Public Law, pp. 489-506, 1998
Posted: 21 Jan 1999
We focus on the positive promotion of Computer Mediated Communication Systems for democratic uses within the United Kingdom whilst recognising also the less palatable political uses which have emanated as well as the limitations and shortcomings inherent in this choice of medium. We note that there are several design features of CMCs which may not only mark them out as distinct from other media but also as having the potential to make a distinct contribution to democratic progress. At the same time, it seems inherently unavoidable that the cultural character of the technology will impact on the forms of democracy with which it interacts or attempts to interact. We then analyse the uses of CMCs in the central and local state as well as other levels of democratic engagement, at the same time as considering threats and limitations. We find that utilisations of "virtual democracy" have tended to be relatively conservative rather than transformative and there is a real danger is that the internet will generate at best "hyper-politics".
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