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Politics of the Internet, Lecture #7

Politics of the Internet, Lecture #7

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  • 1. October 15, 2009
  • 2. Discussion Points (Chadwick, ch. 6)
    • How have traditional interest groups adapted to the Internet?
    • Do the effects of the Internet on interest groups and social movements go beyond simply increasing the efficiency of communication?
    • Is hacktivism a form of political action?
    • Could hybrid forms of political organization such as MoveOn have existed before the Internet?
    • Must political mobilization rest upon face-to-face interaction?
  • 3. Hackers and Hacktivists
    • Hacker originally referred to someone who “hacked through” difficult coding thickets to arrive at a working piece of software
    • Other meanings include:
      • Someone interested in defeating or strengthening computer security measures (see also “cracker”)
      • A person who supports the free and open software movement
    • A hacktivist is a person who engages in “the nonviolent use of illegal or legally ambiguous digital tools in the pursuit of political ends” (Wikipedia)
  • 4. Hacktivists and Hacktivist Techniques
    • Defacing
    • Distributed denial of service attacks (DDS)
    • Ping storms
    • Email bombings
    • Malicious code attacks
    • Redirects
    Electrohippies web site
  • 5. Yes Men
    • The Yes Men are a group of culture jamming activists who practice what they call "identity correction" by pretending to be powerful people and spokespersons for prominent organizations. They create and maintain fake websites similar to ones they want to spoof, and then they accept invitations received on their websites to appear at conferences, symposia, and TV shows.
    • Their web site .
  • 6. Discussion Points (Chadwick, ch. 7)
    • Has the early potential of the Internet been realized in the area of election campaigning?
    • Why has the United States witnessed greater levels of online campaigning than the United Kingdom?
    • Assess the long-term significance of the Dean campaign of 2003-2004.
    • Is online interaction too risky for politicians?
    • Have parties successfully adapted to the Internet?
    • Evaluate the claim that the Internet will combat voter apathy.
  • 7. Key Claims about Impact of the Internet on Political Parties
    • Party Competition (possible lower cost to start a new party)
    • Power Diffusion (increased grassroots control over candidates)
    • Institutional Adaptation (parties adapt to the Internet by using it to buttress their advantages, party competition will not increase)
  • 8. Vote Trading?
    • Web sites inspired by hactivist James Baumgartner that allow voters to auction their votes (illegal)
    • Steve Yoder’s Voteexchange.org worked on the principle that since you would help Bush if you voted for Nader in a close state, you could contact a Gore voter in another state where Gore was ahead who would agree to vote for Nader.
  • 9. Votedorset.net
    • Vote trading in the UK
    • Designed to help “progressive” voters defeat the Conservative Party candidates by allowing Liberal Party supporters to vote Labour and vice versa.
  • 10. The Howard Dean Campaign
    • 2003-2004 Campaign
    • Joe Trippi in charge of Internet strategy
    • Early alliance with meetup.com
    • Early support from the Daily Kos
    • Dean won in New Hampshire but ultimately lost to Kerry
  • 11. The 2008 Presidential Election
    • What the Pew Internet and American Life Project has to say about it ( report ).
      • More got politic al info from the Internet, espec. online political videos
      • Increased use of social networking sites (MySpace and Facebook)
      • Increase in online contributors from 2 percent in 2004 to 6 percent in 2008
      • Some self-report s of voter empowerment but also of worries about extremism and misinformation
  • 12. Discussion Points (Chadwick, ch. 8)
    • What are the policy origins of e-government?
    • Is e-government about better government, better democracy, or both?
    • How is e-government different from previous government computerization initiatives?
    • Doe e-government change power relations with public bureaucracies?
    • Does e-government redistribute power within the political system?
  • 13. Defining e-Government
    • “… e-government initiatives usually involve several types of electronic and information systems, including database, networking, discussion support, multimedia, automation, tracking and tracing, and personal identification technologies.
    • Can be used at all levels of government from local to national.
    • Goals for use are diverse.
    • May be useful to distinguish among G2G, G2B, and G2C communications.
  • 14. Historical Developments in US
    • U.S. National Performance Review (1993 supervised by VP Al Gore)
    • Creation of government portal, Firstgov (now called USA.gov)
    • Clinton memorandum to accelerate e-government
    • Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998
    • More history of initiatives can be found on the OMB Office of E-Government and Information Technology web site
  • 15. Work of Darrell West
    • IU Political Science PhD
    • Until recently he taught at Brown University
    • Currently head of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution
    • Check out his web site, Inside Politics , for data on e-government at the state and federal government levels and also for international comparisons
  • 16. Work of Stuart Shulman
    • Univ. of Oregon PhD
    • Taught at Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1999-2008
    • Currently at U. Mass, Amherst
    • Main research: federal agency rule-making
    • Founder of the Journal of Information Technology and Politics