[Air-l] DC Brown Bag on Korea's Net Election, US Virtual Civil War? - Wed May 5 - 12:15 p.m.

Steven Clift slc at publicus.net
Thu Apr 29 16:45:40 PDT 2004

For those in the DC-area ...

Steven Clift and CDT invite you to a brown bag lunch discussion on ...

        Brown Bag Presentation and Discussion:
        South Korea's 2nd Net Election - The Screen Shots
        US Election 2004 Online - A Virtual Civil War?

        12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m., Wednesday, May 5, 2004

        Conference Room, Center for Democracy and Technology
        1634 I St., NW, Washington DC 20006
        (Corner of 17th and I Sts.) - http://cdt.org

        Free.  Bring your own lunch. Space is limited.
        RSVP by Noon on Tuesday, May 4 to:  ari at cdt.org
        Or call CDT:  202-637-9800


       * Introductions

       * South Korea Net Election - Short Virtual Tour Presentation
         A preview for the 2006 election in the U.S.?

       Slides and Comment from Steven Clift's recent visit to Korea.

       * Possible Discussion Topics

       Bring Your Global E-Election Insights - India, Korea, and more
       Skulduggery Online - Stories from the US E-Campaign Trail
       Virtual Civil War? - Plotting a Post-Election Recovery (Article
       Join some old-tyme e-politicos and share your two cents

Early Networking:

       If you would like to meet one-on-one or in a small informal
       group with Steven Clift before or after the event, e-mail:
          clift at publicus.net

More on Steven Clift:

Steven Clift is an e-democracy speaker and strategist who has spoken
across 25
countries since helping create the world's first election-oriented web
site in
1994. For more information and articles, visit <http://publicus.net>. He
http://DoWire.org, the Democracies Online Newswire which reaches over
e-democracy/e-government/e-politics experts in more than 80 countries.
He recently
released a 40 page report on e-government and democracy that he wrote
for the
United Nations: http://publicus.net/e-government

Below is a short article titled "Saving Democracy from the Information
Age." It
should help spark our brown bag discussion ideas.


Saving Democracy from the Information Age

By Steven Clift, for CIO Government Magazine, Australia
April 2004

For the past 10 years, governments have had unprecedented opportunities
to use
technology to connect directly with citizens. So why haven?t they?

"Is this the end of politics as we know it?"

In the United States, journalists around the country were recently
falling over
each other to write their local article on the Internet and the
election. People are using the Internet to "MeetUp.com" and get involved
in the
presidential campaign of their choice. It is a real story.

I was actually asked the "end of politics" question by a reporter back
in 1994
when E-Democracy.Org created the world?s first election-oriented Web
Since then I have seen waves of excess hype and scepticism about the
role of
new media in elections, governance and community.

As far as I can tell, the outcomes of elections, despite the Internet,
pretty much the same ? someone wins and someone loses. Most citizens
cynical about politics and government. Beyond sorting through their
e-mail and
putting their biography online, politicians seem content to ignore
opportunities in governance until the next election cycle.

Something has changed.

For the past 10 years, governments have had the opportunity to use
and communication technologies through e-government to connect directly
citizens. Government has had the opportunity to become more accountable
transparent, and to build the trust of citizens. Instead, most
governments have
taken the path of services first and democracy later. Access to
information has
become easier and many representative processes are more open than
before the
Internet, but for the most part, what citizens experience has changed

Taking a path is different from choosing a path. The vast majority of
government "customers" want convenience and efficient service delivery;
however, in democracies we are also "citizens". We are the owners of
government. Government has focused on the one-way uses of the Internet
service transactions because few citizens have asked for anything
Democracy in the information age is not a choice that will exist based
citizen demand.

What has changed is that "politics as usual" has figured out how to use
Internet to further their narrow interests. Online advocacy, while
democratizing in many ways, is primarily used to generate noise geared
our representatives and public processes.

Governments in wired countries now face a fundamental challenge.
interests are raising their voices online, but governments, including
elected officials and representative institutions, are largely unable
to "listen" online. When speaking in Eastern Europe, it really hit me:
designed, e-government is not able to accommodate the will of the
people. The
lack of investment in the online needs of representative democracy,
compared to
large investments in administrative services, is changing the balance of
in our democracies.

Despite significant policy explorations by governments in the United
Sweden and the Victorian parliament, for example, it is amazing that the
state or nation to adopt a formal e-democracy policy is Queensland.
(Also note
the CitizenScape project in Western Australia.) Not that you need a
policy to
have significant government-based e-democracy activity, but it helps to
beyond rhetoric and experiments to real investments that save democracy
the negative aspects of the information age.

What Should Be Done?

At a World Summit on the Information Society session in Geneva, I
promoted "democratic evolution" over the path of partisan "virtual civil
(Check back with me after the 2004 US election. I predict online
by "politics as usual" will poison many a citizen?s view of the medium
politics and governance.) Governments, as democracies, must act now in
ways to ensure their ability to e-listen to citizens, to make better
decisions and to more effectively engage the public, civic organizations
business as they implement public policy.

In my Geneva speech, I suggested that the following best e-democracy
be made universal thorough the rule of law:

1. All public meeting notices with agendas and all public documents to
distributed at that meeting must now also be posted online.

2. All representative and regulatory bodies must make all proposed
and amendments available online the minute they are distributed as a
document to anyone.

3. Every citizen must have the ability to access up-to-date listings of
those who represent them at every level of government. Technology and
must be implemented to allow citizens and, very importantly, elected and
appointed officials to communicate effectively online with one another.

4. Funding must be provided and technology implemented to ensure
citizens the
right to be notified via e-mail about new government decisions and
based on their interests and where they live.

Overall, when it comes to e-government funding, I suggest that no less
than 10
percent be set aside for citizen input and democracy. Citizen input
embraces "two-way" communication including usability testing, user focus
groups, site feedback systems and surveys, and special applications
for representative institutions and elected officials.

After speaking hundreds of times across 24 countries, mostly to
interested governments, it is clear to me that what is possible is not
probable. The best practices and e-democracy technologies are not being
effectively shared. If we want the demonstrated potential of the new
medium to
spread, democratic intent will be required. The default path I see,
without a
political and resource commitment, is democratic decline. As we enter
second decade of e-democracy activity, now is the time to use the
online tools before us and build information-age democracy for our own
future generations.

Copyright 2004 -  For free reprinting/translation permission, contact:
clift at publicus.net

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