EDem09 – Day 2

We reported live from the EDem09 Conference in Vienna. The program is available here. Read the reports from the day before here. Watch some fotos on Flickr. Take a look at the excellent coverage of EDem09 at “Snurblog”.

eDemocracy and eGovernment

Christian Rupp, Federal Chancellery, Vienna

“ICT in the public sector is like a large vessel”: it requires clear decisions before real movement can be planned. Keys to eGovernment and electronic identity in Austria: smart cards (which have to be activated by the citizen), central register of residence, E-Government webportal help.gv.at, partnerships with municipalities, eDemocracy working group and the CAHDE Tool Box.

Web 2.0 as Base for Democracy 2.0

Peter Parycek, Danube University

At the moment we are experiencing the 5th media revolution:- Digitalization, Convergence, Many2Many. The internet used to connect chunks of information; now the internet connects people. Tradtional communication concepts are part of our society, but new means of communication will become increasingly important. The mass of people becomes increasingly important, and new technologies give the mass the opportunity to communicate and coordinate.
Open Government Principles: Transparency in communication between government, citizen and administration is crucial. In the US, Data.gov offers information for free and in fact his information is used usefully by the society. Public administration should use new communication platforms to contact their clients.
Participation and Collaboration is a basis for innovation. Businesses already built web-platforms to get feedback from clients in order to create better programs. Citizens know what they want, but they have no portals to express their ideas concerning reformation of administration processes and structures. The main question is how to involve many people, as even the Open Government Dialogue in the US failed to involving citizens.
Important aspects in Open Government processes: Open, Design, Learn, Stimulate.

Re-thinking eDemocracy – The challenges of existing concepts and future approaches

Blaz Golob, Centre for eGovernance Development for South East Europe, Ljubljana

Public-private-partnership in south-east-Europe is crucial for the development of these countries. When not enough people are involved in eParticipation processes, they are not legitimated. As south east Europe is not as financially strong as western Europe, many people do not have the resources to participate. The inclusion of many people in e-participatory processes can only work, when people have access to technology.
Future approaches: Understanding and supporting the needs of regions.
eInclusion is crucial in future processes. People need to understand the terminology and thus realise what eDeocracy and eParticipation is actually about.

Supporting Argument in e-Democracy

Dan Cartwright, Katie Atkinson, Trevor, Bench-Capon, Univ. of Liverpool

Decision-making through public consultation. ePetitions have existed since 2006 and traditional argumentation schemes may not be an ideal ay for leading online discussions. An analysis of argumentation schemes can suggest ways to communicate, ask questions and respond. The project Parmenides, an online forum, helps to present policy proposals where users can submit their critique.

Self-Efficacy as a Factor in Evaluation of e-Petitions

Peter Cruickshank, Colin Smith, Edinburgh Napier University

Looking at self-efficacy is an opportunity to investigate why some citizens are choosing not to participate, why citizens break off or do not sign an ePetition It is necessary to look at those who do not participate, understanding why they don’t want to participate. The focus needs to shift away from the application and on to the users’ perceptions of their abilities, their motiivations and demotivations. – Peter Cruickshank won the ‘best-paper-award’.

The Council of Europe and eDemocracy

Michael Remmert

The council of Europe and e-democracy – provides principles and guidelines for edemocracy. It is necessary to understand the implications of e-democracy on democratic processes, to support and harness bottom-up e-democracy as well as collecting good practice on and evaluating e-consultation. The recommendations of the committee of ministers to member states are available on e-voting and e-governance (2004) and e-democracy (2009).
Edemocracy is a complementary channel of democratic participation, it opens possibilities  of civic participation in all stages of the democratic processes. These opportunities reinvigorate representative democracy, review its traditional concepts, attract citizens and encourage citizen initiatives.  Obviously there are challenges, such as accessibility, usability and inclusion. But it is necessary to encourage public authorities to support civic initiatives. Possible future work for CAHDE could includes the promotion of the recommendations, but beyond that it could be developing a code of practice and exploring the need for rules and regulatory frameworks.

Project Management in eVoting

Robert Müller-Török, Inteco, Landshut

Inadequate project-management ist he main reason for failed eVoting. Problems are: The complexity of the project comes from the many parties invloved. We need a language that everybody(!) understands.
eVoting needs standard software that is approved by doubtless and accepted institutions. A strong project manager is important. Having a single contractor is best, because otherwise, partners blame each other for mistakes. Legal issues need to be checked by independent lawers. At the moment also legal issues are not all clear. The documentation and contracts must be flawless, as otherwise parties will sue  you. Project-communication needs to be proä-active and needs to have the answers ready before questions arise. Better more communication than not enough. The whole team must be competent in several fields.
Project management is essential to the success. Software sould be standard, but the project management has to adopt to every new sitution.

A PKI-based protocol for secure and practical online elections

Lucie Langer, Axel Schmidt, Melanie Volkamer, Johannes Buchmann, TU Darmstadt

Certain security requirements are essential to every project. Voters may not sell votes, therefore people do not get a receipt that shows what they voted for. However, voters need to know that their vote has correctly been processed by the system. The project aims to supply low-risk-elections with secure e-voting systems (e.g. association-elections). The presentation explains how the system works.

New technologies for remote observation and verification of electionic votes: foundations of a better e-voting system

S. Ablameyko, N. Kalosha, D. Lipen, V. Lipen, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus

Many countries worldwide have problems concerning the infrastructure for voting. eVoting systems can help poor countries to realise correct elections. Despite their disadvantages, paper ballots remain most popular. In worst case scenarios, paper elections do not only allow fraud, they might lead to riots. Also paper elections need to improved. Maybe eVoting can help improving voting systems.
The system Lipen created includes all methods of voting – ballot box, letter, sms, eVoting. The system gives voters (ort he authorities) the chance to choose the way they want to vote. This flexible system can be adapted to many different elections. The project is still being developed, but it should make elections quicker and saver.

Don’t jump over acceptability before implementing e-voting: Social acceptability and its conditions of e-participation

Steve Schwarzer, Cornelia Wallner, SORA, Vienna

What conditions are necesary to increase trust in e-voting?
In order to implement eGovernment practices, a bottom-up process is prefered. Starting at lower level procedures of eGovernment might be easier, as small projects are easily realised and trust can be gained. Early stage adaptors can communicate their experiences. They are trustworthy people. Communication ist he most important aspect in implementing new public services.
What about the student union election in Austria? In the context of unversity, there are already many e-services: eDiscussions, eGovernmental portals, eParticipation, eIntegration … eVoting. eVoting ist he most complex service, and additional equipment (e-ID-card and card-reader for the electronic signature) is necessary. Students are generally interested in new technologies. However, students didn’t know a lot about eVoting procedures. Also the information campaigns by official agencies were not well accepted. Discussions during the pre-elections time framed eVoting rather badly.

Paper Records and Electronic Audits: A Step Towards Regaining Voter Trust

Mohammed Awad, Ernst L. Leiss, Univ. of Houston

In the US, voting issues started with the presidential elections (Bush vs. Gore) and the problems that appeared in Florida. As a result, the government wanted to change to electronic machines. Within less than 4 years, a lot of money was put into the electronic-voting-market. The time was too short to create appropriate concepts and machines. In some states, emergency procedures had to be installed to secure a proper election, during the elcetions 2004 (Bush vs. Kerry). The US electronic voting system is not about voring from home, it’s about electronically voting at a voting-station.
During the Minnesota Senate Race 2008, after paper ballots, the winner was not clear for 6 months. This indicates problems of paper ballot, as some votes cannot be clearly read and counting and recounting might lead to different results. However, paper ballots are more transparent as they can be recounted. Consquently, Mr Awad seeks to create a machine that combines the advanteages of paper and digital vorting.

Making Sense of Gov 2.0 Strategies: “No Citizens, No Party”

Enrico Ferro, Francesco Molinari, Istituto Superiore Mario Boella

eParticipation depates hardly ever end with concret results. If there is a final outcome, it is a mix of several approaches. Only 5 % of the population in Europe is willing to actively participate in online processes.
Molinari groups internet users into 4 main groups (cf. Slides). eGovernment-strategies need to delxible in order to reach all people. The sopcialisers are the next generation to come and to have great impact on the internet.. They are interested in public services, but don’t call them public services. While the connected and the active people can be reached, the most difficult to get are the unplugged. As everybody has a mobile phone, a stronger integrationg of the internet in mobile phones might be a way to reach this group.

eParticipation applications requirements and recommendations

Sabrina Scherer, Stefan Ventzke, Univ. of Koblenz

The platform shall also entertain users as the platform has a serious game included that explains the EU legislation process. The VoicE project is based on a survey, seeking to work according to user needs. The team of VoicE recommends to use features that users already know. The website shoudn’t be overloaded as people easily need to find what they look for.  If you work in the contect of the EU, you have to explain the EU to users. When dealing with consumer protection, you can tell the individual citizen what the EU does for him/her. People use social networks on a daily base. Such portals can be used for marketing. Many people are afraid of using their real identity in political discussions, so VoicE does not make people use their real names.

Political Education and e-Participation: ‘Technology, Politics and Culture

Ursula Maier-Rabler, Christina Neumayer, Univ. of Salzburg

eGovernemnt is driven by adminstration; eDemocracy is driven by parties; eVoting is driven by individuals; eParticipation is driven by communication of individuals. Of course, these things are interrelated and partly merge.
Participation has to start with youth, as long time projects. The society must invlove young people into political discourse. They are interested in politics, but not in traditional party systems. We need different e-policy models in different countries. The information culture ist the frame for e-policies, but information culture is an independent frame. In societies, where citizens live in top-down cultures, participation is difficult to realise. We have to make people ask questions. Participation means to break hierachical structures. We have to improve political culture and media litteracy. – visit polipedia.at.


Participatory planning: conflicts, context and cooperation

Organised by: Daniel van Lerberghe, Dan Jellinek, Rolf Luehrs, Bengt Feil, pep-net

Now is still a good opportunity to join PEP-NET, and participate in the leading and most up-to-date blog on e-Participation.
4 speakers present their views and experiences

Francesco Molinari proposes “spatial planning”, a concept which has been actually been around for 40 years and is now being re-used. Citizen involvement is a necessary form of participation, as they know more about the issues relevant to small communities than the planners and developers. It provides an opportunity to test the constituents’ response to a proposal, knowing more about the population, and seeing how citizens may react to a suggestion!

Daniel van Lerberghe suggests a few eParticipation tools that can be used in urban planning. Argument Visualisation (see the project WAVE) – uses debategraph (LINK) and provides clear maps about different parts of the debate, and you (the citizen) can choose how deep to go into the discussion; empower – the tool of this project uses the power of NGOs and agencies to help grassroots initiatives. Youtube.com second life (see politech part 1(link!) – to help people build their own world, a future world!

Bengt Feil: What actually gets done? For example the Domplatz in Hamburg – for many years a large space used as a parking lot. Since the 70s there has been an ongoing discussion about what to do with the square. Although in 2005 an architect was nominated to build a modern, glass building on the square nobody liked it. The minister for urban planning decided to involve the citizens, and they were given the opportunity to design the square. Different ideas generated by the citizens were merged, and the square was finalised in 2009.

Lasse Berntzen presents “digital dialogues”, a real eParticipation solution, which shows all stakeholders the area planned and both includes all the necessary documents,  a time-line and encourages them to be involved and to send in their comments.

Process Support for Increasing Participation in eParticipation

Edith Maier, Ulrich Reimer, University of Applied Sciences St. Gallen

Unfortunately we couldn’t take notes and do not have slides from this workshop. If you have any information about this workshop, please contact michael.sachs@donau-uni.ac.at

egosta: E-Government-Stakeholder-Beteiligung

Silke Weiß, Josef Makolm, Austrian Ministry of Finance


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