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This December, the Berkman Center and some friends are hosting the next in our series of Internet & Society conferences. A placeholder site is here:
This year, we're taking a skeptical look at whether the Internet is transforming politics. We're interested in global themes, in campaigns of all sorts and all levels, and not just the US presidential election.
We'd love your help in pulling together the panels and discussions. What would be most helpful at this stage is to come up with the hardest, most interesting questions that might serve as the organizing principle for a specific panel or discussion session on the primary day of the conference, December 10, 2004. An example might be: 'Are campaigns more effective at engaging young people in campaigns by using Internet technologies?' Give us a better one.
Can (should) democracy as we know it survive the Internet?
If democracy is defined as current political systems, structures, and institutions it may not survive the Internet. Is it bad news? Not necessarily. Don't we already get more "what the real story is" via blogs instead of established news channels broadcasting interviews of politically correct stakeholders? Is it not better to buy products looking at ratings of internet users in addition to corporate pitches? In short, by being a relatively cheap and easy to access medium, one could argue that the internet improves democracy by allowing a broader dialogue and giving more information and choices to individuals. Internet and democracy are not antinomic.
When we take the assesment tools of the Internet based Technologies; how can we assess the transformation in Democracy?
We;'internet users" are profiled and segmented according to our Internet usage Behavours; some sites have the capability to identify which political parties we support; what kind of books we read;; our specific research and development requirements and push content based on our assessed profiles. How would this be customized for political campaigns? What kind of information would be packaged and delivered to us so that we will make our informed decisions based on our interests?! Are IP Based technologies only relevant to internet and should we consider mobile telephony and Digital Tvs?