Reflections and Short Papers, Day 2

Qinfeng Zhu: Internet penetration and public service delivery

Abstract: The Internet is catalyzing an increasingly engaging citizenry demanding for greater government accountability and increasingly used proactively by government to enhance state capacity globally. This study looks into the impact of Internet penetration on state accommodation capacity in the context of authoritarian state, specifically, China. Using secondary longitudinal data, we quantitatively assess the effect of Internet penetration rate on public service delivery across the 31 first-level administrative divisions over time (1997-2012). The results show that, on the one hand, Internet penetration has a positive effect on public service delivery when controlling for GDP per capita. On the other hand, the divisions with initially better conditions of public service receive a smaller impact from the increase of Internet penetration rate than those with initially poor public service status. Moreover, the positive impact declines over the years in general. It indicates that authoritarian government can leverage the Internet for better governance and thus derive regime legitimacy. However, such “authoritarian resilience” has its limit beyond certain stage and is not sustainable over time.


Muneo Kaigo: Social Media and Red Tape in Japan

Abstract: This paper examines how the following four types of administrative delays affects online community development: 1) circular letters for sanction within local governments, 2) neighborhood association related concerns, 3) “Act on the Protection of Personal Information” related privacy concerns, 4) annual personnel reshuffles/reassignments. Delays and interruption in administration by these four types of “red tape” have been observed from January 2012 through May 2014 in the Tsukuba Civic Activities Cyber-Square. This paper suggests that these four types of “red tape” may inhibit growth of online communities and lower the level of public engagement in those environments.


Dragana Lazic: Flooded Country, Flooded Internet.

Abstract: In May 2014, Bosnia and Herzegovina was hit hard by severe flooding. The floods not only brought damage, but also caused a shift in the use of Facebook as it served as one of the main channels for seeking information. In order to examine the type and frequencies of information posted on this SNS during this period, 628 posts, retrieved from four pages and two groups, were analyzed. Facebook was used as a “backchannel” of communication that enabled the formation of online communities which translated into social support via self-help, relief assistance, and solidarity.


Zhendong Ma: A Structured Analysis of Digital Identity for e-Government Services

Abstract: Digital identity is a set of data that represents a person or a subject in the digital world. As a key technology to realize identification, authentication, and access control in the cyberspace, digital identity is fundamental towards trustworthy and reliable online transactions such as e-Government and e-Commerce services. Meanwhile, digital identity is a complex topic entailing interconnected issues along the social, legal, organizational, and technical dimension. This paper is a reflection of an ongoing study to investigate and analyze the aforementioned issues in the Austrian as well as EU context. The study surveys the state-of-the-art in multiple dimensions and elicits the domain experts’ opinions by online opinion polls and direct interviews. We present the result of our structured analysis, which provides policy makers, social researchers, and technologists an insight into the concerns and potential solutions for successful deployment and acceptance of digital identity.


Marco Prandini and Laura Sartori: Why electronic voting?

Abstract: Scientists have been studying electronic voting for 30 years, and some countries have been using it for almost 20 years. Yet, arguments in favor of its adoption or against it usually take into account only a limited subset of the issues at stake. As we show in this paper, no study has ever tried to draw a comprehensive picture of the interplay between social and technical aspects of the voting process. We claim that this kind of interdisciplinary research is needed for the scientific community to be able to exert its positive influence on stakeholders. We propose some urgent research questions that to our knowledge have no clear answer.


Odgerel Ulziikhutag: e-Voting Development in Mongolia

Abstract: This paper reviews e-voting development in Mongolia and presents analysis based on the lessons learned for further development. The presented findings are based on the implemented e-voting and smart NID card projects, research papers, observation of political parties interests and public opinions from thematic discussions and all forms of media and a wide range of government documents including unclassified documents of General Election Commission, Mongolia. This paper is important because much of analysis has not yet appeared in academic literature. In this research statistical data was presented in order to understand some challenges that might affect e-voting environment in Mongolia.


Jing Zeng: Information construction in crisis communication: Applying ANT to digital media environments.

Abstract: As social media has become an important source of news and information, the question of the value of online information has attracted attention from both commentators and researchers. Arguably, in times of crisis, these questions become even more crucial, since the accuracy of information may directly affect the effectiveness of disaster responses and relief efforts. With an emphasis on the constructed and interpretative nature of information, this research will explore the sociotechnical processes through which crisis information is created, disseminated, and evaluated on micro-blogging sites through the interactions among various participants. Actor Network Theory (ANT) will be deployed to analyse this social media-based crisis communication process, and to identify the actors –including technologies, people and institutions—that collectively shape the information environment.

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