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Policy Issues for Digital Democracy


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The Global Knowledge Partnership; Public Policies for Digital Democracy; APC Internet Right Charter; RA 8792

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Policy Issues for Digital Democracy

  1. 1. Tamcyn R C. Ubaldo POLICY ISSUES DM 216 - Information Technology Management Masters in Development Management PSU-Urdaneta Graduate School
  2. 2. REPORT CONTENT 1. 2. 3. 4. The Global Knowledge Partnership Public Policies for Digital Democracy APC Internet Right Charter RA 8792
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION  Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G8) – acknowledge that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the most potent forces in shaping the twenty-first century.  ‘Digital Divide’ – ever-widening gap between the world’s information “haves” and “have-nots” hindering development and growth.  Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) – was established to integrate existing and future efforts into a broader international approach.  Genoa Plan of Action – nine-point action plan as a result of extensive global consultation. Amongst them was the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) which is committed to sharing information, experiences and resources through ICT to promote access to, and effective use of knowledge and information as tools of sustainable, equitable development.
  5. 5. GKP  Evolving “network of networks” comprising public, private, non-profit organizations from developed and developing countries.  The partnership is a result of the 1997 Global Knowledge Conference in Canada hosted by the World Bank and the Government of Canada. Followed by second conference in Malaysia on 2000.  Envisioned a world of equal opportunities where all people are able to use and access knowledge and information to improve lives of the people.  Nine-member executive committee as the decision-making body with 2-year term and first chaired by the Government of Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) while secretariat by Government of Malaysia (National Information Technology Council)
  6. 6. GKP Objectives and Areas of Activity include:  Facilitating advocacy and amplifying the voices of stakeholders from the developing world in Global Policy Dialogues on ICT development.  Providing services that enhance members’ individuals and collective efficiency and effectiveness by operating as a broker for knowledge, services, resources and relationships.  Increasing the availability of information and knowledge on ICT for development and empowerment, and promoting regional exchange.
  7. 7. GKP  GKP saw the G8 interest in the issue of bridging the digital divide as an implied promise of significant new resources from the developed world, of realigned priorities from donors, and of higher visibility for ICT applications throughout the world, particularly in the developing worlds.  GKP gave recommendations to the DOT Force stressing the importance of focusing on concrete and immediate action that would fill the gaps in their draft report pertaining to outlining an optimal sequence of events to achieve set goals and provide examples of successful ICT projects in developing countries and would also yield the most efficient and cost-effective possible solutions in bridging the gap and eventually eliminate it.
  8. 8. GKP RECOMMENDATIONS of GKP: 1. Include Everyone in the Digital Revolution – participation by the broadest possible segments of the population has been regarded as the most basic foundation for use of ICT in development. 2. Building on Existing Local Resources – use of existing resources is particularly cost-effective since developing country resources are significantly cheaper than those in developed countries as well as ensuring the depth and persistence of changes. 3. Focus on Key Sectors and learn for ICT Applications in the Field – e.g. e-commerce, community access thru multimedia centers or telecenters, education, health, and e-governance.
  9. 9. GKP 1. Include Everyone in the Digital Revolution (1) Expansion of networks to reach undeserved population  Women – a gender perspective must be built into plans, policy and practice from preliminary project design through implementation and evaluation. Center for Mayan Women Communicators in Guatemala (CMWC) – functions to develop skills in communication technology that enable women to improve their media image, sell their products in alternative market while keeping their traditional crafts and artworks and providing additional income for their families.
  10. 10. GKP 1. Include Everyone in the Digital Revolution (1) Expansion of networks to reach undeserved population  Rural residents – urban dwellers have the greatest access to information technology in developing countries yet the majority of the world’s people still live in rural areas. Swaminathan Research Foundation Community Internet Centers – centers for farming villages in Pondicherry, South India. Staff of the Center receive farming queries from local residents, collect locally relevant information from generic ICT networks and transmit it to local farmers.  Youth – are among the more innovative users of ICT, and in some countries, have made major contributions to economic development.
  11. 11. GKP
  12. 12. GKP 1. Include Everyone in the Digital Revolution (2) Ensure affordable access – is not to attempt to install a particular model of access but to make existing model and lessons widely available and to work on supporting structures for community access.         Resale of telecommunication services Universal Service Funds Public Access Points Aggregated Demand Advocacy Miscellaneous Targeted Subsidies Competition and Bypass
  13. 13. GKP
  14. 14. GKP 1. Include Everyone in the Digital Revolution (3) Promote Good Governance  Requires that the population be given both greater access to policy dialogue and a chance to contribute to it.  Major obstacles to bridging the digital divide in this regard center on policy reform.  Ability of the media to operate freely is key to both good governance and to a vibrant, internationally accepted economy.
  15. 15. GKP
  16. 16. GKP 2. Build on Existing Local Resources (1) Local Human and Knowledge Capital  Generate Local Content – local material is often much more relevant than those created and repackaged for export in developed countries.  Exploit Local Technical Skills – abundant local talents in developing countries that are highly skilled and some require technical trainings.  Support Local Entrepreneurs – small and medium enterprise sector are recognized as major source of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Use Local Institutions – NGO and private sector have long adopted the model of working closely with local partners to accomplished shared goals thru networking activities and for “virtual community building”.
  17. 17. GKP 2. Build on Existing Local Resources (2) Local Media  Community radio – low-cost, easy to operate, reaches all segments of the community in local languages and can offer information, education and entertainment as well as platform for debate and cultural expression. (3) The Diaspora - GKP members work with developing country nationals who have become expatriates for economic or political reasons. With improvements of communications they can now participate more fully in the development of their own countries.
  18. 18. GKP 3. Focus on Key Sectors and Learn from ICT Applications in the Field (1) E-Commerce – focuses primarily on business-tobusiness transactions (2) Community Access – development of community multimedia center or telecenters to offer ordinary people a gateway to the global knowledge society. (3) Education – establish a pool of people with technical skills to maintain hardware, encourage the creation and experimentation of model applications, help entrepreneurs to acquire business and management skills, “seed” the market for access and developmentoriented applications thru training public sector users, promote sharing of lessons learned in IT and development and help maintain a focus on the sustainability of services.
  19. 19. GKP 3. Focus on Key Sectors and Learn from ICT Applications in the Field (4) Health – health sector is one of the earliest to adopt ICT in its development. (5) E-Governance – electronic and online services in government, especially in the areas of service delivery, orientation and accountability. It can increase the reach and impact of advocacy by grass roots organizations and can give citizens a greater role in making and monitoring policies.
  20. 20. GKP RECOMMENDATIONS: (1) Support an open and wide-ranging activities that expand access to and use of ICT in developing countries (2) Projects should mirror the structure of modern ICT themselves (3) Decision-making and resource allocation should be:  Collaborative and shared among donors, governments, and all stakeholders, including undeserved populations.  Project should demonstrate support and ownership among participants and they should be demand rather than supply-driven.
  21. 21. GKP RECOMMENDATIONS (continuation):  Project should build on existing local resources particularly local human and knowledge capital, local media and the Diaspora  Key sectors should focus upon: e-commerce, community access, education, health, and egovernance.  Projects should be reviewed and evaluated often.  Resource allocation should be results oriented.  Experimentation and innovative solutions should be encouraged.
  23. 23. PPDD  Idea of democracy implies a limitation of state’s powers and evokes more of a bottom-up process which individuals initiate action, than public intervention.  Development of information superhighways has illustrated a shift in telecommunications policies and marked a retreat of the state.  Internet – to where notion of digital democracy intimately linked, may appear as inherently democratic medium because of its structure and of the principles on which it functions.  In order to open the way to a digital democracy, public action is necessary. The marketplace is not always the best mechanism to ensure the basic values, technological changes are ambivalent and may lead to different kinds of information society, more or less democratic. It will largely depend on how ICTs are applied and how public authorities are able to frame their usage.
  24. 24. PPDD DIGITAL DEMOCRACY A. Notion of Digital Democracy – exchange and free movement of information in which people make the basic decisions on crucial matters of public policy as the ultimate decision- makers using those information to make intelligent choices. Democracy requires freedom of communication to serve several purposes such as: 1. 2. 3. Citizens to understand situations on which they have to make decisions. Deliberate function by allowing citizens to discuss public issues. Critical function on media being people’s watchdog and ensure criticism and evaluation of the established powers.
  25. 25. PPDD Notion of Digital Democracy defined in different ways:  Encompassing all the uses of information and communication technology (ICT) which might affect and change the functioning of democracy such as the fundamental operation of expressing opinions, debating, voting, and making decisions.  In a normative perspective, digital democracy can be defined as political system in which the use of ICT ensures democratic values.   It can be used to correct failures or imperfections of the current political system It may also be understood as a new age of democracy which will replace the representative democracy and establish a form of direct democracy.
  26. 26. PPDD B. The Case of Public Intervention – freedom of communication has always been considered as key element to democracy and has always been hampered by a number of difficulties and biases: 1. Freedom of communication depends on the financial capacities of people that are not equally spread over the society. 2. Marketplace is often seen to be the best mechanism but often leads to the dominance of information by large corporations. 3. Information needs to be placed in context. 4. Information is never neutral as it embodies national and social culture and the free flow of information may lead to cultural domination or homogenization.
  27. 27. PPDD Public intervention. Is linked to the fact that the implementation of digital democracy will be dependent on the political environment. 1. It can lead to a surveillance society; 2. To promote more active participation that could lead to a strong democracy or a thin or weak democracy; Public action is needed to develop digital democracy for two major reasons: 1. 2. To complement private action and promote applications which are essential to democracy but might not be provided by the marketplace To ensure the respect of democratic values and avoid, limit or fight against any practices detrimental to democracy which can stem from commercial or political interests alike.
  28. 28. PPDD POLICY ISSUES RELATED TO DIGITAL DEMOCRACY Crucial issues democracy: that hinders development of digital 1. Access to infrastructure and to information services. If some of the population are durably excluded, the possibility of building digital democracy is jeopardized; 2. Protection of Privacy. Harm of it might affect the individual’s autonomy and acceptance of digital democracy; 3. Access to public information. It serves as a test to evaluate the commitment of the state to establish digital democracy. Public authorities process a large amount of information, and often data associated with the exercise of citizenship.
  29. 29. PPDD 1. Equal access to Information Infrastructure  Access to internet is not equal and varies according to social groups in a developed and developing countries. Infrastructural, financial and cultural obstacles prevent large amounts of people accessing the internet.  The cost of equipment and communications play a role. PCs are still expensive and browsing the internet includes local telecommunication costs.  Internet penetration is slowed down by cultural factors. Browsing and processing information services remain to be difficult for it requires basic skills and ability to deal with hypertext or to do keywords search.  Universal access to the information society would be a question of time, not a public policy issue.  It is doubtful that the marketplace will overcome cultural inequalities vis-a-vis information services.
  30. 30. PPDD 2. Protection of Privacy  Invasion of privacy – one of the major political issues raised by the ICT development. It is contrary to the very idea of democracy.  Perspective of digital democracy creates new risks to anonymity and privacy.  Fear of having a surveillance society due to internet makes it much more acute thru exposing personal information and computers to data-mining.  Protection against privacy invasion can be left to selfregulation or to the marketplace. Some principles and standards should be embodied in laws and regulations and made mandatory. If not, risk that a market-driven or self-regulation approach will ration the right to privacy according to personal income or knowledge.
  31. 31. PPDD 3. Access to Information and Content Issues  Cannot be limited to technical or economic issues but should also focus on the kind of information and content which is necessary to promote digital citizenship.  Access to public data has often been restricted for reasons such as political and the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). Meanwhile, development of Internet structurally changing policies regarding access to public information in many ways.  Distribution of public information materially much easier and less costly. The concept of information society, introduce in the political system new values such as transparency.
  32. 32. PPDD 3. Access to Information and Content Issues  Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – recognized as a delicate issue that involves conflicting interests between right owners and users clash with each other and need to be reconciled in order to endure smooth democratic activities.  The easiness of circumventing intellectual rights as the content is digital and the capability to escape national laws by taking advantage global nature of networks will progressively free digital IPR. However, ‘trusted systems’ being developed would allow right owners to control access to digital work automatically, selectively and efficiently.  Challenge to public authorities is to preserve a fair balance of interests.
  33. 33. PPDD POSSIBLE FORMS OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES’ ACTION ISSUES REGULATION SPONSORING OPERATOR Access to infrastructure Universal service policies  Plans to equip schools  Free access in public places  Subsidies to equipment  Local authorities as IAP.  Free access in public places (libraries, etc.) Access to Information  Right of access  Definition of essential public data  Training, education  Communication vouchers  On-line provision of public data  Public kiosks Freedom of Expression Constitutional Laws  Subsidies to associations  Training  Free hosting  Provision of services aimed at public debate
  34. 34. PPDD FORMS OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES’ ACTION ISSUES REGULATION SPONSORING OPERATOR Privacy  Protection of privacy codes  Obligation of consent  Support to civil liberties associations  Anonymizer Content Diversity  Cross-ownership restrictions  Quotas  Subsidies to specific information providers  Public service providers offering specific contents
  35. 35. PPDD CONCLUSIONS:  The way towards achieving an information society and digital democracy will be a fully interactive process wherein government, citizens, private companies, NGO’s and media will channel change through acceptance, refusal, reaction/innovations to new applications, services and systems.  Government not to oppose market forces but to accompany and compensate for market failures. They are not to impose binding regulations but regulations to balance conflicting interests and protecting public interests.  Technology is a driving force but has to be channelled through precise regulatory frameworks.
  37. 37. APC IRC APC INTERNET RIGHTS CHARTER  Internet has become a powerful widespread communication platform with the convergence of existing communication media with new communication technologies.  Association for Progressive Communications (APC) aims to ensure that rights of expression, communication, association and protest on the Internet are protected in practice, enshrined in national, regional and international policies and implemented through awareness raising and action.  APC focuses on Internet Rights as one of its three priority action areas for 2000 to 2002. This charter was developed at the APC Europe Internet Rights Workshop held in Prague on February 18-21 2001.
  38. 38. APC IRC APC INTERNET RIGHTS CHARTER Themes and principles that express the APC’s views and goals concerning the right of people and organizations to use the Internet freely particularly in their work for social, economic and environmental justice: Theme 1: The Right to Communicate - includes the right to access, inclusivity, gender equity, affordability of the service, developmental impact, integration with media rights, accessibility of public information and rights in the workplace. Theme 2: Freedom of Expression and Information Exchange – everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This includes freedom of expression, freedom from censorship, and freedom to engage in public protest.
  39. 39. APC IRC Theme 3: Diversity of content, ownership and control, and the protection of user rights – this includes diversity of content, linguistic accessibility, user rights, and evaluation of social impact. Theme 4: The Licensing and control of intellectual property – it discuss the policy and regulation that govern public access and dissemination of public information need to discourage the use of proprietary software and systems. Also, needs to adhere to technological standards. Theme 5: Privacy – is for data protection, freedom from surveillance, right to use encryption, and accessible recourse to public protest.
  40. 40. APC IRC Theme 6: Global, regional and national governance of the Internet – It concerns setting and implementing technical standards, transparency, accessibility and participation Theme 7: Rights awareness and realisation of rights – this involves public education to inform people of their rights when using ICT and mechanisms to address rights violation as well as recourse when rights are violated.
  42. 42. RA 8792  Known as the “Electronic Commerce Act of 2000”  An Act providing for the recognition and use of electronic commercial and non-commercial transactions and documents, penalties for unlawful use thereof and other purposes.  Enacted on the Eleventh Congress on year 2000 by the Senate and House of the Representative. Approved and signed by Pres. Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
  43. 43. RA 8792 Declaration of the Policy:  The need to create an information-friendly environment which supports and ensures the availability, diversity, and affordability of ICT products and services;  Primary responsibility of private sector in contributing investments and services in telecommunications and information technology;  The need to develop, with appropriate training programs and institutional policy changes, human resources for the information technology age.
  44. 44. RA 8792 Declaration of the Policy (continuation):  To facilitate the transfer and promotion of adaptation technology, ensure network security, connectivity and neutrality of technology for national benefit;  The need to marshall, organize and deploy national information infrastructure, comprising both telecommunications network and strategic information services.
  45. 45. RA 8792 ELECTRONIC COMMERCE IN GENERAL  Aims to facilitate domestic and international dealings/transactions, exchanges and storage of information through the utilization of electronic, optical and similar medium/mode of technology to recognize the authenticity and reliability of electronic documents to promote the universal use of electronic transaction in the government and general public.  This act shall apply to any kind of data message and electronic document used in the context of commercial and noncommercial activities.  Legal recognition of electronic writings (Document and Data Messages including electronic signatures), its authentication, evidential weight, and retention.
  46. 46. RA 8792  Communication of electronic data messages and electronic documents to include:       Formation and validity of electronic contracts; Recognition and attribution by each parties; Error, agreement on acknowledgement receipt; Time and place of dispatch and receipt; and Choice of security method Electronic Commerce in Specific Areas    Carriage of Goods – contracts of carriage of goods Electronic Transactions in Government – government use of electronic data messages, electronic documents and signatures RPWEB – to promote use of electronic documents and data messages in government and general public.
  47. 47. RA 8792  DTI shall direct and supervise the promotion and development of electronic commerce also empowered to promulgate rules and regulations as well as provide quality standards or issue certifications, installation of an online public information and quality and price monitoring system for goods and services aimed in protecting the interest of the consuming public  Final Provisions Sec. 30. Extent of Liability of a Service Provider – Except as otherwise provided, no person or party shall be subject to any civil or criminal liability in respect of the electronic data message or electronic document for which the person or party acting as a service provider (a) The obligations and liabilities of the party under the electronic data message or electronic document. (b) The making, publication, dissemination or distribution of such materialor any statement made in such material, including possible infringement of any right subsisting in on in relation to such material.
  48. 48. RA 8792  Final Provisions SEC. 31. Lawful access and Obligation of Confidentiality – Access to an electronic file shall only be authorized and enforced in favor of the individual or entity having a legal right to the possession or the use of the file and solely for the authorized purposes. The file shall not be made available to any person or party without consent of the lawful owner of that electronic key. SEC 32. Obligation of Confidentiality – except for the purposes authorized under this Act, any person who obtain access to any electronic key shall not convey to or share the same with any other person.
  49. 49. RA 8792  Final Provisions SEC. 33. Penalties – shall be penalized by fine and/or imprisonment: (a) Hacking or cracking – refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy w/o the knowledge and consent of the owner shall be punished by a minimum fine of Php100,000 and mandatory imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years. (b) Piracy – unauthorized copying, reproduction, dissemination, distribution importation, use, removal, alteration, substitution, modification, storage, uploading, downloading, making available to the public that infringes intellectual property rights shall be punished by a minimum of Php100,000, maximum commensurate of the damage incurred and mandatory imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years.
  50. 50. RA 8792  Final Provisions SEC. 33. Penalties – shall be penalized by fine and/or imprisonment: (a) Violation of the Consumer Act of No. 7394 and other relevant or pertinent laws through transactions covered by or using electronic data messages or documents shall be penalized with the same penalties as provided in those laws. (b) Other violations of the provisions of this Act shall be penalized with a maximum penalty of one million (1M) pesos or six (6) years imprisonment. SEC. 34. Implementing Rules and Regulation – The DTI, Department of Budget and Management and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are empowered to enforce this Act and issue IRR in coordination with DOTC, NTC, NCC, NITC, COA and other concerned agencies and private sector within 60 days after its approval.
  51. 51. RA 8792  Final Provisions SEC. 35. Oversight committee - composed of Trade and Industry, Science and Technology, Finance, Appropriations of both Senate and Congress which shall meet every quarter of the first 2 years and every semester of the third year to oversee its implementation.