2# E-Democracy

Day 1: ICEDEG 2017 in Quito, Ecuador

19-21 April in Quito, Ecuador

20170418_213832 Quito, looking down.

Quito, looking up.

After more than 1/2 day spent in the air, I arrived to Quito to attend the ICEDEG 2017 chaired by Andreas Meier (University of Fribourg, CH) and Luis Terán (University of Fribourg, CH & Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas (ESPE), EC).

20170418_160106 Rain, forecast for the whole week.

Programme and details available here:

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PhD Scholarships: Migration Studies

We are currently opening three PhD student scholarships to join our dynamic interdisciplinary research team at the Faculty of Business and Globalization at Danube University Krems. These positions provide young researchers with the unique opportunity to develop state-of-the art methodological competences.

An important goal of this PhD program is assisting in evidence-informed policy design with a holistic understanding of migration policy as a pillar of social peace and the stability of states. Europe is at the center of continuous migrant and refugee movements of unprecedented scale, requiring policy makers to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors driving migration (security, income inequality, demography), facilitating migration (information and communication technology, social media) and the related impact in various fields (labor market, society, security, economy etc.). The program aims to pursue new ways of evidence-based policy making by understanding migration from a variety of methodological backgrounds, such as social or natural sciences and may focus on areas such as demography, economics, anthropology, psychology, political science, history etc. and applying diverse research methods [experimental research (e. g. game theory, behavioral economics), semantic research, data analytics (e. g. big data analysis, multivariate modeling), systems analysis (e.g. system dynamics, agent-based modeling, network analysis) and others].

The PhD student will work with senior researchers in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary environment, including various aspects of migration studies, informatics, economics and business studies, sustainability science, and public health. These are 3-year, 30h/week positions.

The program is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and the European Union’s Asylum-, Migration- and Integrationfund (AMIF).

CeDEM Asia 2016: Daegu Metropolitan City Meeting

During this year`s CeDEM Asia 2016 International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government, a meeting between the Daegu Metropolitan City (Information Management Division), National Information Society Agency (Department of Government 3.0) and the Danube University Krems (Department for E-Governance) has taken place to exchange the knowledge and strategies in the field of E-Government and Open Government Data.

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Participants of the workshop: Daegu Metropolitan City: Mi Young Park, Yong Won Kim, Jae Yeoul Jeong; National Information Society Agency: Shin-Ae Shin; Danube University Krems: Peter Parycek, Michael Sachs, Malgorzata Goraczek.

The goal of the meeting was to get a better understanding about the objectives and current status of Daegu Metropolitan City, which can be summarized as following:

  • What are the main objectives of the e-government strategy of Korea?

The national Department for Government 3.0 wants to improve the services for citizens and reduce the costs for businesses through open data. New business opportunities shall be established through the use of open data by private companies. The core of the project is a further transition from information to data in a cloud solution. There shall be a transition from digital government to data driven government. Korea has its own data centres and a government owned cloud system for security reasons.  The city of Daegu is the first local government that has the cloud based information system. Cloud solutions for government are all domestic. Now, private companies shall be certified by the government to be able to host such clouds. The information that is handled on national level are in national data centers, and data exchange between the levels of government is possible.

  • How Daegu deals with electronic identification of citizens and businesses?

The government has its own verification system. National government agencies have their own certification. Having an integrated system is a target.

  • What is the most popular or most favourite e-government service?

Most important service for citizens is the public government website that contains all information. Each local government has its own government services.

  •  What is the current status of open government data in Korea?

Since the enactment in 2013 all government agencies have to open their data. Personal information and information related to national safety issues are protected, but all other data is made publicly available. There have been developed  popular open data applications:

  • Application for locations of nearby hospitals and medical services
  • Parents can talk about schools all over the country in an application
  • Applications with mobility data und location based information about Daegu
  • Preparation for an open data market
  • Data based solutions for health care, e.g. devices for cardiac issues

The meeting allowed a bright inside into the work of Daegu, national strategies and plans according to E-Governance and Open Governement Data.

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CeDEM Asia 2016, Discussion: Enthusiasm for Political Topics

How to fill people with enthusiasm for political topics via social media (discussion hosted by KAS, Singapore)

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The discussion was led by Sayasat Nurbek (Institute of Public Policy, Kazakhstan).
Astik Sinha (Bharita Janata Party,  India) told us about the masses of Indian youth voters who are engaged on Facebook.
Ben Guerin (New Zealand National Party, New Zealand) was active in political campaigning and started a consulting company. He looks at how politicians engage on social media and the value of these activities.
Rajit Hewagama (United National Party, Sri Lanka) runs a consulting compagny for digital communications and strategic communications. In Sri Lanka some journalists disappeared and have been murdered, so they are scared of publishing anti government data. Social media allowed to bypass the mainstream media without relying on forms of media that could be censored. Now some ministers complain that media freedom came to far (sometimes those who have been in the oppostition before).
Pheaktra Neth (Spokesman of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Cambodia). The special body is set up between the UN and Cambodia to investigate the war crimes in the region. There is a young cohort of Facebook users in Cambodia. Sometimes there are postings about plans to kill someone, f.i. an officer, in a ceremony. The government has, however, no plans to control the social media or the internet. Campaigns are now focusing on social media and see it as a chance for the next 2017 and 2018 elections.

Truth vs. visibility?

We are now entering the second phase of social media, with a general phobia in many governments in Asia towards counter-revolutions. F.i. in the Hong Kong Umbrella revolution case, many protesteres used now Firechat as police switched off the mobile networks. In the West there was the worry that the liberal are dominating the social media. However, with view to dominating views, social media rather promotes echo chambers and oxygen might be provided to political movements that thrive on anger etc. These network effects are only going to be a better problem in the future. There is the fake news phenomenon plus people taking on extreme or simplified views: the information that gets the most views is not necessarily the most truthful. However, social media literacy is also changing, and people might do more fact-checking.

The discussion also revolved around the rise of Facebook and its power regarding the definition of truth and manipulation. Trust filters are now established within our friends (reputation networks). Also it was discusses how much censorship was done in social media by the government. India, for instance, has one of the highest rates of requesting Facebook for user data. Regarding the prediction of elections via social media data, so far many cases might have been luck, also due to problems of representativeness.

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CeDEM Asia, Keynotes, Day 1 (Daegu)

The 3rd CeDEM Asia started on the 7th of December in Daegu (South Korea). CeDEM brings together researchers, practitioneers and activists from many contexts in the region. President Faulhammer welcomed the participants and mentioned Korea as one of the leading industries in information technologies as well as the dedicated open access policy of CeDEM. Since the beginning of the conference series, emphasis was on the paradigm shifts due to ICTs and the development of civic involvement in society, and the creation of a network of tolerance, innovative spirit and innovation. The Centre for E-Governance has come to stand to a leading research group with many international cooperations and projects, and CeDEM Asia is an important part for the engagement of Danube University in the Asien region. Prof. Parycek emphasised that CeDEM Asia has a focus on communication and networks. Prof. Skoric mentioned the national context of the conference series and invited people to suggest cities for the next one. So if you are in Asia and want to host CeDEM 2018, do get in touch!

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Rajiv Aricat and Rich Ling: Rag-picking and mobile telephony in Myanmar

PRESENTATION-LINK

The Myanmar society has seen an ongoing process of liberalization and is moving towards a mixed economy after the country was under military rule. In the presented study mobile communication was studied since 2014 in six months of field work. Rag-picking  refers to picking up different types of waste. (more…)