratické a vylučujúce. Žiadam veľkú kompromisu, ktorý podporuje at-home hlasovanie prostredníctvom integrovaného voľbe spôsobu hlasovania - online, poštou, alebo osobné. Kľúčom k úspechu je, že nebude obmedzovať náš pohľad na demokraciu on-line (označovaný aj ako digitálny demokracia, e-demokracia, politiky on-line, e-governance atď), len hlasovanie a voľby. Hlasovanie na internete je malá časť celého demokracia on-line správanie. Nesmieme dovoliť, aby on-line hlasovania stal meč, ktorý široká demokracia on-line pohyb padá na. Zvýšené očakávania vytvorené zjednodušujúce mediálne pokrytie zakryje úspechy kumulatívne demokracia on-line vývoj.

    Demokracia Online je participatívnej

    My všetci máme rôzne definície a skúsenosti demokracie. Tento článok sa zameriava na internete a participatívnej demokracie v rámci zastupiteľskej demokracie. Odkrýva vzrušujúce vývoj. Realita je taká, že naša mnoho-a úplne odlišné-demokracia sa mení v dôsledku použitia informačných technológií a sietí. V dlhodobom horizonte nevieme, či zmeny budú k lepšiemu alebo k horšiemu. Ready. Fire. Cieľ.

    Základná otázka, ktorú si musíme pýtať sami seba, je "ako demokracia a Internet zbiehajú, ako musíme byť teraz zapojené, aby bolo možné zlepšiť ako?" Výzvou pre nás, občanov, má byť zapojený do tohto procesu zmien. Budeme sa zaoberá prostredníctvom našich existujúcich inštitúcií, či už ide o neziskové organizácie, vysoké školy, médiá, firmy, alebo vlády. Musíme byť zapojené ako jednotlivci, a to prostredníctvom vytvorenia nových, sprostredkovanie Občianske organizácie, ktoré sú "v" na internete, a to nielen "na" to. Sme svedkami konvergencie demokratických inštitúcií a procesov s Internetom. Demokracia je online.

    Primárne demokratické sektory, ktoré zaplavujú internet s politickým informácií sú vláda, médiá a com poskytovateľov obsahu, kandidáti a politické strany a skupiny advokácie. Súkromný sektor a ďalšie v odvetví informačných technológií je rozvoj informačných a komunikačných nástrojov a noriem, ktoré zásadným spôsobom ovplyvňujú v tejto aréne. Každá demokracia on-line sektor je prispievame k demokracii online. O tom, kto je na tom, čo na základe, musíme si položiť otázku: "Čo chýba?"



    2 - Vládne online - E-Government

    Vláda on-line, ako je často nazývaný, je proces demokratickým informácie nie sú k dispozícii ako nikdy predtým. Parlamenty, zákonodarcovia, mestskej rady, a dokonca aj rady susedstve robia zákony a navrhované zákony, programu rokovania a zápisy a iné správy k dispozícii on-line. Zvolenie-úradníci, či už predsedu vlády alebo miestneho zastupiteľstva zdieľajú ďalšie a ďalšie informácie, ktoré im prináša bližšie k občanom. Vláda je dôležitým užívateľ internetu. Nejsem skúmanie buď politiku technológie alebo role vlády ako Internet regulátora alebo policajtka. Príliš často sa "ruky preč" ethos vládneho nariadenia s internetom bráni vývoju podpory verejných výdavkov na nevyhnutnú a základné použitie vládne internetu pre lepšie poskytovanie služieb a prístupu k informáciám a rozhodovacích procesov.

    V roku 1998 vydanie G8 demokracie a vlády Online Services vydanie < http://www.statskontoret.se/gol demokracie >, ktoré som slúžil ako spolueditor, bol skorá fáza analýzy radom vlád. Teraz sa začínajú počuť o "e-governance" a nie len "e-governmentu." Z 1994-1997 som koordinované úsilie vlády on-line najvyššej úrovne pre štát Minnesota zároveň personálne Informačný Radu vlády Access. Tam je rozkol medzi administratívne strane vlády, ktorá riadi IT zdroje najviac vo verejnom sektore a vládne orgány s rozhodovacou právomocou, ktoré predstavujú ľudia. Lepšie a efektívnejšie poskytovanie služieb nemôže byť odpojený od obojsmerného demokratický potenciál internetu. Nechceme vlády jednoducho automatizovať služby bez hodnotenia toho, čo by mohli robiť dobre alebo zle. Vláda musí prijať zásadnú reformu a interaktívny prístup k rozvoju legitimitu potrebnú vládnuť v informačnom veku. Je potrebné, aby agresívne súťažiť s očakávaniami občanov ako spotrebiteľov konkurenčných komerčných webových stránok.

    Demokracia je neefektivita požadované, aby najlepšie verejnej voľby. Kým výzva na otvorenosti a účasti neefektívnosti môže byť považované za proti-kultúra správneho strane vlády, "Demokracia Tlačidlo" by mal existovať na všetkých vládnych miestach. Drvivá väčšina vládnych on-line užívateľov sa chcú rýchly efektívne služby vláda on-line z dobre organizovanej verejnej portálu - či už je to prístup k rýchlej transakcie alebo často požadované informácie. Avšak, legitimita každého vládne agentúry musia byť jasne vysvetlené a zdokumentované. Občania sa musia dozvedieť, ako ich vláda funguje, byť presné a užitočné informácie o tom, ako môžu zabezpečiť efektívne on-line vstup a vplyv každá agentúra IT služieb, riadenia, a nakoniec svoje zdroje financovania. Občania sa musia zažiť citlivé vládu. On-line médium umožňuje. Používatelia tohto nového média vyžadujú.

    Zástupcovia a rozhodovanie prihlásený

    Služby stranou, číslo jedna oblasť pre pokročilých vývoj vládne on-line podpory demokracie je to, že reprezentatívnych a rozhodovacích orgánov. Je nutné značné investície v informačnej infraštruktúre, parlamentov, legislatíva, miestnej rady, komisie, pracovných skupín, atď na všetkých úrovniach štátnej správy. Najlepší spôsob, ako zabezpečiť, aby on-line zapojenia občanov do rozhodovania, je prispôsobiť on-line nástroje na oficiálnych demokratických procesov. Potrebujeme systematický plný prístup k právne verejným informáciám. Musíme podporovať doplnkové on-line účasť na základe ako moc je štruktúrovaný a rozhodnutia sa robia. Súčasná cesta hlučné jednosmernej advokácii vláde výzvou on-line protestu je jednoducho zvýšiť DIN demokracie, bez toho by ku kvalite demokratických rokovaní.

    Upchatý e-mailu-boxov volených úradníkov bez nástrojov triediť, filtrovať a reagovať na prichádzajúce e-maily vedie k situácii, keď e-mail je najmenej efektívny spôsob, ako priemerný občan ovplyvniť ich vládu. Na druhú stranu, e-mail je veľmi efektívny nástroj pre zasvätených, ktorí vie, personál e-mailové adresy alebo iné adresy používané zvolený úradník. Tento rozdiel je potrebné riešiť hlavu. Rozvoj demokracie on-line softvérovými nástrojmi pre tisícky vlády by mohla byť zahájená s rozvojom e-mailový systém reakcie open source softvér (to jest softvér, ktorý môže byť vyvinutý spoločne a zdieľaný po celom svete). Ak sa priblíži strategicky, môže on-line verejná vstup do vlády zlepšiť rozhodovací proces a v skutočnosti znížiť celkovú administratívnu záťaž ustanovujúcej kontaktu ako celku. Kanadská vláda prieskume uviedlo Michel Cailloux z Kanady informačná kancelária zistila, že zatiaľ čo 87 percent občanov očakáva, že odpoveď na list za dva týždne, 90 percent očakáva e-mailovú odpoveď do štyroch hodín. Súčasný jeden-veľkosť-sedí-všetci systém auto-odpoveď (alebo v mnohých prípadoch bez odozvy) nie je dostačujúca.

    Či už sa jedná o verejné alebo rozhodovacích subjektov samotných, organizovanie verejných informácií, najmä navrhované zákony, pravidlá a predpisy - do kombinovanej pull-a-Push systém môžu predstavovať konečný on-line príspevok na účasť na správe vecí verejných. Vládne rozhodovacie orgány mali osobné "Má demokracia" profily, ktoré umožňujú občanom, na rovnakom základe s ostatnými vyhľadávania v pokročilej spôsobmi (otvoriť) a dostávať automatické upozornenia (Push) stretnutie poznámky a návrhy záujmu. Občania by mohlo naznačovať záujem o určitej tematickej oblasti alebo konkrétny zákon a aktívne upozornení, ak sa navrhujú zmeny. Tam by mal byť založený na otvorených štandardoch databázy public domain s kontaktnými informáciami pre všetky orgány a ich volených a menovaných úradníkov, ako aj zákonnej povinnosti oznámiť všetky verejné stretnutie on-line v rámci danej jurisdikcie. Každé stretnutie by mal mať živé a archívnych audio alebo video streamy sú k dispozícii spolu s minút a agend. Všade tam, kde je zákonná požiadavka na audio alebo video záznamu verejnom zasadnutí, že by malo byť vykonané digitálne, a umiestniť online prístup verejnosti. Rozvoj prehľadávateľné digitálne archívy kľúčových rozhodovacích podkladov pre historické účely by mali byť tiež začlenené do týchto systémov. To tiež prenáša na e-mailové systémy - koľko záložné pásky dôležitých e-mailu z kancelárie predsedov vlád alebo štátnych guvernérov sú nezákonne zničená predovšetkým z dôvodu nedostatku vôle pri používaní papierových koncipovanej zákony?

    Rozhodovacie orgány by mali hostiť dobre organizovanej on-line interaktívnych vypočutie a udalosti na doplnenie ich in-osoba verejné vypočutia. Občania by mali mať možnosť vypovedať naživo cez internet na osobných schôdzok. Ako bude uvedené neskôr, vývoj smerom k interakcia je zásadné pre plnú realizáciu potenciálu súčasných a budúcich internetových nástrojov na podporu väčšej účasti verejnosti vo vláde. Vlády majú osobitnú povinnosť zabezpečiť široký prístup k formálnym participatívnych procesov. Tak on-line interaktívnych akcie smerujúce k širokej verejnosti by mala dopĺňať zodpovedajúce možnosti, ktoré sú k dispozícii pre všetkých, bez ohľadu na ich znalosti a prístup k internetu. Ak tri verejné vypočutia sa konajú po celom regióne, na určitú tému, držte štvrtý online.

    Predné Online vládna podpora pre demokraciu príklady

    Ako sme sa ísť do tohto nového desaťročia, budú nasledujúce príklady stali pravidlom a nie výnimkou. S tisíckami vlády a verejné orgány na celom svete, možnosť zdieľať príbehy a motivovať spolupráca musí byť chopil. Niektoré z najlepších príkladov k dnešnému dňu sú:

    • Online vstupu do formálneho rozhodovania - s centrálnou Bucks School District redistricting plánu v Pensylvánii bolo prijatých viac ako 500 pripomienky prostredníctvom e-mailu - drvivá väčšina všetkých prijatých pripomienok. Ako uvádza Philadelphia Inquirer, predseda školskej rady povedal, že "väčšina položených otázok boli riešené. On-line spätnú väzbu robil to pre nás ľahké posúdiť, kde je najväčšia potreba zmien bolo. "Boli vyjadrené obavy z nedostatočného prístupu verejnosti k prijatých pripomienok a ako rýchlo šiel verejné vypočutie in-osoba na základe zmien vykonaných v dôsledku on-line vstup. Ďalšie rozšírené oficiálny vstup príkladom je nový škótsky parlament, spolupracuje s Medzinárodným Teledemocracy centre < http://www.teledemocracy.org >. Parlament súhlasí s prijatím oficiálnej verejnej petície cez internet. Petície sú formálnu žiadosť od jedného alebo viacerých ľudí do Parlamentu. Až potiaľ bol používaný World Wildlife Fund zbierať 337 podpisov na podporu morských parkov ako súčasť národného parku systému pre Škótsko. Na rozdiel od petície stránok tretích strán, jedná sa o formálny návrh na parlamente.
    • On-line Vládne Konzultácie - v Holandsku prebieha diskusia s ministrom Roger van Boxtel < http://www.rogervanboxtel.nl/ > bolo uľahčené Instituut voor Publieke en politieke, (holandský Centrum pre občianske vzdelávanie). Rozsiahle práce bola vykonaná na základe holandských skúseností s predchádzajúcimi konzultáciami, aby vytvorili jasný mechanizmus reakcie a časový rámec zabezpečiť rýchlu odpoveď na občianskych pripomienky a otázky. Kľúčom bola zaručená uľahčujúce prístup k ministrovi k rozvoju reakcie na sporné otázky. Veľa on-line konzultácie vládnych umiestniť zamestnancov štátnej služby v ťažkej pozícii rozprávanie pre agentúru. To je zvyčajne ponechané na politickej pracovníkov vo vysoko verejných situáciách, ale odborné znalosti potrebné pre on-line konzultácie často zahŕňa zamestnancov štátnej správy. Pri minimálnom zamestnancov treba predchádzajúce povolenie uviesť existujúce politiky agentúry a poskytovať vecné informácie. Nie je nič horšie, ako on-line konzultáciu, kde občania zaujímalo, či niekto počúva, pretože žiadna vláda odpoveď rýchlo nastávajúcej. Táto lekcia bola naučili s pôvodnými diskusných fór na internetových stránkach britského premiéra Tonyho Blaira < http://www.number-10.gov.uk >. To viedlo k podstatne lepšiemu využitiu s uvedením ich politického fóra o elektronickom Dodávka vládnych služieb. Najprv požiadal ľudí, aby si prečítať diskusný dokument a podieľať sa na on-line diskusiu. Oficiálne príspevkov a odpovede od číslo 10 sú jasne označené.
    • Online Parlamentné petície a konzultácie - Hansard Society pre parlamentné vládu < http://www.hansard.org.uk > Vzdelávacie krídlo parlamentu Spojeného kráľovstva, hostil rad pozvaných odborníkov interaktívne fóra < http: // www. democracyforum.org.uk > v spolupráci s výbormi v oboch Snemovne lordov a Dolnej snemovne. Hlavnou myšlienkou je, že pozvala skupina prerokúva tému, z ktorého správa na vysokej úrovni je generovaný na žiadosť parlamentného výboru. Témy, na ktoré doteraz patria ženy vo vede, elektronickej demokracie a domáceho násilia. V štáte Minnesota role internetu v voľbách Jesse Ventura čoby guvernér vyzvaní štáte senát demokrati hostiť prvý otvorený občan diskusné fórum na oficiálnom štátu alebo vnútroštátneho právneho webové stránky. Ďalším krokom je integrovať interaktívnych možností internetu do úradného procesu prejednávania výboru.
    • Oficiálny vládny prieskum - Na konci roka 1999 stať Victoria v Austrálii < http://www.mmv.vic.gov.au > oznámila, že prvá vládna iniciatíva sponzorovaná "Demokracia online" s cieľom ", ako najlepšie využiť nové technológie otvárajú procesy parlament a vládu, aby ľuďom Victoria "Všetky vlády musia začať formálne požiadať sami na otázku o ich oficiálnom používaní internetu -. vrátane požiadaviek na financovanie a prípadné zmeny zákona, ktorý posilní oficiálne reprezentatívne demokracie v informačného veku. Je dôležité zdôrazniť, že poskytovanie volebné prístup k rozhodovacím informácií a procesov vyžaduje zdroje. Zastupiteľské orgány na všetkých úrovniach Zdá sa, že pevne toľko z ich existujúce IT a komunikačných rozpočtov poskytovať rudimentárne on-line služby pre verejnosť. Snáď jediná vládna iniciatíva prostriedky, ktoré výslovne zahŕňa "on-line podporu demokracie" Dnes je piateho rámcového Európskej komisie < http://www.cordis.lu/fp5/ > financovania iniciatívy. Their first round of grants should soon be announced.
    • Wired Elected Officials – As “Weos” take the reins of power the demands on the Internet in official representative democracy will be enormous. There are now a few dozen Weos in the world. In order to promote better representatives in the information age, Weos should be networked and encouraged to provide tips to new and existing elected officials. For example, while she visited Minnesota, I connected Australian Senator Kate Lundy, the only national Senator who does her own web page, with Minnesota State Representative Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, who reports that over half of her total constituent communication is now through e-mail.

    Policy and Research Agenda

    Many serious policy questions arise: Should the government help those indicating interest in the same topics or proposals become aware of each other? To what extent should a democratic information system serve the interest of those who govern versus those who want to influence how they are governed? With personalization comes the potential abuse of data on the information seeking interests and behaviors of people – should this data be protected or covered by privacy policies and laws? And how will the Internet public-access infrastructure in libraries, schools, and other locations be part of a democracy network for broader use that includes some training and assistance? If government cannot afford to build this on their own what models can be developed to promote the sharing of tools and costs among governments as well as connections to the commercial Internet?

    A comprehensive research agenda for all democracy online sectors needs to be established. Most academic coverage remains theoretical speculation or focused primarily on elections. Comparative qualitative and quantitative research comparing governments and the results of their actions is essential to guide better and more extensive government online support for democracy. Research ideas related to government online include development of a:

    1. Comprehensive check list of possible and recommended online features for use by decision-making bodies and elected officials in official government online activities. Comparing data on implemented features and lessons learned would allow governments to measure their progress and help others rate government action and plans. A technical review of best practices for each feature would be particularly valuable, promoting technical sharing to help save on implementation costs.
    2. Comparative survey of specific government actions and the attitudes toward democracy online across government including IT departments, government agency executives, elected officials and their staff, and others.
    3. Survey of wired citizens and their expectations and attitudes related to democratic engagement as well as their view of government and participation in a “wired” world. Compare responses to the answers of those with less online access or interests. Try to determine how online experiences with commercial and government sites are influencing their expectations and attitudes toward government.

    Having maintained connections with the G8 Government Online effort < http://www.open.gov.uk/govoline > promoting well supported and facilitated peer to peer information sharing across all levels of government internationally on government support for democracy online with the context of other topical service related discussions would be a significant first step. Governments tend not to travel alone, they need the political support of comparative action.


    3 – Media Online and the .Com World

    Media efforts, especially those of online newspapers, major portals sites, and television networks, have made the largest investment in making content available on the Internet – and it shows. Media and .com content political sites clearly are the most influential and have the most agenda setting power – including those connected to large mass media outlets within more local areas. They receive most of the public Internet traffic from those seeking news and information on the issues and happenings in their democracies.

    The major scarcity online from a user perspective is time. From an online business perspective it is attention. With attention come the ability to promote your content, attract banner advertisements, and create opportunities for commerce. In most places the major virtual navigation pathways are consolidating. It is from these media and portal pathways that the public discover essential editorial services that allow them to quickly digest political news and commentary. While there are a diversity of media voices online, the consolidation toward established media brands is much stronger in 2000 than before 1998. However, the pie of Internet users is also much larger leading to an increase in use across many diverse sites. It is just not the Internet revolution some had hoped to see. Sustaining alternative content and user interest is a resource intensive and an extremely competitive activity.

    The approaches and contributions of media and major commercial sites to democracy online are incredibly important. How they leverage their audience for their own political content and interactive efforts as well as public service partnership efforts puts them in a strong position. For example, the decision to link directly to the full government report within a story encourages deeper understanding, but also sends them away from the media outlet's own site. Another contribution is hosting interaction through Web board discussions on stories and local topics in general. Depending on the resources put into hosting such discussions, some are quite successful and others have had great difficulty with sustained participation or with problem-causing participants. In most places, interaction sponsored by a local media site is the only critical mass game in town.

    Some of the more successful media-sponsored democracy online activities are live online events such as moderated chats with candidates or elected officials. Like many of these events, AOL's live online event with presidential candidate George W. Bush for example, the success is often viewed by the candidate based on the free media attention they receive. The Washington Post sponsors lunch hour question and answer guest appearances using a dynamically updating web page. This illustrates the potential for less profile live online events of interest to smaller audiences.

    Election News and Information and Online

    My respect and understanding of the power of online news grew with my direct involvement in the Markle Foundation's Web White & Blue < http://www.webwhiteblue.org > election information online public service effort in the fall of 1998. WWB provided the public with quick access to useful election information directories across the Internet. As the Project Coordinator, I coordinated the online development and “participating site” outreach. We create the largest online public service effort to date with hundreds of commercial, non-profit, government, and individual sites participating through placement of the WWB icon and link on their sites. (I continue with a consulting role in election 2000 efforts.) WWB essentially aligned the Internet from October 8, 1998 through the election to celebrate and promote online election information across the United States. While “news” is very much a competitive commercial arena, it was clear that people felt they were involved in something bigger than themselves. They are involved in something historically important.

    With the Clinton impeachment and the 2000 election cycle, the climate among commercial news and election sites is much more competitive. However, there remain important collaborative opportunities. It is absolutely essential that these election-oriented partnership efforts be leveraged for ongoing citizen engagement efforts. The new wild card in the 2000 elections in the United States is the introduction of a dozen or so .com political sites and the transfer of the once non-commercial Democracy Network (DNet) to Grassroots.com. The more resources spent to develop and encourage citizen involvement in election and politics generally the better. I often refer to Internet venture capitalists as Internet philanthropists. They are subsidizing all sorts of useful and important activity as they seek to discover profitable new economy business models. While I must admit I am somewhat mystified by the expectation of profitability in the general online civic engagement area, there may be niche markets for services and transactions within the traditional bounds of political services and government transactions. The key it to attack areas of current value and not the creation of new markets based on the need to establish unknown customer or citizen behaviors. A note of caution, if a political information or interactive service is found to be particularly popular or profitable its features will most likely be incorporated or acquired by the incumbent media and portal online players.

    From a policy question perspective, what happens after the Presidential election in the US and with future local and state elections will help us figure out what is commercially viable, what needs to be non-profit to work best, and what services need non-commercial funding models in order to exist. The key civic challenge is to fill the public interest gaps in commercial and government online political and election-related activity. It may be that as election information and basic political information is commoditized, foundation (US) and government (most countries) funded partnership efforts can evolve toward promoting online citizen engagement using the Internet in governance and community involvement. The key is to look beyond the hype and not to cede legitimate non-commercial activity based on the crap shoot of potential profitability.

    Policy and Research Agenda

    Because online news and .com world is the central player in how most people experience democracy online it is essential that an inter-disciplinary research agenda be established to uncover the lessons and directions of this activity. A substantial amount of “public good” activity once in the government and non-profit realm will find a commercially viable home and much of it won't if the venture capital flow runs dry. Some research areas include:

    1. Compare the civic/political news, information, and interactive offerings of .com, .org, and .gov sites. What do users think? How could they be improved? How might public interest election information be aggregated for broad dissemination?
    2. Survey online editors and traditional journalists on the role of the media in promoting political participation and in the development of news coverage itself. Will the Internet promote forms of “civic journalism” more easily than the traditional media – even within the same media companies?
    3. Explore the two-way nature of the Internet on media agenda setting including differences among media outlets that make journalist e-mail addresses readily available versus outlets that don't.
    4. Compare the differences in market size and commercial viability of online political news, information, and interactive offers. Compare the differences between countries and the actual offerings of commercial, government and non-profit efforts.
    5. Review the liability laws and potential legal risk in different jurisdictions and countries related to online publishing and specific barriers to media-hosted online public discussions and interactive events.
    6. Explore the role of privacy policies and user views about the potential use of information on their political information seeking behavior, views, and political involvement.


    4 – Candidates and Political Parties Online

    The use of the Internet by candidates and political parties has advanced significantly since early 1998. Before then almost all efforts were essentially online brochures. In elections around the world the Internet is becoming an essential strategic campaign communication and organizational tool. While superior use of the Internet to win elections or build political parties remains the exception, the competition among candidates and parties make this a leading area for democracy online development. I am uncertain as to how this activity will dramatically transform the election process, but candidates and parties now have a direct means of communication with their supporters and voters that allows them to bypass the media. The level and depth of candidate/party information and issue positions is a significant improvement. The Internet is like a cluttered county fair booth with a hodge podge of candidate flyers and position papers scattered across a table. However, with the 2000 US Presidential elections, it seems that the most major online happenings involving a candidate is geared to generate free media. I would like to see media coverage of the substance of online candidate exchange not trade press like rah rah about contrived technical firsts.

    In the United States most “democracy online” attention is focused on elections. I am interested in how we leverage this activity for sustained efforts that connect citizens to not just candidates, but also to those who win – elected officials.

    In 1998, the election of former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura as Minnesota Governor (my home state) is described by many as the first election that could not have been won without the Internet. Not that he won because of the Internet, just that without it he would not have made it over the top in his close three-way race. I am partly to blame for the resulting hype – I sat down with Phil Madsen after the election and encouraged him to claim his place in history by writing down what happened and the lessons that were learned < http://www.egroups.com/message/do-wire/107 >. The number one lesson from my perspective – use the Internet as a strategic communication tool with your supporters. Use it to gather volunteers, seek donations, and go around the media to get your message out at crucial moments in the campaign. The specific tool I see as most essential – a one-way e-mail announcement list with your supporters. In terms of building your e-mail list, early e-mail is worth more than late e-mail.

    If Ronald Reagan was a made for television candidate, then Jesse Ventura was a made for Net candidate. You can have the greatest web site in the world, but with the wrong type of candidate it will not play a vital role. The success of John McCain's 2000 Presidential primary online efforts has as more to do with his position as a reform-minded personality-based underdog than the fact that their online implementation was state of the art in terms of volunteer communication and online fundraising. McCain did successfully capitalize on the Internet opportunity with a first-person direct from the candidate (or his wife) approach to communication with his online supporters.

    Overall, it seems that innovative developments in online campaigns are based on necessity not access to resources. In fact, the better funded a campaign the less likely they are to take risks with their Internet strategy. This means they won't break from their “brochureware” mindset – at least in terms of how they interact with the public. This is a hypothesis that needs testing. I have heard that at least one of the major Presidential communicate privately online with a special web site and e-mail updates for large donors.

    Except for the perhaps the last days before an election, the web is not like a television ad geared at undecided voters. You do need to help active undecided voters decide by providing extensive issue position information. The Campaign Study Group led by Marty Edlund surveyed users across a number of Republican web sites in 1998.

    They found that you can bring different categories of people one step. You can turn an active supporter into a donor or volunteer and move a general supporter to an active supporter armed with information they can share in support of your candidacy. You can also work to convert a possible supporter into a likely vote for the candidate. It remains an open question whether the Internet can be used to prompt a non-voter or potential first time voter to simply vote. Can the Internet actually be used to increase voter turnout? That seems a fundamentally important question.

    To move the Minnesota E-Democracy model forward we must establish mechanisms to extend the facilitated online community commons' across the state – the Minnesota Communities Forum. As the population in any given jurisdiction shrinks, discussions become less ideological and the forum is of more interest to a broader cross section of the population. We must fill out our emerging local partnership models and determine the required resources (volunteer and otherwise) to extend the model from a few cities to hundreds across the state. We also need to create statewide online public issue forums for communities based on cultural, ethnic, and language groups .

    We need meaningful “virtual corner coffee shops” or logically placed online meeting points that actually get people out of their homes to community meetings and into the real physical world of community affairs and politics. Think of the Internet as the ultimate ice breaker. In Minneapolis a few of the over 80 neighborhoods are now creating their own forums. How do we extend this activity deeply, comprehensively, and cost-effectively within larger communities just as we would city-wide in a town of 5,000 people or perhaps a rural Minnesota county with 5 people per square mile. This would allow both the sharing of meeting announcements and provide a forum for online discussion that complements local in-person meetings. As others lead efforts to ensure high bandwidth directly connected universal Internet access (fighting for dial-up access isn't enough) and broader socio-economic use, we must ensure that the Internet matters in real local communities before it is too late to define the medium.

    Minnesota Capitol Forum

    At the state level we must build from our base. MN-POLITICS is our loud, noisy “online capitol rotunda” where in the physical world people hold their rallies and discuss politics. We need to build the “virtual committee rooms” for serious information exchange, deliberation, and citizen involvement. Establishing 30 or 40 ongoing topical spaces useful for real public policy development would be the heart of the Minnesota Capitol Forum. The online spaces would be geared toward those with a specific legislative issue interest. For example, Environment and Natural Resources or Transportation and Transit and be both a practical tool for sharing announcements and a way to involve the interested public in a deliberative manner. Along with announcement sharing and opt-in discussions, each space should have a shared link directory to key resources, a calendar for related in-person and online events sponsored by the many participating organizations, and a member directory.

    These interactive spaces need to become a shared community resource that are managed and facilitated in an unbiased manner such that they can become important communications crossroads that improve public policy development and broaden participation. Working closely with the legislature and others, committee agendas, testimony, agency reports, advocacy alerts, and announcements could be actively shared. Web links or integration of the online spaces into partner sites, especially government and media web sites will be required. Interactive spaces without extensive linking from related legislative committee pages and key policy agency sites the Capitol Forum will not attract enough awareness to warrant building it in isolation.

    While Minnesota E-Democracy could be a legal host for the forums, real partnerships would have to be developed to have this be truly “public.” An open planning process, substantial resources and formal partnerships with both bodies in the state legislature, the executive branch via the Governor's Office, and major Minnesota media web sites will be required. Forum content should be syndicatible to allow integration of content into commercial and other sites, therefore addressing their commercial realities. All the Minnesota Forums would have to become the unofficial designated place for citizen-to-citizen and citizen with government exchange. For example, an e-mail reply from the Governor or Legislator to a citizen would proudly mention in their thank you note – “I also encourage you to participate and make your voice heard in the Minnesota Capitol Forum.” As I have noted pragmatically to government and legislative online leaders, “Wouldn't you rather have citizen spend time interacting with each other rather than just sending you e-mail all the time.” Creating an active public sphere online can stem the tide of the current one-way flow of protest oriented e-mail to elected officials which I feel is a serious threat to deliberative, representative democracy. Let's encourage the political forces in society to mix it up publicly online within a context that actually matters in real politics. Let's generate public opinion as citizens and not wait for the headlines the next day to tell us what we collectively think.

    Minnesota Commons and Minnesota Open Forum

    The state and local civic forums could be complemented by a set of “public practice” spaces where those involved with solving public problems or various kinds of public and volunteer work could trade ideas, experiences, and advice. And finally, some form of completely self-governing “free” space, Minnesota Open Forum, is requiried. It would function without the more comprehensive rules and guidelines currently used by Minnesota E-Democracy. We have developed extensive rules to keep our forums focused (for example, it is against our rules to post anonymously or more than twice a day). To prevent the tragedy of the online commons (when a few people put too many messages into it and drive the audience away) and to accommodate increasing numbers of interactive citizens you need diverse choices and levels of openness and decorum. Invariably certain individuals based on political convictions, personality, or psychological condition will find themselves afoul of basic forum rules in more structured online spaces. The future of the online public commons depend both upon the ability of any citizen to reach their fellow citizens and public leaders in a group communication setting as well as the ability to defend the group space against threats to it existence. It only takes the concerted action of a few people to drive the participant audience away and destroy the forum. Self-governance is best, but it does not always work. Completely free spaces (newsgroups play this role quite well) would ensure that the Minnesota Forums were not to only interactive spaces in town as well as help ensure that charters and rules hold legitimacy by ensuring a “release valve” for occasional discontent.

    As Minnesota E-Democracy approaches the 2000 election we are again promoting election information across the Internet. We like to promote the good work of our partners through our E-Democracy election partnerships. We recently launched our Political Desktop with quick links to a few hundred of the best Minnesota political, government, and media resources and finished a very successful Winter US Senate candidate online debate. We have learned that people turn to the Internet when there is a scarcity of information, therefore online events early in the political process add the most value. These special events require hundreds of volunteer hours to produce. While many good intentioned Internet projects fold when their budgets run out, we don't fold because we don't have a budget. We expand slowly based on volunteer capacity, use donated web space from Onvoy (formerly Minnesota Regional Net) and cobble together free services from across the Internet for such things as e-mail lists. As an organization we are now seeking grant possibilities and individual donation options that would move us from a strictly volunteer-based non-profit toward a model that would allow us to extend and deepen our activities as described above. Deepening the practice in Minnesota as pilot to the world is the best way I can think of contributing to the closure of the online interactive civic gap in democracy online. Actions speak louder than words or abstract theories, but will only have a real impact if those actions are based on a deep sense of democratic commitment and purpose.


    8 – Conclusion – Now the Big Picture, Make that the Bigger Picture

    I presented what I know about the democracy online sectors. I talked about the importance of influencing the Internet infrastructure. I highlighted Minnesota E-Democracy and its possibility. I now want to conclude with a discussion of the “Public Internet” and what I am doing to best contribute to future of democracy online. We each need to do our part.

    I helped start Minnesota E-Democracy when I was 24. I recently turned 31. The other week my grandfather died after a happy and hard working 92 years. My cousin prompted a last visit to my grandfather at my aunt's home with an e-mail a few days before he died. Even in 1940 my grandfather took my grandmother to the midwife via horse and sleigh when my father was born. They lived on a farm in the far north of Minnesota where electricity did not come until my father was a toddler. Despite advances in technology, all they could raise successfully in that harsh climate were new rocks in the fields each spring. Within ten years they had to abandon the farm for carpentry work in the city. I recall showing my grandfather digital pictures on my laptop from one of my speaking trips abroad. I asked myself, what would this medium have meant to a man who was involved in his township board and spent retirement years back on the old farm lands writing letters to editor trying to get a crumbling bridge that connected them to county road replaces. I then think about my grandmother on my mother's side who at 75 after being on the Internet for two weeks sent me my first web-based birthday card. What can this medium mean to her, my mother's father and their eight kids and twenty-six grandchildren, and the small community many of them live in and near? What does this mean to people? Real people?

    While many rush to change the world or make a billion dollars in a day on the Internet, most end up giving up three hours later. I think a long-term, sustained approach is required to fully realize the potential of the Internet in our public lives. The next few years are absolutely vital in terms of establishing the expectation that Internet is and can be used for public purposes. To make the case that non-commercial applications are essential and as noble as commercial work, I argue for a “radical incrementalist” approach. Whether you work in a “democracy online sector” or come at this from a citizen perspective, what two or three simple but important things can you do to incrementally contribute to democracy online? Quit waiting for the pie in the sky plan to be finished or magic funding to get started. The Internet advances based on trial and error with sudden bursts that lead to major improvements based on simple, yet universally applicable radical innovations.

    Democracies Online – An Incremental Contribution

    Over the last few years, most of the “raw materials” I compiled in this article were shared in small pieces over via my Democracies Online Newswire moderated e-mail announcement list < http://www.e-democracy.org/do >. With over 1100 members around the world, this service has brought together the “democracy online community” from across the sectors I explored in this article. Democracies Online is a space where I provide outreach and information sharing services as a “public good.” My consulting work for the Markle Foundation < http://www.markle.org > has in many ways has cross-subsidized this voluntary service. All along I have envisioned a set of public and private online spaces for complementary peer-to-peer exchange. I am slowly but surely developed those forums. The public Networking Neighborhoods Online Forum is now open with 150 participants. The currently government-only forum on Public Portals is under development. And soon the Parliaments Online Forum, open to those who work directly in parliaments, will have its official launch with a letter signed by online staff from over ten countries. Each sector within the democracy online community, whether those who run the web sites of world leaders or political section editors of media and portal web sites, could use an organized forum for ongoing peer-to-peer exchange. We could also use occasional online events and conferences to foster cross sector sharing of lessons and experiences.

    Let's Create The Public Internet

    What can we do together that won't happen otherwise? What public goals can we achieve through the Internet that require us to work in different ways? It seems clear that adapting existing institutions, public, private or non-profit will not suffice. We need to create “Public Internet” partnerships and new mediating institutions that allow the advantages of online competition sweeping the world of commerce to enter the public world through the form of collaboration. Collaboration is the disintermediating force that existing forms of public problem-solving resist because it requires change. We need to envision our public goals five or ten years out, set aside our existing institutional frameworks and ask how we might best serve these long-term and Internet-era public goals in the information age. To do this we need to create a mechanism for public leadership in this area and trusted hosts for collaboration without the barnacles of past public interest turf wars. In some sense we need to prevent .com-munism from limiting .org-anizing for public .gov-ernance. Not everything will be commercial nor will all non-profit models survive. One insight – not everything in commercial markets can be supported without collaborative efforts involving non-commercial actors. Cooperation can often take competition to the next level where the pie is much larger.

    Public Internet Consortium

    I have come to the conclusion that the long term goals of Minnesota E-Democracy will require the “commons” to be integrated into a much broader public interest “Public Internet” effort. Reflecting on my government online experience, I see now that it is not just about presenting government as an isolated set of hierarchical agencies through a “public portal.” The motivations behind public broadcasting and things like traffic and weather information services need to be established for the digital era. We need to make broad “public” and community information, services, and interaction available across the Internet. We must create standardized mechanisms to promote the distributed aggregation of public content and public interaction spaces for broad dissemination. And most importantly, like the Netscape Open Directory < http://www.dmoz.org > encourage sites across the Internet to integrate “public” directory information and essential content into their web sites. Non-commercial sites can remain ad free, but the most important public services will now find a distributed home across diverse sites and in some cases the best and most essential public and community content will be broadcast universally via digital broadcasting. I see no reason, other than complacency and an unwillingness to work together for missing children reports, crime alerts, and perhaps school lunch menus to not one day be available to all via digital television datacasting < http://www.egroups.com/group/do-edtv >.

    And the truth is that no state or country can go it alone. To serve the public interest online in my home state we need to leverage the trends of the global Internet. This is a completely different way of working than the historical model of the innate “Minnesota model” development. Maybe it is the water? We can do better by importing the best ideas and lessons from around the world, improving upon them and sharing the results.

    I am now in the very early stages of developing the Public Internet Consortium concept. This umbrella effort would foster the creation of a well-funded international partnership to promote efforts to apply existing Internet standards and influence emerging open standards in the public interest. This would be a more practical, technology-oriented approach which would complement the other distinct efforts to raise public interest voices in the more political Internet governance debate. The Public Internet could be a host for pilot initiatives, public service-focused open source software applications, and outreach and educational efforts broader than my current Democracies Online effort. Promotional public interest efforts, like my Citizen Forum 21 proposal and the efforts of others might also find a home. Citizen Forum 21 < http://www.publicus.net/cf21 > would declare a month for citizen participation across the Internet and promote hundreds of interactive online special events around the world. I'd like to create the organizational capacity to introduce over a million new Internet users to potential on online civic engagement through interactive events sponsored all the democracy online sectors. This may or may not fit my incremental step model, but it would sow the seeds for a whole generation of civically engaged Internet users. This is the conclusion – time to think big.

    The Public Internet Consortium would necessarily involve all Internet sectors with distributed efforts based in different countries. It will require extensive start-up funding from foundations, ongoing support by governments and private sector members, and be specifically designed to work closely with and complement the work of broader Internet standards groups or technical developments. This is not about creating a public interest island, but about providing the leadership and support required to fill the giant gap in public interest Internet development.

    Through the year 2000 I plan to further develop proposals based on the Public Internet Consortium concept to determine if significant interest exists. We can do this now or wait twenty years. I'd rather act now. Join me.

    Top Ten E-Democracy “To Do List” for Governments Around the World – By Steven Clift – 2000

    Top Ten E-Democracy “To Do List” for Governments Around the World by Steven Clift

    Governments around the world have an exciting opportunity. We can revitalize our spirit of our many democracies and build an e-government that fundamentally connects with the people and rebuilds the legitimacy of governance. The Internet, if used with democratic intent and spirit can and will bring people closer to their governments. We can break down the “us” versus “them” mentality and embrace the miracle of government as the one institution the people jointly own in their local communities, regions, and nations.

    I started to think about these issues when I coordinated the State of Minnesota's government online efforts (1994-1997). Today, I see even more urgency and need for aggressive government-sponsored e-democracy activity in every government office, agency and program. To help us get started I have drafted the “Top Ten E-Democracy “To Do List” for Governments Around the World.” It is up to us to:

    1. Announce all public meetings online in a systematic and reliable way. Include the time, place, agenda, and information on citizen testimony, participation, or observation options. Use the Internet to build trust in in-person democracy.

    2. Put a “Democracy Button” on your site's top page which brings them to a special section detailing the agencies/government units purpose and mission, top decision-makers, links to enabling laws, budget details and other accountability information. Share real information that help a citizen better understand the legitimacy of your government agency and powers. Give citizens real information on how to best influence the policy course of the agency. This could include links to the appropriate parliamentary or local council committees and bodies. 3. Implement “Service Democracy. ” Yes, most citizens simply want better, more efficient access to service transactions and information products your agency produces. Learn from these relationships. Actively use comment forms, online surveys, citizen focus groups to garner the input required to be a responsive e-government. Don't automate services that people no longer want or need. Use the Internet to learn about what you can do better and not just as a one-way self-service tool designed to limit public interaction and input.

    4. End the “Representative Democracy Online Deficit.” With the vast majority of government information technology spending focused on the administrative side government, the representative institutions from the local level on up to the Federal government are growing increasingly weak. Invest in the technology and communications infrastructure of those institutions designed to represent the people. Investing in elected officials' voice through technology is investing in the voice of the people. Cynicism aside, options for more direct democracy can be explored, but invest in what we have today – representative democracy.

    5. Internet-enable existing representative and advisory processes. Create “Virtual Committee Rooms” and public hearings that allow in-person events to be available in totality via the Internet. Require in-person handouts and testimony to be submitted in HTML for immediate online availability to those watching or listening on the Internet or via broadcasting. Get ready to datacast such items via digital television. Encourage citizens to also testify via the Internet over video conferencing and allow online submission of written testimony. The most sustainable “e-democracy” activities will be those incorporated into existing and legitimate governance processes.

    6. Embrace the two-way nature of the Internet. Create the tools required to respond to e-mail in an effective and timely manner. E-mail is the most personal and cherished Internet tool used by the average citizen. How a government deals with incoming e-mail and enables access to automatic informational notices based on citizen preferences will differentiate popular governments from those that are viewed as out of touch. Have a clear e-mail response policy and start by auto-responding with the time and date received, the estimated time for a response, what to do if none is received, and a copy of their original message. Give people the tools to help hold you accountable.

    7. Hold government sponsored online consultations . Complement in-person consultations with time-based, asynchronus online events (one to three weeks) that allow people to become educated on public policy issues and interact with agency staff, decision-makers, and each other. Online consultations must be highly structured events designed to have a real impact on the policy process. Don't do this for show. The biggest plus with these kinds of events is that people may participate on their own time from homes, schools, libraries and workplaces and greater diversity of opinions, perspectives, and geography can increase the richness of the policy process. Make clear the government staff response permissions to allow quick responses to informational queries. Have a set process to deal with more controversial topics in a very timely (24-48 hours) fashion with direct responses from decision-makers and top agency staff. Do this right and your agency will want to do this at least quarterly every year,, do it wrong the first time and it will take quarter of a century to build the internal support for another try. Check on the work in Canada, The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom in particular and you'll discover government that are up to some exciting work.

    8. Develop e-democracy legislation. Tweak laws and seek the budgetary investments required to support governance in information age. Not everything can be left voluntary – some government entities need a push. What is so important that government must be required to comply? There is a limit to what can be squeezed out of existing budgets. Even with the infrastructure in place the investment in the online writers, communicators, designers, programmers, and facilitators must be increased to make Internet-enhanced democracy something of real value to most citizens and governments alike.

    9. Educate elected officials on the use of the Internet in their representative work. Get them set-up technologically and encourage national and international peer-to-peer policy exchanges among representatives and staff. Be careful to prevent use this technology infrastructure for incumbency protection. Have well designed laws or rules to prevent use of technology and information assets in unknown ways. Don't be overly restrictive, but e-mail gathered by an elected official's office shouldn't suddenly be added to a campaign e-mail list. Be sure the tell them to read the “Top Ten Tips for Wired Elected Officials” online at <http://www.publicus.net/articles/weos.html>.

    10. Create open source democracy online applications. Don't waste tax dollars on unique tools required for common governmental IT and democracy needs. Share your best in-house technology with other governments around the world. Leverage your service infrastructure, be it proprietary or open source, for democratic purposes. With vast resources being spent on making administrative government more efficient, a bit of these resources should be used “inefficiently.” Democracy is the inefficiency in decision-making and the exercise of power required for the best public choices and outcomes. Even intentional democratic inefficiency can be made more effective with IT. In the end, have fun and experiment. Seek out those in other governments who have had practical experience and trade tips along the way. Join the Democracies Online Newswire < http://www.e-democracy.org/do > to meet others inside and outside of government who are interested in improving democracy and government through the use of information and communication technologies. Together we can build an e-government fundamentally connected and responsive to the citizens of each of our democracies.

    Sind Sie schon drin? Zehn Tipps für vernetzte Politiker (Wired Elected Officials Article in German) – By Steven Clift – 2000

    “Sind Sie schon drin?” Zehn Tipps für vernetzte Politiker

    Auf seinen Streifzügen durch die digitale und analoge Welt der Politik hat der amerikanische Netz-Experte Steven Clift eine neue Spezies von Politikern von entdeckt: Die “WEOs” – Wired Elected Officials.

    Clift bezeichnet mit diesem Begriff jene Politikerinnen und Politiker, die nicht nur im Internet sind, sondern den Sprung in das Internet-Zeitalter geschafft haben. politik-digital dokumentiert nachfolgend seine zehn Empfehlungen und Hinweise auf dem Weg zum netzfesten Multimediapolitiker. Der englische Originaltext wird in unregelmäßiger Folge aktualisiert.

    “WEOs” (dt. in etwa: “Vernetzte Mandatsträger”) benutzen das Internet als ihr wichtigtes strategisches Kommunikationinstrument. Sie benutzen es zur Unterstützung und Stärkung des hocheffektiven und bewährten persönlichen Kontakts und Gesprächs. Während ein Politiker alter Schule durch Kontrolle und selektive Veröffentlichung von Information seinen Einfluss zu erhalten sucht, ist ein WEO durch die Lenkung und das Teilen von Information eher in der Lage Einfluss und Respekt zu gewinnen. Ein WEO begreift, dass andere Politiker und die Öffentlichkeit Treibholz im Meer der grenzenlosen Information sind – sie benötigen Hilfe, sie benötigen Anleitung. Gebraucht werden internetfeste Politiker, die die Menschen durch dieses Meer leiten, zu dem, was wirklich wichtig ist.

    Das Bestimmen der Tagesordnung und das Fällen von Entscheidungen, also Regieren im Informationszeitalter, erfordern neue Fähigkeiten für Mandatsträger. Unabhängig von der Frage, ob sie seit zwanzig Jahren oder seit zwanzig Wochen im Amt sind. Lesen Sie nun die besten zehn Tipps um ein WEO zu werden, und das Informationszeitalter nicht nur zu überleben, sondern es auch zu Ihrem Gewinn zu nutzen.

    1. Nutzen Sie das Internet zur Kommunikation

    Ob für die private Kommunikation “unter vier Augen” oder zur öffentlichen Verständigung in der Gruppe: Interaktion hat ein hohes Potenzial und ist jetzt schon die mächtigste politische Anwendung, die das Internet bietet. Meinungsäußerung im Internet ist bedeutungslos, wenn sie nicht mit freier elektronischer Vereinigung einhergeht.

    2. Nutzen Sie das Internet zur Verbreitung von Information

    Top Ten Tips for “Weos” – Wired Elected Officials – By Steven Clift – 2000

    Top Ten Tips for “Weos” – Wired Elected Officials

    by Steven Clift – German Version Available

    Originally published in the “E-Guide for Parliamentarians: How to be an Online Representative” produced by the UK Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government with support from British Telecom.

    As I have traveled the world online and in-person, I have discovered an emerging new breed of politician. They are not just on the Internet, they are now of the Internet age.

    These “Weos” or Wired Elected Officials are using the Internet as their primary strategic communications tool. They use to strengthen and support good old fashioned and highly effective in-person politics. A Weos is more likely to build power and respect through information guiding and sharing than an old style politician who holds on to power through control and selective release of information. A Weos understands that other politicians and the public are adrift in a sea of information – they need help, they need direction. What we need are wired politicians at the rudder guiding people through the information sea to what is most important.

    Agenda-setting and decision-making, that is governance in the information age, require new skills for elected officials whether they have been in office for twenty years or twenty weeks. Read on for the top ten tips on how to become a “Weos” to survive and thrive in the information age.

    Top Ten Tips for Weos

    1. Use the Internet to communicate.

    Whether it is private one-to-one or public group communication, interaction is the most transformative and powerful political application on the Internet. Speech on the Internet is meaningless unless there is free electronic association.

    2. Use the Internet to disseminate information.

    Whether as part of your official duties or party/campaign work, encourage your constituents or political supporters to join your one-way e-mail list(s). The web is passive from an organizers perspective because people rarely visit the same site twice. You want people to join or “opt-in” to your e-mail lists so you can share your message widely little or no cost.

    3. Develop multiple e-mail address identities on the Internet.

    Have one e-mail address for public official constituent communication, one internal address for official government work, and at least one personal e-mail address for unofficial campaign/party political communication and other personal communication.

    4. Promote “E-Democracy” within your existing representative structures to enable “wired” public participation.

    Take your existing processes such as committee hearings, public testimony, constituent communication and adapt them to the information age. Active integration of information and communication technology into legally representative democracy is essential to maintain legitimacy and improve democracy. Pass model “E-Democracy laws” that require representative and consultative features of the administrative side of government and other government bodies to be fully accessible online. Start by requiring that all public meeting notices and agendas be posted online through a uniform system.

    5. Use the Internet to connect with peers around the world.

    The Internet is a terrific way to establish intentional and value-added opportunities for peer-to-peer information sharing among people with similar interests or goals. Take any public policy topic of interest and create networks for you and your staff. Don't wait for others to build global policy network of elected officials. Become a known global expert in a topic area by taking the initiative now.

    6. Use the Internet to access information.

    It is an information maze out there. Be patient and you will often find what you need. Use your peer connections and assist each other with research requests and needs. Sending a query to the group will often result in references to useful information just as proactively sharing the results of your online research will provide value to others. Think of this as “just-in-time-democracy” through the use of your expert and other's online “best practitioner” networks.

    7. Use the Internet to access information smartly.

    Settle on a search engine like Google < http://google.com > and subject trees like the Open Directory < http://dmoz.org > and Yahoo < http://yahoo.com >. Learn how they work. Find similar sites by reverse searching – for example “ link: http://www.e-democracy.org ” will find all pages indexed at Google or Alta Vista < http://altavista.com > linking to that page. Try the reverse search to find our who links to your site.

    8. Use the Internet to be fed information automatically.

    Subscribe to select e-mail newsletters and announcements list on the web sites you find most useful. Let them tell you when they have something new. Use e-mail filtering (ask your technical staff for help) to sort your incoming e-mail into different folders to keep e-mail list messages separate from e-mail sent personally to you.

    9. Use the Internet for intelligence.

    Whether it is a site you find useful or the site of your political opponents, use the Internet to monitor their public activities and documents. You can use tools like Spy On It < http://spyonit.com > to set automatic page watchers that will notify you when something new is posted on a web site. Some of the best public policy information is not promoted beyond placement on a web page. Let a web reminder tell you something has been changed or added.

    10. Promote integrated services for all elected officials across the organization.

    Uniform systems, networks, and equipment should be overhead covered by the representative institution itself and not a cost to members directly (at least for the essential technology base). This is a balance of power issue. If the administrative side of government invests billions in their information infrastructure, the representative side must invest as well to remain a relevant voice for an increasingly wired society. The same goes for those in political party based elections – promote an integrated and aggregated campaign information infrastructure that may be used securely and strategically by all party candidates.

    Calling all current and future Weos

    So are you a “Weos?” Would you like to become one? If you are an elected official you can take the first step by requesting joining a private online peer forum designed specifically for “Weos.” For more information on the Weos forum or to comment on the ten tips, send an e-mail to < weos@publicus.net >.

    Steven Clift is the editor of Democracies Online Newswire < http://e- democracy.org/do > and Co-Manager of the Parliaments Online Forum, a peer-to-peer forum for those who work on parliamentary online efforts in over 30 countries. For further reading visit Publicus.Net < http://www.publicus.net >.V2.0

    The Public Internet Concept Draft 1.0 – By Steven Clift – 2000

    The Public Internet

    Concept Draft 1.0

    by Steven Clift ,

    This is an edited except from my Information is Power? Envisioning the Minnesota Public Internet – Public service and community information and interaction in the public interest speech. You see a mix of global concepts mixed together with Minnesota comments. Eventually I will pull together a completely generic concept piece.

    I accept the notion that most of what is being done online will be done by existing institutions based on existing missions. This includes private sector, government, educational, and non-profit/NGO institutions. The question of “public interest” activity must not be limited to our current notion of public needs from the offline world. Yes, it makes sense for those solving public problems to come “on” the Internet and use its tools in pursuit of their objectives. However, it is absolutely essential that we define public interest goals, needs and solutions that are “of” the Internet.

    The illustration below presents my estimation of who is doing what online in the areas of Infrastructure, Commerce, General Content, Community (Local) Content, Interaction, and Community Interaction (Geographic). The yellow bits are the missing areas of activity from my personal perspective.

    When it comes to infrastructure, commerce, and general content the private sector and public/non-profit sectors “as is” are generally successful, but when it comes to community content, interaction, and community interaction there are tremendous gaps. We need to keep the rationale and models from public broadcasting and public access cable from clouding our options. Defining the “Public Internet” is not about creating an alternative channel (they continue to have value based on existing or narrowly defined missions) but it is instead about partnerships among all players to fill in the gaps through the creation of shared mediating institutions and initiatives.

    Two examples of efforts I am involved with that attack the gap in the interaction area are Open Groups for online community directory information and my efforts to promote the creation of local interactive online public commons spaces . The second part of my original speech explores the interactive public policy civic gap with specific proposals for Minnesota which can be extended elsewhere.

    At a minimum we need to develop the concept of the “Public Internet” and explore the concept much more deeply. We should perhaps look to create a trusted, participatory all sector partnership-based organization called the Public Internet Consortium. It could focus on promoting the use of open standards to solve public problems and be the host for a mix of Internet-based public interest applications/open standards which require a shared home to be legitimate or become established. Just as you have hundreds of industry consortiums dealing with unique parts of e-commerce, we need similar efforts that are expressly public interest oriented.

    Again, what can we do together that would not happen otherwise, but we want to exist? Ultimately the more online access, content, and interaction support by the competitive private market place or integrated into existing government and non-profit missions the better. Filling in the many-to-many interactive gap with dynamic and sustainable solutions is how our first digital generation will be judged. It will be my life work.

    Public Portals – Directories for the Public Internet

    Back in 1994 and 1995 I designed North Star, the Minnesota State Government's home page or directory site (see also the North Star Development Center , and History and Future as viewed in 1997 .) I secretly felt that I was designing the future interface through which most citizens would someday interact with their government. When people would hear the word state government they would have an image of the state capitol building, the current Governor, and the main home page in their minds. I strived to keep it non-political and worked to create a citizen-oriented foundation. I figured that someone online should wake up each morning and ask the question – “what can I do for the citizens as a whole today” versus “what can I do to present my agency in a better light to its customers.” I assumed that agencies would continue their silo service, but that we could add a user-friendly directory. And over time standardized access to frequently requested information and a high volume service transaction layer. We would move from a thin directory, hard silo system toward a “Yahoo” like directory as illustrated here.

    Moving toward an integrated service delivery and multi-interface approach, I felt the growing directory should be based on a database and be led by those with a communications and library-oriented skill set and not just technologists. In the winter of 1997 the Minnesota State Legislature passed legislation creating the best legal framework for integrated online government online in the country and put almost $1 million dollars toward the effort.

    The vision should have moved us toward a subject index of state government information and services (which does not exist – only a big garbage in garbage out search tool), a dynamic framework for integration of all major state directory information products including the state telephone directory, state agency guidebook, directory information on all local governments and eventually all public services including those sponsored by non-profits. (This reminds us that ideas are dangerous – because all existing organizations and missions will not survive, keeping ideas off the public agenda is the safest way to preserve organizational turf.)

    I left state government to pursue my Democracies Online effort and independent consulting in late 1997. Efforts with the “public portal” in Minnesota have slowed tremendously. While agencies continue to develop better and better online efforts, a few collaborative agency efforts provide niche directories – the sum is less than the whole of the parts.

    Developing a effective citizen interface to things “public” is ultimately it is about vision, power, and leadership. I think we need this to come directly from the Governor's Office with real targets to which we can hold the administration accountable. In the end it might make sense to privatize North Star into a state-supported non-profit that would take a holistic “public” information and interactive services perspective. This could become the foundation for what I call the “Minnesota Public Internet.”

    Through the use of open standards and systems the best public content should be aggregated for broad dissemination through multiple technologies. While the web will be the most cost effective self-serve system, telephone based text to speech systems must provide access to the blind and those without two-way Internet access. Any government or non-profit employee could use the same Minnesota Public Internet directory to send citizens in the right direction cutting through the bureaucracy.

    Enhanced Digital Television – Broadcast the Public Internet

    The real revolution with content aggregation and dissemination will be Digital Television. Using yet to be defined enhanced service standards the “best of the Internet” will be broadcast. Your remote will give you access to text, images, audio, and video that will be stored on your set-top box or in your television for a few hours or longer depending upon your settings. The fundamental question with the “one-way Internet” (my name for digitial TV) is what public content is so important that everyone should have universal access to it? Some examples that come to mind; weather alerts, traffic information, crime alerts, school lunch menus, missing children alerts, snow emergency information and other public safety notices. Imagine this – you key your zip code into the set-top box and suddenly you have access to accurate, up-to-date local information from the city, your neighborhood organization, local museums, civic groups and the list goes on. (This concept could be explored now at the local level if local governments dedicate all of the increased revenue from cable modem services to “public access” community new media content and service development.)

    See my orignial Community Digital Broadcasting article for more information.

    The lynch pin of this model is the development of a trusted content aggregator(s) and standards-based syndication systems. While commercial stations could be encouraged to carry this digital side content, I think public television broadcasters are in the strongest leadership position. Perhaps they just become the carriers as part of some broad government/non-profit partnership or they build this by default. I am not sure.

    Let's not count commercial carriers out completely. It may be that the Minnesota Public Internet concept is actually made up of many partnerships organizing different chunks of content and services for “syndication” across not only Digital TV but through the larger commercial web sites with “eyeballs” or users. You see this happening already with multiple commercial sites using and repackaging traffic information. So in the future perhaps more people will interact online with their government and non-profit services through the StarTribune or PioneerPlanet and AOL's My Government then through government and non-profit web sites directly? Perhaps. I am not sure if I am fighting or promoting that concept, but in the end I just want more citizens to actually get access to the good stuff on their terms based on their own needs.

    More resources:
    Digital TV and public service in the Nordic countries – Article
    PBS DTV
    Sam's DTV Report
    DigitalTelevision.comMonday Memo , Glossary
    Federal Communications Commission – DTV
    FCC Notice of Inquiry on DTV Public Interest Obligations
    FCC's Kennard on Interactive Personal TV

    Comments on this draft?
    clift@publicus.net