E-Democracy consists of all electronic means of communication that enable/empower citizens in their efforts to hold rulers/politicians accountable for their actions in the public realm. Depending on the aspect of democracy being promoted, e-democracy can employ different techniques: (1) for increasing the transparency of the political process; (2) for enhancing the direct involvement and participation of citizens; and (3) improving the quality of opinion formation by opening new spaces of information and deliberation. Electronic Democracy should be on top of the political agenda worldwide. The digitalization of decision processing system becomes a persistent need at the times of speediness . On-line platforms constitute both a vital and valid place for information acquisition and formation of opinion. We are maybe confronted with a revolution as far as traditional communication linkages between political representatives and citizens are concerned. E – democracy is the future of Civil Society for four reasons set out below :
OpenGov constitutes at its core an open governmental data system andis the key to a country’s democratic regime . The origins of open government arguments can be dated to the time of the EuropeanEnlightenment. Enabling interested citizens to get more directly involved in the legislative process can prove to be a lot beneficial for the welfare of a society . In fact , legislation is democratically opened to the general citizenry, employing their collective wisdomto benefit the decision-making process and improve democracy. Governmentsmake smarter data-driven decisions and achieve greater transparency this way .
According to greek political philosophy , citizens have both a moral inclination and obligation to get informed over common issues . Viewing things from a legal perspective gives us clear image of what the “ right to information ” , already constitutionalized in some states ( e.g. article 5A of the Greek constitution ) , is about ; a legitimate window to information society and knowledge economy respectively . Mark Bovens , professor of Legal Philosophy and Public Administration at Utrecht School of Governance , in his paper about Information Society , finds a primitiveliaison between information rights and citizenship . Principle of legality -in particular the requirements of legal certainty , lawfulness and cognizance – is the key to constitutional support for the recognition of information rights . More precisely and narrowing ouroutlook down to European economic crisis , European citizens of member states facing currently default risk are expected to hold liability in line with the law only after having been aware of what constitutes legal or illegal community – behaving . I am wondering at this point now what a public data - sourcing was composed of , so as the whole Europeandemoscould familiarize first hand with official info regarding financial situation of theircountry ? We must first and foremost exclude any suspicion that we have been deliberately led to this ultra – manipulative situation , in order to answer to that . Public institutions , such as the Commission , the European Council or even the European Parliament are expected to support individual subjects in determining their legal position , for example by actively providing in various forms information specifically tailored to statistics . Only if legal subjects areoffered the certainty that they will be informed on time and adequately of their rights and duties , it will be possible to put the principle of formal legality into force . Those without access to information and information channels can generally wield very little political and administrative influence , in addition to running the risk of social exclusion . Access to information and to information channels may therefore justifiably be considered a “ primary social good ” , especially for low – budget countries it constitutes top priority .
As John Rawls phrased it “ Without such access citizens are rendered almost completely unable to make rational choices and to draw up a rational life plan ” .
2.Ecclesia of Demos on-line
European citizens must be convinced on principles affecting integration , both economic and political , throughreasonableargumentationor else follow theirdeliberate destiny into unforeseen chaos of a dispersedcontinent . People should be allowed to react in freedom , ifthey see no light in euro – discourse . But before that , European bureaucratics should guarantee the functioning of open ideological platforms all overthe European region , alongwith a centralized one in Brussels as well . Thence , citizens are supposed to gain access to a genuine sphere of public informationalization ( see Wikipedia , Digital Public Library of America ″DPLA″ ) , while collecting at the same time all evidence needed for composing their very own political opinions . Information process dresses up in its public attire , when speeches , arguments , documentation are all exposed to everyone and the whole enterprise is delivering a clear message of operating there for the benefit of all . Similar to the ancient ecclesia of demos in Athens , contemporary platforms would be supposed to promote citizenship training asbeingcomprehendedalsoin physical sciences; indeed , young birds do need “ public informationalization ” – for the sake of visibleness of their reproduction place in particular - , albeit older ones that have already completed their personalcircle of breeding , they feel secure based on their atomic knowledge acquis ( Wicke , 2009 ) . Getting informed in our high – speed age is a form of participation into common affairs and after reflection , it turns out to be an educative one as Dewey claims ; “ participation in the realities oflife ” istheultimate “ educativeforce intheworld ” . Inhis workabout “ Democracy and Education ”he defines democracy via participation ; “ a society which makes provision for participation in its good of all its members on equal terms and which secures flexible readjustment of its institutions through interaction of the different forms of associated life is in so far democratic ” . The idea of participation , however , dates back to Plato also , in his early thoughts of being part of a total ( Meinhardt , 1965 ) . Facing , then , the challenge of a “ public informationalization ”, it is of fundamental importance to identify what “ collective intelligence ”( Kostakis , Re-public : re-imagining democracy ) is about . After restoring the notion , which incidentally includes ;
-competence to understand or learn
-tackle new conditions
-use modes of reasoning
-competence to take advantage of knowledge so as to adapt to new environment
the “ collaboratorium of reflection ”can be establishedto serve as a model for the rest , regional ones . Moreover , the construction of online communities ( Wicke , 2009 ) based on the same concept of Correct Ratio , thus , linked to common intelligence can accelerate the citizenship training . In both endeavours , physical and virtual , procedure of decision – making would be thoroughly elaborated via charters that would be concentrating argumentation along with evaluation toolsso as to reach safe conclusions .
Paradigms of such an endeavour are fully described in a survey contacted :
-Webcasts “ A webcast is the Internet audio and/or video stream produced from a live event, or an online simulcast of a broadcast signal (Elaine G. Toms, 2005). In addition to the video, the webcast usually includes the slides from a presentation, and may include other artifacts. Webcasts are usually transmitted and seen by the participants at the same time (real-time) and their duration may be over one hour, although they can be archived to allow people to view them at a later time, creating an issue of data storage. This system offers its participants a way to see and hear a transmission but in general it’s not very interactive. ”
-Blogs “A web-blog is a web page with minimal to no external editing, providing on-line commentary, periodically updated and presented in reverse chronological order, with hyperlinks to other online sources. (Daniel W. Drezner, 2004). Software required to run a blog is available free of charge on the internet, is relatively easy to use and requires no specialist knowledge of web languages to operate. ”
-Chat rooms “A chat room or chatroom is a term used primarily by mass media to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. The term can thus mean any technology ranging from real-time online chat over instant messaging and online forums to fully immersive graphical. Chat rooms sometimes have a ‘moderator’ to facilitate interaction with the panel and to control the discussion. ”
-Discussion Fora “An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting. Internet forums are also commonly referred to as Web forums, message boards, discussion boards, (electronic) discussion groups, discussion forums, bulletin boards, fora (the Latin plural) or simply forums. It typically shows a list of topics people are concerned about. Users can pick a topic and see a 'thread' of messages and replies then post their own message. Communication channels can either be asynchronous or synchronous. ”
3.E – Voting
In 2004,Indiahad adoptedElectronic Voting Machines(EVM) for its elections to the Parliament with 380 million voters had cast their ballots using more than a million voting machines.The Indian EVMs are designed and developed by two Government Owned Defense Equipment Manufacturing Units,Bharat Electronics Limited(BEL) andElectronics Corporation of India Limited(ECIL). Both systems are identical, and are developed to the specifications ofElection Commission of India. The System is a set of two devices running on 6V batteries. One device, the Voting Unit is used by the Voter, and another device called the Control Unit is operated by the Electoral Officer. Both units are connected by a 5 meter cable. The Voting unit has a Blue Button for every candidate, the unit can hold 16 candidates, but up to 4 units can be chained, to accommodate 64 candidates. The Control Units has Three buttons on the surface, namely, one button to release a single vote, one button to see the total number of vote cast till now, and one button to close the election process. The result button is hidden and sealed, It cannot be pressed unless the Close button is already pressed.
Next time Europeans may elect directly via e-voting the President of the Commission. As the Treaty of Lisbon - article 11 , Paragraph 4 of theTreaty on European Union( TEU ) and Article 24 , paragraph 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union( TFEU ) -already offer theEuropean Citizens’ Initiative( ECI ) , which constitutes an innovative form of direct democracy and complements the existing right of petition totheEuropean Parliamentand the right of appeal to theOmbudsmanas set out in the Treaty ofMaastricht( 1993 ) , e-voting can be used to cover quick polls , surveys and e-petitions.
4.Alert mechanisms – Email alerts and RSS feeds
RSS or Real Simple Syndication is technology designed to allow users to subscribe to a specific content feed and be automatically alerted when new updates are available. Through ListServs,RSSfeeds, mobile messaging, micro-blogging services and blogs, government and its agencies can share information to citizens who share common interests and concerns. Some government representatives are also beginning to useTwitterwhich provides them with an easy medium to inform their followers. In the state ofRhode Island, for instance, TreasurerFrank T. Capriois offering daily tweets of the state's cash flow. A number of non-governmental sites have developed cross-jurisdiction, customer-focused applications that extract information from thousands of governmental organizations into a system that brings consistency to data across many dissimilar providers. It is convenient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to expend tax dollars to get it. So far , economic independence andschoolingconstitute thetwo mainindicators ofwell-functioningrepresentative democracy . In precise , research of SeymourLipsetsupported the idea that prosperity , measured particularly by per capita GDP and education , stimulates democracy . This idea is often called the Lipset hypothesis , although Lipset credits the basic notion to Aristotle :
From Aristotle down to the present,
menhave argued that only in a wealthy society
in which relatively few citizens lived
in real poverty could a situation exist in
which the mass of the population could
intelligently participate in politics and
could develop the self-restraint necessary
to avoid succumbing to the appeals of
irresponsible demagogues .
“ Swartz believed it was possible to ' fix the world mainly by carefully explaining it to people ' . ” PetersJ. , The Idealist
At the dawn of information-age , it is of great importance to be involved in the evolution ofDemocracy. We are able to build a more sustainable future regime for the benefit of the whole of society and world in which we live. Knowledge has always been the springboard to progress of the human kind. We have to construct a solid background against which we will apply our revolutionary methods as well as keep sound the backbone of the democratic regime ; that is active participation !
Alexander H. Trechsel and Fernando Mendez, The European Union and E-Voting (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 5