3
   

Participatory Democracy Online

 
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Sat 2 Apr, 2011 10:11 am
This isn't directly related to your thread, or this party, but it is someone who is trying to make a difference here in British Columbia.

So, maybe in a round-about way, it is related! Laughing

http://integritybc.ca/

It's a non-partisan group.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Sat 2 Apr, 2011 07:13 pm
@Reyn,
Thanks, Reyn. The advocacy group encourages participatory democracy to citizens of British Columbia in making their government accountable.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Fri 8 Apr, 2011 10:09 am
Quote:
'Vote for the Internet' campaign starts
(By Jameson Berkow, Financial Post, April 7, 2011)

Vancouver-based advocacy group OpenMedia.ca launched its "Vote for the Internet" campaign on Wednesday, giving voters a chance to make their Web-focused interests known in Canada's 41st general election.

The campaign offers candidates from any political party - even, perhaps unnecessarily, the Online Party - the ability to register themselves as being "pro-Internet" or for voters to call on their local candidates to do so.

"Canada has become a digital laggard," Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia, said. Among the eight key principles of the strategy is support for continued review of usage-based billing policies for Internet service; an issue that recently ignited a political fire storm over the rising cost of Internet use for Canadians.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Sat 9 Apr, 2011 08:13 am
Quote:
All-inclusive Parties' Conference, Debate, Presentations DATE CHANGED
(OPC Press Release, April 4, 2011)

Representatives from most political parties registered in Canada have tentatively agreed to meet on April 23rd. Online Party of Canada has invited all parties to a similar event - Drake Hotel, April 9th - initiative now cancelled.

Online Party of Canada (OPC, www.onlineparty.ca, Twitter ‘onlinepartyca’) is not officially registered for this election and may not be invited to the April 23rd meeting. Interested media representatives may contact us directly for interviews.

OPC is a new political party, operating exclusively online. Our goal is to create a viable alternative to the traditional political system using internet technology. Online Voting, Direct Democracy, Competence, legally enforced Transparency and Accountability for elected officials - just a snapshot of what OPC offers the Canadian electorate. We believe we should vote issues, not individuals.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Mon 11 Apr, 2011 01:49 pm
SeeClickFix.com is an online forum that brings citizens, media and government together to solve local problems.

0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Sat 16 Apr, 2011 04:01 pm
Quote:
Court Documents: E-Signatures Would Improve Ballot Access, Without Deluge
(By Joe Mathews, Fox & Hounds Daily, April 15, 2011)

I've been reading documents from the lawsuit filed by Michael Ni, a San Mateo County voter associated with the firm Verafirma, seeking to have electronic signatures accepted for initiative petitions.

The case is moving through the courts. The state argues that the law does not permit such signatures. Verafirma disputes that.

But what struck me in the court documents were a couple of powerful briefs, both from progressives, that make the argument that electronic signatures could be a force for political engagement. Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, wrote the court that e-signatures could ease engagement among Latino voters - because while turnout among such voters is low, the "Latino adoption rate for smartphone technology is outpacing that of the total population."

The consultant Joe Trippi filed a particularly strong letter with the court. Trippi wrote:
My extensive experience with technology and grassroots campaigns leads me to believe that allowing voters to sign initiative petitions on mobile devices will lead to increased participation and engagement in the American political process. It will be a boon to true grassroots democracy and has the potential to wrestle control away from the well-financed special interests that have a monopoly on the initiative process in the opinion of 92 percent of Californians.

Trippi counters objections that electronic signatures would make it too easy to qualify initiatives - and thus fill the ballot with nonsense:
As exciting as this new technology is, I'm aware that some fear that the California ballot will be flooded with initiatives and referenda because petitions will be too easy to sign. This view lacks an important understanding of politics and technology that I've gained over the past three decades. People must be motivated to actively participate in political campaigns. Technology may make political participation more accessible, but you cannot build a grassroots movement without true passion. For example, a great website using the latest and most expensive technology about a topic about which no one cares will have minimal traffic. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. Likewise, an initiative that is meaningless or trivial will attract little grassroots support. If you circulate it online, people will not sign. On the contrary, if California voters are allowed to sign an initiative on a mobile device or online, it will likely be the result of a more thoughtful process rather than a rushed encounter with a paid signature gatherer at the local grocery store. Individuals may find all the pertinent information about the initiative on their own time from the comfort of their home on a mobile device or computer. They may read the full initiative text and pro and con arguments, and learn about the initiative's key funders, supporters and opponents...
Also, new technology makes online organizing and social networking less expensive and easier, but that doesn't mean it's easy. In fact, most online initiative campaigns that attempt to recruit volunteers or raise money never make it off the ground for the simple reason that there is already so much competition or "noise" out there that it's difficult to break through, much less hold someone's attention for more than a few seconds.
I think it highly unlikely that we will see a proliferation of trivial initiatives in California because individuals will have the ability to sign petitions on mobile devices. Again, only initiatives that represent the feelings of true grassroots efforts will successfully garner a substantial number of signatures. I believe we will see a greater quality of initiatives, not a greater quantity


Let's hope he's right.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  -2  
Sat 16 Apr, 2011 05:03 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Canada now has a political party called the Online Party of Canada.

Does the United States have anything similar?


Does Owl Gore know you are using his internet for such purposes?
wandeljw
 
  1  
Wed 20 Apr, 2011 01:26 pm
Quote:
Obama visits Facebook for online town hall
(CNN.com, April 20, 2011)

President Barack Obama isn't just in the news Wednesday. He'll also be in your news feed.

The White House is holding a "town hall" at Facebook headquarters, where the president is expected to answer questions before a small audience about the economy and the federal deficit. The event also will be broadcast live online to Facebook's more than 500 million users, starting at 1:45 p.m. PT (4:45 p.m. ET).

Facebook representatives will choose questions from among the queries submitted in advance by audience members and by people tuning in on the Web. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will moderate.

The event will be the second recent meeting between Obama and the 26-year-old computer whiz, who launched the hugely popular social-networking site from his Harvard University dorm room.

They dined together at an exclusive Silicon Valley dinner in February, joined by about a dozen other tech-industry elites. Zuckerberg was seated to the president's immediate right.

Obama also praised Facebook in his State of the Union speech in January, placing Zuckerberg's creation in a pantheon of great American-ingenuity success stories, beside the inventors of the light bulb and the airplane.

"We're the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook," Obama said in that speech. "In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It is how we make our living."

Wednesday's Facebook visit marks the second of three "town hall" events Obama has scheduled this week to take questions on the economy and White House deficit-reduction proposals.

During a similar event Tuesday in Virginia, Obama delivered campaign-style messages that emphasized what he called his balanced approach to reducing federal deficits and lowering the national debt. He's also scheduled to appear Thursday at a town-hall meeting in Reno, Nevada.

"The president is looking forward to visiting Facebook and speaking directly to the American people about his plan for responsibly bringing down the deficit and continuing on the path to economic recovery," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "This is a part of our effort to hear from the American people."

The president's blitz comes as Congress faces two major fiscal issues in coming months: passing a budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins October 1, and raising the federal debt ceiling so the government can continue meeting its obligations.

Obama's plan, which is at odds with proposals by congressional Republicans, calls for an end to tax cuts for the rich, further reforms to Medicare and Medicaid and a reduction in military spending.

Republicans are demanding significant fiscal reforms, such as a balanced budget amendment and mandatory spending caps.

By letting Facebook choose the questions for Obama at its town hall, the White House has elected not to use a technology -- created by Facebook's rival, Google -- it has employed online in the past by letting citizens vote on each other's questions. With that system, questions sometimes strayed from key talking points and to tangential topics such as marijuana legalization.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Wed 20 Apr, 2011 01:48 pm
@wandeljw,
The Facebook Town Hall with President Obama is also streaming live on The White House website:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/live?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Wed 1 Jun, 2011 08:47 pm
U.S. voters now have a website where they can track current bills in Congress and make their opinions known to their Representatives and Senators. Thevotereffect.com is a nonpartisan website where users can vote on specific bills now in Congress. The virtual votes will be delivered by the website to the congressmen to show them how users would prefer them to vote.
JTT
 
  2  
Wed 1 Jun, 2011 09:00 pm
@H2O MAN,
H2oman, the little meme peeper.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Wed 1 Jun, 2011 09:26 pm
@wandeljw,
Excellent! I've bookmarked Thevotereffect.com, and will check it out very soon. Thanks.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Fri 10 Jun, 2011 09:18 am
Quote:
U.C. Berkeley: Rich folks dominate the Internet, too
(San Francisco Business Times - by Steven E.F. Brown - June 8, 2011)

Far from being a ‘digital democracy,’ the Internet is dominated by the opinions of rich, powerful people, according to a study from the University of California, Berkeley.

Many early Internet champions, and people who pushed for universal broadband access, believed the Internet would give the poor and disenfranchised a voice. But although hot social media sites like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. are helping revolutionaries organize in the Middle East, and challenging wealthy footballers’ privacy in the United Kingdom, most of the influence online belongs to richer, better educated people.

“Having Internet access is not enough,” said Jen Schradie, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at U.C. Berkeley, who wrote the study.

Schradie found that fewer than 10 percent of people in the United States are “participating in most online production activities.”

Rather than level the playing field, she found, “the digital divide for social media users is wider between the haves and have nots.”

Most blogs, websites and video-sharing sites are dominated by the opinions of people with college degrees, rather than the uneducated. “The working class is underrepresented on the Internet,” the study said.

Schradie’s study crunched data on 41,000 American adults and their online activity between 2000 and 2008.
Setanta
 
  1  
Fri 10 Jun, 2011 09:29 am
@wandeljw,
Although not something i had thought about, it's also not something which surprises me.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Fri 10 Jun, 2011 09:32 am
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Quote:
Many early Internet champions, and people who pushed for universal broadband access, believed the Internet would give the poor and disenfranchised a voice.


<snip>

Schradie found that fewer than 10 percent of people in the United States are “participating in most online production activities.”

<snip>

Most blogs, websites and video-sharing sites are dominated by the opinions of people with college degrees, rather than the uneducated. “The working class is underrepresented on the Internet,” the study said.




Ms. Schradie's done some value-loading there. It appears she thinks blogs/websites/video-sharing site are more valuable than other uses of the available technology.

What value do the "opinions of people with college degrees" have?

wandeljw
 
  1  
Fri 10 Jun, 2011 11:15 am
@ehBeth,
She published her study in a journal about media studies called "Poetics." It is in the April 2011 issue under the title, "The digital production gap: The digital divide and Web 2.0 collide."

A pdf copy of her report is available online at a price of about $40. Here is a link:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304422X1100012X
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Sun 12 Jun, 2011 09:22 am
Quote:
Touching history with e-voting at Wayland Town Meeting
(By Susan L. Wagner, GateHouse News Service, Apr 08, 2011)

WAYLAND — Residents of this town are making a historic journey, taking the centuries-old ritual of town meeting into the digital age.

On Thursday night, at its first session, Wayland became the first Town Meeting in the state to vote by electronic tally. Residents will continue their experiment in 21st-century local government tomorrow.

"This is the first time in the commonwealth of Massachusetts that electronic voting has been used for a municipal meeting. And so far as I know, it's the first time in the country," Town Moderator Peter Gossels said at Thursday night's opening session. "This is an historic event."

The electronic voting went off without a hitch, but passing the $71 million fiscal 2012 town budget entailed several hours of spirited debate.

As voters entered and registered, each person was given an electronic keypad. Participants voted on each item during a 30-second window declared by the moderator by pressing 1 for "aye," 2 for "nay," and 3 to abstain.

The results and the detailed tally were announced in less than a minute for each vote taken.

Gossels said it was the first time Town Meeting votes were cast in secret, with no standing counts, with the "ayes" and "nays" able to vote at the same time.

Option Technologies Interactive, a maker of the keypads and the systems that support them, provided the hardware, software and personnel for a free demonstration.

If Wayland voters like the new system, a future Town Meeting could vote to adopt electronic voting permanently.

The price of the keypads and accompanying electronics have been estimated at $150,000 to $175,000. That amount could be reduced if neighboring towns opt in and share the equipment.

One of Wayland's neighbors has said it doesn't want any part of e-voting.

At a special Town Meeting last October, Framingham voters first agreed to change a bylaw clearing the way for electronic tallies. A few nights later, though, they fiercely rejected spending the $16,500 to find out more.

Some members worried about accountability, and one compared the idea of voting with digital keypads to stock trades on Wall Street now being done by computer.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Mon 13 Jun, 2011 03:25 pm
Quote:
EU Council supports European eGovernment action plan
(EuroAlert.net, May 31, 2011)

The Council adopted conclusions on the European eGovernment action plan for the period 2011-2015 on 27 May. The conclusions recognise in particular the need for open, flexible and collaborative e-government services designed and produced for the benefit and around the needs of citizens and businesses. The aim of the action plan is to promote the take-up of eGovernment (electronic government) services at local, regional and EU level, in order to make them more accessible and available for citizens and businesses throughout the EU regardless of their country of origin.

eGovernment will reduce administrative burdens by simplifying procedures and communication, and improve organisational processes by using innovative technologies such as electronic services for the ageing society. Also, a joint action on eGovernment by member states will contribute to a more efficient use of public resources and to reducing public expenditure.

The action plan aims to increase the use of eGovernment services to 50% of EU citizens and 80% of EU businesses by 2015. To achieve this, the Member states are being asked to undertake specific practical tasks such as raising awareness of and building trust in eGovernment services among EU citizens, encouraging the use of social networking and collaborative tools to facilitate more fluid communication between public administration and citizens, enhancing the security and privacy of eGovernment services and increasing citizens' trust and confidence in them.

Furthermore, inclusive and accessible electronic government services will help people with disabilities and other groups at risk of exclusion to be more self-reliant and able to use self-service solutions through digital interaction with public administration. For businesses, seamless cross-border eGovernment services will make it easier to open a branch or subsidiary in another EU member state or to provide their services or goods anywhere in Europe. Another positive consequence of using eGovernment services is that it will reduce public administrations' carbon footprint.

The action plan sets out specific practical measures aimed at ensuring that, by 2015, among other things it will be much easier for people to apply for and access social security and health benefits, transfer pension rights from one EU state to another or study anywhere in the Europe.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Tue 14 Jun, 2011 01:32 pm
Quote:
Open-government groups want E-Gov fund restored
(By Gautham Nagesh - TheHill.com - 06/13/11)

A coalition of transparency and good-government groups wrote to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee's Financial Services subpanel urging them to restore funding for websites such as USASpending.gov, Data.gov and the IT Dashboard.

The groups, which include OMB Watch, the Sunlight Foundation and the New America Foundation asked the lawmakers to restore funding for the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Fund, which they argue has produced projects that have increased the government's efficiency and transparency.

A budget agreement reached earlier this year slashed funding for fiscal 2011 from $34 million to $8 million, jeopardizing many of the sites' futures. The groups argue that a failure to restore funding could end up costing the government more money in the long run.

“These sites are critical tools for identifying waste and inefficiencies,” said Craig Jennings, Director of Federal Fiscal Policy at OMB Watch.

“Americans are looking for long-term solutions to reduce the deficit, not short-term gimmicks. The E-Gov Fund results in savings far above its cost. Cutting the E-Gov Fund may be penny-wise, but it’s pound-foolish.”

However, the situation is complicated by a pair of new proposals unveiled Monday that would overhaul how federal spending data is published online.

An executive order from President Obama would create a spending transparency board based on the Recovery Board that tracked stimulus spending.

The board would issue recommendations in six months on how to integrate the collection and display of government spending data. It would likely draw from Recovery.gov, the public website used to track stimulus spending.

Recovery.gov drew some early criticism for the accuracy of its data along with a charge from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that the site was used to disseminate Democratic propaganda.

Issa unveiled his own spending transparency legislation on Monday, which would go a step further and empower an accountability board to craft data reporting standards that agencies would be forced to comply with. His bill would eliminate USASpending.gov as well as Recovery.gov.

Despite his criticism of the stimulus tracking site, Issa also cited the Recovery Board as the model for using transparency to root out cases of fraud and abuse.

He issued a statement claiming he and the White House are "on the same page" with regards to spending transparency and said there is bipartisan support for legislation in both chambers of Congress.
Setanta
 
  1  
Tue 14 Jun, 2011 01:37 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw' s source wrote:
“These sites are critical tools for identifying waste and inefficiencies,” said Craig Jennings, Director of Federal Fiscal Policy at OMB Watch.


Which is exactly why the House doesn't want to fund them.
0 Replies
 
 

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