Democracy in an IT-framed society
Communications of the ACM
Abstract: Review by Jim Ronningen:
First things first: you won''t find a remedy for the Florida electoral mess in either of these two special sections of the January CACM, but the second of them presents well-defended pro and con arguments about online voting, which has received increasing attention as a way of avoiding chad-chasing, selective counting and the whole sorry story. The pro side acknowledges implementation problems yet to be solved but promises increased participation and accountability; the con side raises serious questions about security and equity. The ''IT-Framed Society'' section targets policy makers who may consider the broadest applications of information technology to social planning, governance and political organization. There are nine articles on such topics as the European Union''s newness being a logical incubator for new public information systems, methods for rating IT''s effects on democratic participation, and roles computer professionals can play (using the Seattle Community Network [www.scn.org] as an example). Readers who are unfamiliar with the CACM and assume that the content is always technical in nature would have their heads turned by issues like this one.