E-democracy

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E-democracy (a blend of the terms electronic and democracy), also known as digital democracy or Internet democracy, uses information and communication technology (ICT) in political and governance processes.[1][2] The term is credited to digital activist Steven Clift.[3][4][5] By using 21st-century ICT, e-democracy seeks to enhance democracy, including aspects like civic technology and E-government. Proponents argue that by promoting transparency in decision-making processes, e-democracy can empower all citizens to observe and understand the proceedings. Also, if they possess overlooked data, perspectives, or opinions, they can contribute meaningfully. This contribution extends beyond mere informal disconnected debate; it facilitates citizen engagement in the proposal, development, and actual creation of a country's laws. In this way, e-democracy has the potential to incorporate crowdsourced analysis more directly into the policy-making process.[6]

Electronic democracy incorporates a diverse range of tools that use both existing and emerging information sources. These tools provide a platform for the public to express their concerns, interests, and perspectives, and to contribute evidence that may influence decision-making processes at the community, national, or global level. E-democracy leverages both traditional broadcast technologies such as television and radio, as well as newer interactive internet-enabled devices and applications, including polling systems. These emerging technologies have become popular means of public participation, allowing a broad range of stakeholders to access information and contribute directly via the internet. Moreover, large groups can offer real-time input at public meetings using electronic polling devices.[7]

Utilizing information and communication technology (ICT), e-democracy bolsters political self-determination. It collects social, economic, and cultural data to enhance democratic engagement.

As a concept that encompasses various applications within differing democratic structures, e-democracy has substantial impacts on political norms and public engagement. It emerges from theoretical explorations of democracy and practical initiatives to address societal challenges through technology. The extent and manner of its implementation often depend on the specific form of democracy adopted by a society, thus shaped by both internal dynamics and external technological developments.

When designed to present both supporting and opposing evidence and arguments for each issue, apply conflict resolution and Cost–benefit analysis techniques, and actively address confirmation bias and other cognitive biases, E-Democracy could potentially foster a more informed citizenry. However, the development of such a system poses significant challenges. These include designing sophisticated platforms to achieve these aims, navigating the dynamics of populism while acknowledging that not everyone has the time or resources for full-time policy analysis and debate, promoting inclusive participation, and addressing cybersecurity and privacy concerns. Despite these hurdles, some envision e-democracy as a potential facilitator of more participatory governance, a countermeasure to excessive partisan dogmatism, a problem-solving tool, a means for evaluating the validity of pro/con arguments, and a method for balancing power distribution within society.

Throughout history, social movements have adapted to use the prevailing technologies as part of their civic engagement and social change efforts. This trend persists in the digital era, illustrating how technology shapes democratic processes. As technology evolves, it inevitably impacts all aspects of society, including governmental operations. This ongoing technological advancement brings new opportunities for public participation and policy-making while presenting challenges such as cybersecurity threats, issues related to the digital divide, and privacy concerns. Society is actively grappling with these complexities, striving to balance leveraging technology for democratic enhancement and managing its associated risks.

Considerations[edit]

E-democracy incorporates elements of both representative and direct democracy. In representative democracies, which characterize most modern systems, responsibilities such as law-making, policy formation, and regulation enforcement are entrusted to elected officials. This differs from direct democracies, where citizens undertake these duties themselves.

Motivations for e-democracy reforms are diverse and reflect the desired outcomes of its advocates. Some aim to align government actions more closely with the public's interest, akin to Populism, diminish the influence of media, political parties, and lobbyists, or use public input to assess potential costs and benefits of each policy.

E-democracy, in its unstructured form, emphasizes direct participation and has the potential to redistribute political power from elected officials to individuals or groups. However, reforms aimed at maximizing benefits and minimizing costs might require structures that mimic a form of representation, conceivable if the public had the capacity to debate and analyze issues full-time. Given the design of electronic forums that can accommodate extensive debate, e-democracy has the potential to mimic aspects of representation on a much larger scale. These structures could involve public education initiatives or systems that permit citizens to contribute based on their interests or expertise.

From this standpoint, e-democracy appears less concerned with what the public believes to be true and more focused on the evidence the public can demonstrate as true. This view reveals a tension within e-democratic reforms between populism and an evidence-based approach akin to the scientific method or the Enlightenment principles.

A key indicator of the effectiveness of a democratic system is the successful implementation of policy. To facilitate this, voters must comprehend the implications of each policy approach, evaluate its costs and benefits, and consider historical precedents for policy effectiveness. Some proponents of e-democracy argue that technology can enable citizens to perform these tasks as effectively, if not more so, than traditional political parties within representative democracies. By harnessing technological advancements, e-democracy has the potential to foster more informed decision-making and enhance citizen involvement in the democratic process.

History[edit]

E-democracy traces back to the development of information and communication technology (ICT) and the evolution of democratic structures. It encompasses initiatives from governments to interact with citizens through digital means and grassroots activities using electronic platforms to influence governmental practices.

Early developments[edit]

The inception of e-democracy corresponds with the rise of the Internet in the late 20th century. The diffusion of personal computers and the Internet during the 1990s led to the initiation of electronic government initiatives. Digital platforms, such as forums, chat rooms, and email lists, were pivotal in fostering public discourse, thereby encouraging informal civic engagement online. These platforms provided an accessible medium for individuals to discuss ideas and issues, and they were utilized by both governments and citizens to promote dialogue, advocate for change, and involve the public in decision-making processes.

Concept and approach[edit]

The structure of the Internet, which currently embodies characteristics such as decentralization, open standards, and universal access, has been observed to align with principles often associated with democracy. These democratic principles have their roots in federalism and Enlightenment values like openness and individual liberty.[8]

Steven Clift, a notable proponent of e-democracy, suggests that the Internet should be utilized to enhance democratic processes and provide increased opportunities for interaction between individuals, communities, and the government. He emphasizes the importance of structuring citizen-to-citizen discussions online within existing power structures and maintaining significant reach within the community for these discussions to hold agenda-setting potential.[8]

The concept involves endorsing individuals or policies committed to leveraging internet technologies to amplify public engagement without modifying or substituting existing constitutions. The approach includes data collection, analysis of advantages and disadvantages, evaluation of interests, and facilitating discussions around potential outcomes.[9]

Late 20th century to early 21st century[edit]

In the late 20th century and early into the 21st century, e-democracy started to become more structured as governments worldwide started to explore its potential. One major development was the rise of e-government initiatives, which aimed to provide public services online.

One of the first instances of such an initiative was the establishment of the Government Information Locator Service (GILS) by the United States government in 1994.[10] GILS was a searchable database of government information accessible to citizens and businesses, and it served as a tool to improve agency electronic records management practices.

Along with the rise of e-government services, government websites started to spring up, aiming to improve communication with citizens, increase transparency, and make administrative tasks easier to accomplish online.

The mid-2000s ushered in the era of Web 2.0, emphasizing user-generated content, interoperability, and collaboration. This period witnessed the rise of social media platforms, blogs, and other collaborative tools, further amplifying the potential for e-democracy through increasing opportunities for public participation and interaction. Concepts like crowdsourcing and open-source governance gained traction, advocating for broader and more direct public involvement in policymaking.[11]

As the digital age progressed, so too did the interaction between governments and citizens. The advent and rapid adoption of the internet globally catalyzed this transformation. With high internet penetration in many regions, politics have increasingly relied on the internet as a primary source of information for numerous people. This digital shift has been supported by the rise in online advertising among political candidates and groups actively trying to sway public opinion or directly influence legislators.[12]

This trend is especially noticeable among younger voters, who often regard the internet as their primary source of information due to its convenience and ability to streamline their information-gathering process. The user-friendly nature of search engines like Google and social networks encourages increased citizen engagement in political research and discourse. Social networks, for instance, offer platforms where individuals can voice their opinions on governmental issues without fear of judgement.[13] The vast scale and decentralized structure of the internet enable anyone to create viral content and influence a wide audience.

The Internet facilitates citizens in accessing and disseminating information about politicians while simultaneously providing politicians with insights from a broader citizen base. This collaborative approach to decision-making and problem-solving empowers citizens. It accelerates decision-making processes by politicians, thereby fostering a more efficient society. Gathering citizen feedback and perspectives is essential to a politician's role. The Internet functions as a conduit for effective engagement with a larger audience. Consequently, this enhanced communication with the public strengthens the capability and effectiveness of the American government as a democracy.[14]

The 2016 U.S. presidential election is an example of social media integration in political campaigns, where both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton actively utilized Twitter as a communication tool. These platforms allow candidates to shape public perceptions while also humanizing their personas, suggesting that political figures are as approachable and relatable as ordinary individuals. Through resources such as Google, the Internet enables every citizen to readily research political topics. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram encourage political engagement, allowing users to share their political views and connect with like-minded individuals.[citation needed]

Generation X's disillusionment with political processes, epitomized by large-scale public protests such as the U.K. miners' strike of 1984-1985 that appeared to fail, predated the widespread availability of information technology to individual citizens.[15] There is a perception that e-democracy could address some of these concerns by offering a counter to the insularity, power concentration, and post-election accountability deficit often associated with traditional democratic processes organized primarily around political parties.[citation needed] Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the U.K. Labour Party, once stated:

It feels like the Labour frontbench is further away from our members than at any point in our history, and the digital revolution can help bring the party closer together … I'm going to ask our NEC to see whether we can have digital branches and digital delegates to the conference. Not replacing what we do but providing an alternative platform. It's a way of organizing for a different generation of people who do their politics differently, get their news differently.

— Tom Watson[16]

Despite the benefits of the digital shift, one of the challenges of e-democracy is the potential disconnect between politics and actual government implementation. While the internet provides a platform for robust political discourse, translating these discussions into effective government action can be complex. This gap can often be exacerbated by the rapid pace of digital dialogue, which may outpace the slower, more deliberative processes of policy-making. The rise of digital media has created new opportunities for citizens to participate in politics and to hold governments accountable. However, it has also created new challenges, such as the potential for echo chambers, and the need for governments to be responsive to citizen concerns.[17] The challenge for e-democracy, therefore, is to ensure that the digital discourse contributes constructively to the functioning of the government and the decision-making processes, rather than becoming an echo chamber of opinions with little practical impact.

As of the 2020s, e-democracy's landscape continues to evolve alongside advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and big data. These technologies promise to expand citizen participation further, enhance transparency, and boost the overall efficiency and responsiveness of democratic governance.[18]

The history of e-democracy exhibits significant progress, but it is also characterized by ongoing debates and challenges, such as the digital divide, data privacy, cybersecurity, and the impact of misinformation. As this journey continues, the emphasis remains on leveraging technology to enhance democratic processes and ensure all citizens' voices are heard and valued.[19]

E-democracy promotes wider access to information, and its inherent decentralization challenges censorship practices. It embodies elements of the internet's origins, including strong libertarian support for freedom of speech, widespread sharing culture, and the National Science Foundation's commercial use prohibition. The internet's capacity for mass communication, evident in newsgroups, chat rooms, and MUDs, surpasses traditional boundaries associated with broadcast media like newspapers or radio, as well as personal media such as letters or landline telephones. As the Internet represents a vast digital network supporting open standards, achieving widespread, cost-effective access to a diverse range of communication media and models is feasible.[20]

Practical issues pertaining to e-democracy include managing the agenda while encouraging meaningful participation and fostering enlightened understanding. Furthermore, efforts are evaluated based on their ability to ensure voting equality and promote inclusivity. The success or failure of e-democracy largely depends on its capability to accurately delineate each issue's relevant costs and benefits, identify their likelihood and significance, and align votes with this analysis. In addition, all internet forums, including Wikipedia, must address cybersecurity and protect sensitive data.[21]

Digital mobilization in social movements[edit]

Occupy movement[edit]

The Occupy movement, which proposed various demonstrations in response to the financial crisis of 2007–08, extensively utilized social networks.[22]

15-M Movement[edit]

Originating in Spain and subsequently spreading to other European countries, the 15-M Movement gave rise to proposals by the Partido X (X Party) in Spain.[23][24]

Arab Spring[edit]

During the Arab Spring, uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East were spearheaded by online activists. Initially, pro-democracy movements harnessed digital media to challenge authoritarian regimes. These regimes, however, adapted and integrated social media into their counter-insurgency strategies over time. Digital media served as a critical tool in transforming localized and individual dissent into structured movements with a shared awareness of common grievances and opportunities for collective action.[25]

Egyptian Revolution[edit]

The Egyptian Revolution began on 25 January 2011, prompted by mass protests in Cairo, Egypt, against the long reign of President Hosni Mubarak, high unemployment, governmental corruption, poverty, and societal oppression. The 18-day revolution gained momentum not through initial acts of violence or protests, but via a single Facebook page, which quickly attracted the attention of thousands and eventually millions of Egyptians, evolving into a global phenomenon.[26]

The Internet became a tool of empowerment for the protestors, facilitating participation in their government's democratization process. Protestors effectively utilized digital platforms to communicate, organize, and collaborate, generating real-time impact.[27]

In response to the regime's failed attempt to disrupt political online discussions by severing all internet access, Google and Twitter collaborated to create a system that allowed information to reach the public without internet access.[28]

The interactive nature of media during this revolution enhanced civic participation and played a significant role in shaping the political outcome of the revolution and the democratization of the entire nation.

The Egyptian Revolution has been interpreted by some as a paradigm shift from a group-controlled system to one characterized by "networked individualism". This transformation is tied to the post-"triple revolution" of technology, consisting of three key developments. First, the shift towards social networks, second, the widespread propagation of the instantaneous internet, and third, the ubiquity of mobile phones.[29]

These elements significantly impacted change through the Internet, providing an alternative, unregulated sphere for idea formation and protests. For instance, the "6 April Youth Movement" in Egypt established their political group on Facebook and called for a national strike. Despite the subsequent suppression of this event, the Facebook group persisted, encouraging other activist groups to utilize online media.

Moreover, the Internet served as a medium for building international connections, amplifying the impact of the revolt. The rapid transmission of information via Twitter hashtags, for example, made the uprising globally known. In particular, over three million tweets contained popular hashtags such as #Egypt and #sidibouzid, further facilitating the spread of knowledge and fostering change in Egypt.[29]

Kony 2012[edit]

The Kony 2012 video, released on 5 March 2012 by the non-profit organization Invisible Children, launched an online grassroots campaign aimed at locating and arresting Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. The video's mission was to raise global awareness about Kony's activities, with Jason Russell, a founder of Invisible Children, emphasizing the necessity of public support to urge the government's continued search for Kony.[30] The organization leveraged the extensive reach of social media and contemporary technology to spotlight Kony's crimes.

In response to the campaign, on 21 March 2012, a resolution was introduced by 33 Senators denouncing "the crimes against humanity" perpetrated by Kony and the LRA. This resolution supported the US government's ongoing efforts to boost the capabilities of regional military forces for civilian protection and the pursuit of LRA commanders. It also advocated for cross-border initiatives to augment civilian protection and aid populations affected by the LRA. Co-sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham noted the significant impact of public attention driven by social media, stating that the YouTube sensation would "help the Congress be more aggressive and will do more to lead to his demise than all other action combined".[31]

India Against Corruption (2011–2012)[edit]

The India Against Corruption (IAC) movement was an influential anti-corruption crusade in India, garnering substantial attention during the anti-corruption protests of 2011 and 2012. Its primary focus was the contention surrounding the proposed Jan Lokpal bill. IAC sought to galvanize the populace in their pursuit of a less corrupt Indian society. However, internal divisions within the IAC's central committee led to the movement's split. Arvind Kejriwal left to establish the Aam Aadmi Party, while Anna Hazare created the Jantantra Morcha.

Long March (Pakistan)[edit]

Long March is a socio-political movement in Pakistan initiated by Qadri after returning from a seven-year residence in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in December 2012. Qadri called for a "million-men" march in Islamabad to protest government corruption.[32] The march commenced on 14 January 2013, with thousands pledging to participate in a sit-in until their demands were met.[33] The march began in Lahore with about 25,000 participants.[34] During a rally in front of the parliament, Qadri critiqued the legislators saying, "There is no Parliament; there is a group of looters, thieves and dacoits [bandits] ... Our lawmakers are the lawbreakers.".[35] After four days of sit-in, Qadri and the government reached an agreement—termed the Islamabad Long March Declaration—which pledged electoral reforms and enhanced political transparency.[36] Despite Qadri's call for a "million-men" march, the government estimated the sit-in participants in Islamabad to number around 50,000.

Five Star Movement (Italy)[edit]

The Five Star Movement (M5S), a prominent political party in Italy, has been utilizing online voting since 2012 to select its candidates for Italian and European elections. These votes are conducted through a web-based application called Rousseau, accessible to registered members of Beppe Grillo's blog.[37]

Within this platform, M5S users are able to discuss, approve, or reject legislative proposals. These proposals are then presented in Parliament by the M5S group.[38] For instance, the M5S's electoral law and the selection of its presidential candidate were determined via online voting.[39][40] Notably, the decision to abolish a law against immigrants was made by online voting among M5S members, in opposition to the views of Grillo and Casaleggio.[41]

M5S's alliance with the UK Independence Party was also determined by online voting, albeit with limited options for the choice of European Parliament group for M5S. These were Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and "Stay independent" (Non-Inscrits). The possibility of joining the Greens/EFA group was discussed but not available at the time due to the group's prior rejection of M5S.[42][43]

When the Conte I Cabinet collapsed, a new coalition between the Democratic Party and M5S was endorsed after over 100,000 members voted online, with 79.3% supporting the new coalition.[44]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance and impact of e-democracy.[citation needed] In 2020,[45] the advent of COVID-19 led countries worldwide to implement safety measures as recommended by public health officials. This abrupt societal shift constrained social movements, causing a temporary halt to certain political issues. Despite these limitations, individuals leveraged digital platforms to express their views, create visibility for social movements, and strive to instigate change and raise awareness through democracy in social media. As reported by news analysis firm The ASEAN Post, the pandemic-induced limitations on traditional democratic spaces such as public meetings have led Filipinos, among others, to resort to social media, digital media, and collaborative platforms for engaging in public affairs and practising "active citizenship" in the virtual domain.[45] This shift has enabled active participation in social, written, or visual interaction and the rectification of misinformation in a virtual setting.[citation needed]

Opportunities and challenges[edit]

Potential impacts[edit]

E-democracy has the potential to inspire greater community involvement in political processes and policy decisions, interlacing its growth with complex internal aspects such as political norms and public pressure.[12] The manner in which it is implemented is also closely connected to the specific model of democracy employed.[46] Consequently, e-democracy is profoundly influenced by a country's internal dynamics as well as the external drivers defined by standard innovation and diffusion theory.[12]

In the current age, where the internet and social networking dominate daily life, individuals are increasingly advocating for their public representatives to adopt practices similar to those in other states or countries concerning the online dissemination of government information. By making government data easily accessible and providing straightforward channels to communicate with government officials, e-democracy addresses the needs of modern society.

E-democracy promotes more rapid and efficient dissemination of political information, encourages public debate, and boosts participation in decision-making processes.[47] Social media platforms have emerged as tools of empowerment, particularly among younger individuals, stimulating their participation in electoral processes. These platforms also afford politicians opportunities for direct engagement with constituents. A notable example is the 2016 United States presidential elections, in which Donald Trump primarily used Twitter to communicate policy initiatives and goals. Similar practices have been observed among various global leaders, such as Justin Trudeau, Jair Bolsonaro, and Hassan Rouhani, who maintain active Twitter accounts. Some observers[who?] argue that the government's online publication of public information enhances its transparency, enabling more extensive public scrutiny, and consequently promoting a more equitable distribution of power within society.[48]

Jane Fountain, in her 2001 work Building the Virtual State, delves into the expansive reach of e-democracy and its interaction with traditional governmental structures. She offers a comprehensive model to understand how pre-existing norms, procedures, and rules within bureaucracies impact the adoption of new technological forms. Fountain suggests that this form of e-government, in its most radical manifestation, would necessitate a significant overhaul of the modern administrative state, with routine electronic consultations involving elected politicians, civil servants, pressure groups, and other stakeholders becoming standard practice at all stages of policy formulation.

States where legislatures are controlled by the Republican Party, as well as those characterized by a high degree of legislative professionalization and active professional networks, have shown a greater propensity to embrace e-government and e-democracy.[49]

E-democracy provides numerous benefits, contributing to a more engaged public sphere. It encourages increased public participation by offering platforms for citizens to express their opinions through websites, emails, and other electronic communication channels, influencing planning and decision-making processes.[7]

This digital democracy model broadens the number and diversity of individuals who exercise their democratic rights by conveying their thoughts to decision-making bodies about various proposals and issues. Moreover, it cultivates a virtual public space, fostering interaction, discussion, and the exchange of ideas among citizens.

E-democracy also promotes convenience, allowing citizens to participate at their own pace and comfort. Its digital nature enables it to reach vast audiences with relative ease and minimal cost.

The system promotes interactive communication, encouraging dialogue between authorities and citizens. It also serves as an effective platform for disseminating large amounts of information, maintaining clarity and minimizing distortion.

Challenges[edit]

While e-democracy platforms, also known as digital democracy platforms, offer enhanced opportunities for exercising voting rights, they are also susceptible to disruption. Digital voting platforms, for example, have faced attacks aimed at influencing election outcomes. As Dobrygowski states, "cybersecurity threats to the integrity of both electoral mechanisms and government institutions are, quite uncomfortably, more intangible."[50] While traditional paper ballots are often considered the most secure method for conducting elections, digital voting provides the convenience of electronic participation. However, the successful implementation of this system necessitates continual innovations and contributions from third parties.

Ensuring digital inclusion[edit]

To foster a robust digital democracy, it's imperative to promote digital inclusion that ensures all citizens, regardless of income, education, gender, religion, ethnicity, language, physical and mental health, have equal opportunities to participate in public policy formulation. During the 2020 elections, digital communications were utilized by various communities to cultivate a sense of inclusivity.[51]

Specifically, the COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in online political participation among the youth, demonstrated by the signing of online petitions and participation in digital protests. Even as youth participation in traditional politics dwindles, young people show significant support for pressure groups mobilized through social media.[52]

For instance, the Black Lives Matter movement gained widespread recognition on social media, enabling many young people to participate in meaningful ways, including online interactions and protests.[53]

Requirements[edit]

E-Democracy is facilitated by its significance in fostering participation, promoting social inclusivity, displaying sensitivity to individual perspectives, and offering flexible means of engagement. The Internet endows a sense of relevance to participation by giving everyone a platform for their voices to be heard and articulated. It also facilitates a structure of social inclusivity through a broad array of websites, groups, and social networks, each representing diverse viewpoints and ideas. Individual needs are met by enabling the public and rapid expression of personal opinions. Furthermore, the Internet offers an exceptionally flexible environment for engagement; it is cost-effective and widely accessible. Through these attributes, e-democracy and the deployment of the Internet can play a pivotal role in societal change.[54]

Internet accessibility[edit]

The progression of e-democracy is impeded by the digital divide, which separates those actively engaged in electronic communities from those who do not participate. Proponents of e-democracy often recommend governmental actions to bridge this digital gap.[55] The divergence in e-governance and e-democracy between the developed and the developing world is largely due to the digital divide.[56] Practical concerns include the digital divide that separates those with access from those without, and the opportunity cost associated with investments in e-democracy innovations. There also exists a degree of skepticism regarding the potential impact of online participation.[57]

Security and privacy[edit]

The government has a responsibility to ensure that online communications are both secure and respectful of individuals' privacy. This aspect gains prominence when considering electronic voting. The complexity of electronic voting systems surpasses other digital transaction mechanisms, necessitating authentication measures that can counter ballot manipulation or its potential threat. These measures may encompass the use of smart cards, which authenticate a voter's identity while maintaining the confidentiality of the cast vote. Electronic voting in Estonia exemplifies a successful approach to addressing the privacy-identity dilemma inherent in internet voting systems. However, the ultimate goal should be to match the security and privacy standards of existing manual systems.

Despite these advancements, recent research has indicated, through a SWOT analysis, that the risks of an e-government are related to data loss, privacy and security, and user adoption.[58]

Government responsiveness[edit]

To encourage citizens to engage in online consultations and discussions, the government needs to be responsive and clearly demonstrate that public engagement influences policy outcomes. It's crucial for citizens to have the opportunity to contribute at a time and place that suits them and when their viewpoints will make a difference. The government should put structures in place to accommodate increased participation.

Considering the role that intermediaries and representative organizations might play could be beneficial to ensure issues are debated in a manner that is democratic, inclusive, tolerant, and productive. To amplify the efficacy of existing legal rights allowing public access to information held by public authorities, citizens ought to be granted the right to productive public deliberation and moderation.[59]

Some researchers argue that many initiatives have been driven by technology rather than by the core values of government, which has resulted in weakened democracy.

Participation and engagement[edit]

Interaction modes[edit]

3D e-democracy roadmap: transcending the trade-offs[60]

E-democracy presents an opportunity to reconcile the conventional trade-off between the size of the group involved in democratic processes and the depth of will expression (refer to the Figure). Historically, broad group participation was facilitated via simple ballot voting, but the depth of will expression was confined to predefined options (those on the ballot). Depth of will expression was obtained by limiting participant numbers through representative democracy (refer to the Table). The social media Web 2.0 revolution has demonstrated the possibility of achieving both large group sizes and depth of will expression. However, expressions of will in social media are unstructured, making their interpretation challenging and often subjective (see Table). Novel information processing methods, including big data analytics and the semantic web, suggest potential ways to exploit these capabilities for future e-democracy implementations.[60] Currently, e-democracy processes are facilitated by technologies such as electronic mailing lists, peer-to-peer networks, collaborative software, and apps like GovernEye, Countable, VoteSpotter, wikis, internet forums, and blogs.

Forms of democracy trade-off table[60]

The examination of e-democracy encompasses its various stages including "information provision, deliberation, and participation in decision-making."[61] This assessment also takes into account the different hierarchical levels of governance such as local communities, states/regions, nations, and the global stage.[62] Further, the scope of involvement is also considered, which includes the participation of citizens/voters, the media, elected officials, political organizations, and governments.[63] Therefore, e-democracy's evolution is influenced by such broad changes as increased interdependency, technological multimediation, partnership governance, and individualism.[64]

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Blogspot, are increasingly significant in democratic dialogues.[65][66] The role of social media in e-democracy is an emerging field of study, along with technological developments such as argument maps and the semantic web.[60]

Another notable development is the combination of open social networking communication with structured communication from closed expert and/or policy-maker panels, such as through the modified Delphi method (HyperDelphi).[67][68]

This approach seeks to balance distributed knowledge and self-organized memories with critical control, responsibility, and decision-making in electronic democracy. Social networking serves as an entry point within the citizens' environment, engaging them on their terms. Proponents of e-government believe this helps the government act more in tune with its public. Examples of state usage include The Official Commonwealth of Virginia Homepage,[69] where citizens can find Google tools and open social forums, considered significant steps towards the maturity of e-democracy.[60]

Community involvement[edit]

Civic engagement encompasses three key aspects: understanding public affairs (political knowledge), trust in the political system (political trust), and involvement in governmental decision-making processes (political participation).[70] The internet enhances civic engagement by creating a new medium for interaction with government institutions.[71]

Advocates of e-democracy propose that it can facilitate more active government engagement[72] and inspire citizens to actively influence decisions that directly affect them.[73]

Numerous studies indicate an increased use of the internet for obtaining political information. From 1996 to 2002, the percentage of adults claiming that the internet played a significant role in their political choices rose from around 14 to 20 percent.[74] In 2002, almost a quarter of the population stated that they had visited a website to research specific public policy issues.

Research has indicated that people are more likely to visit websites that challenge their viewpoints rather than those that align with their own beliefs.[citation needed] Around 16 percent of the population has participated in online political activities such as joining campaigns, volunteering time, donating money, or participating in polls.

A survey conducted by Philip N. Howard revealed that nearly two-thirds of the adult population in the United States has interacted with online political news, information, or other content over the past four election cycles.[74] People tend to reference the websites of special interest groups more frequently than those of specific elected leaders, political candidates, political parties, nonpartisan groups, and local community groups.

The vast informational capacity of the Internet empowers citizens to gain a deeper understanding of governmental and political affairs, while its interactive nature fosters new forms of communication with elected officials and public servants. By providing access to contact information, legislation, agendas, and policies, governments can enhance transparency, thereby potentially facilitating more informed participation both online and offline.[75]

As articulated by Matt Leighninger, the internet bolsters government by enhancing individual empowerment and reinforcing group agency.[76] The internet avails vital information to citizens, empowering them to influence public policy more effectively. The utilization of online tools for organizing allows citizens to participate more easily in the government's policy-making process, leading to a surge in public engagement. Social media platforms foster networks of individuals whose online activities can shape the political process, including prompting politicians to intensify public appeal efforts in their campaigns.

E-democracy offers a digital platform for public dialogue, enhancing the interaction between government and its residents. This form of online engagement enables the government to concentrate on key issues the community wishes to address. The underpinning philosophy is that every citizen should have the potential to influence their local governance. E-democracy aligns with local communities and provides an opportunity for any willing citizen to make a contribution. The essence of an effective e-democracy lies not just in citizen contribution to government activities, but in promoting mutual communication and collaboration among citizens for the improvement of their own communities.[77]: 397 

E-democracy utilizes information and communication technologies (ICT) to bolster the democratic processes of decision-making. These technologies play a pivotal role in informing and organizing citizens in different avenues of civic participation. Moreover, ICTs enhance the active engagement of citizens, and foster collaboration among stakeholders for policy formation within political processes across all stages of governance.[78][79]

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identifies three key aspects regarding the role of ICTs in fostering civic engagement. The first aspect is timing, with most civic engagement activities occurring during the agenda-setting phase of a cycle. The second factor is adaptation, which refers to how ICTs evolve to facilitate increased civic participation. The final aspect is integration, representing how emerging ICTs blend new and traditional methods to maximize civic engagement.[80]

ICT fosters the possibility of a government that is both more democratic and better informed by facilitating open online collaborations between professionals and the public. The responsibility of collecting information and making decisions is shared between those possessing technological expertise and the traditionally recognized decision-makers. This broadened public involvement in the exchange of ideas and policies results in more democratic decision-making. Furthermore, ICT enhances the notion of pluralism within a democracy, introducing fresh issues and viewpoints.[81]

Ordinary citizens have the opportunity to become creators of political content and commentary, for instance, by establishing individual blogs and websites. Collaborative efforts in the online political sphere, similar to ABC News' Campaign Watchdog initiative, allow citizens to report any rule violations committed by any political party during elections.[82]

In the 2000 United States presidential race, candidates frequently utilized their websites to not only encourage their supporters to vote but to motivate their friends to vote as well. This dual-process approach—urging an individual to vote and then to prompt their friends to vote—was just beginning to emerge during that time. Today, political participation through various social media platforms is typical, and civic involvement via online forums is common. Through the use of ICTs, individuals interested in politics have the ability to become more engaged.[82]

Youth involvement[edit]

In previous years, individuals belonging to Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z, typically encompassing those aged 35 and below as of the mid-2000s, have been noted for their relative disengagement from political activities.[83] The implementation of electronic democracy has been proposed as a potential solution to foster increased voter turnout, democratic participation, and political literacy among these younger demographics.[84][85]

E-citizenship[edit]

Youth e-citizenship presents a dichotomy between two predominant approaches: management and autonomy. The strategy of "targeting" younger individuals, prompting them to "play their part," can be interpreted as either an incentive for youth activism or a mechanism to regulate it.[86]

Autonomous e-citizens argue that despite their relative inexperience, young people should have the right to voice their perspectives on issues that they personally consider important. Conversely, proponents of managed e-citizenship view youth as nascent citizens transitioning from childhood to adulthood, and hence not yet fully equipped to engage in political discourse without proper guidance. Another significant concern is the role of the Internet, with advocates of managed e-citizenship arguing that young people may be especially susceptible to misinformation or manipulation online.

This discord manifests as two perspectives on democracy: one that sees democracy as an established and reasonably just system, where young people should be motivated to participate, and another that views democracy as a political and cultural goal best achieved through networks where young people interact. What might initially appear as mere differences in communication styles ultimately reveals divergent strategies for accessing and influencing power.[86]

In Scotland[edit]

The Highland Youth Voice, an initiative in Scotland, is an exemplar of efforts to bolster democratic participation, particularly through digital means.[87] Despite an increasing emphasis on the youth demographic in UK governmental policy and issues, their engagement and interest have been waning.

During the 2001 elections to the Westminster Parliament in the UK, voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds was estimated to be a mere 40%. This contrasts starkly with the fact that over 80% of 16- to 24-year-olds have accessed the internet at some point.[88]

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes the importance of educating young individuals as citizens of their respective nations. It advocates for the promotion of active political participation, which they can shape through robust debate and communication.

The Highland Youth Voice strives to boost youth participation by understanding their governmental needs, perspectives, experiences, and aspirations. It provides young Scots, aged 14 to 18, an opportunity to influence decision-makers in the Highlands.[89]

This body, consisting of approximately 100 elected members, represents youth voices. Elections occur biennially and candidates are chosen directly from schools and youth forums. The Highland Youth Voice website serves as a pivotal platform where members can discuss issues pertinent to them, partake in online policy debates, and experience a model of e-democracy through simplified online voting. Thus, the website encompasses three key features, forming an online forum that enables youth self-education, participation in policy discourse, and engagement in the e-democracy process.

Civil society's role[edit]

Civil society organizations have a pivotal role in democracies, as highlighted by theorists such as Alexis de Tocqueville, acting as platforms for citizens to gain knowledge about public affairs and as sources of power beyond the state's reach. According to Hans Klein, a public policy researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, there exist several obstacles to participation in these forums, including logistical challenges of physical meetings.[90] Klein's study of a civic association in the northeastern US revealed that electronic communication significantly boosted the organization's capacity to achieve its objectives. Given the relatively low cost of exchanging information over the Internet and its potential for wide reach, the medium has become an attractive venue for disseminating political information, especially among interest groups and parties operating on smaller budgets.'"

For example, environmental or social interest groups might leverage the Internet as a cost-effective mechanism to raise awareness around their causes. Unlike traditional media outlets, like television or newspapers, which often necessitate substantial financial investments, the Internet provides an affordable and extensive platform for information dissemination. As such, the Internet could potentially supplant certain traditional modes of political communication, such as telephone, television, newspapers, and radio. Consequently, civil society has been increasingly integrating into the online realm.[91]

Civic society encompasses various types of associations. The term interest group is typically used to refer to formal organizations focused on specific social groups, economic sectors like trade unions, business and professional associations, or specific issues such as abortion, gun control, or the environment.[92] Many of these traditional interest groups have well-established organizational structures and formal membership rules, primarily oriented towards influencing government and policy-making processes. Transnational advocacy networks assemble loose coalitions of these organizations under common umbrella organizations that cross national borders.

Innovative tools are increasingly being developed to empower bloggers, webmasters, and social media owners. These aim to transition from the Internet's strictly informational use to its application as a medium for social organization, independent of top-down initiatives. For instance, the concept of Calls to action is a novel approach that enables webmasters to inspire their audience into action without the need for explicit leadership. This trend is global, with countries like India cultivating an active blogosphere that encourages internet users to express their perspectives and opinions.[93]

The Internet serves multifaceted roles for these organizations. It functions as a platform for lobbying elected officials, public representatives, and policy elites; networking with affiliated associations and groups; mobilizing organizers, activists, and members through action alerts, newsletters, and emails; raising funds and recruiting support; and conveying their messages to the public via traditional news media channels.

Deliberative democracy[edit]

The Internet holds a pivotal role in deliberative democracy, a model that underscores dialogue, open discussion, and access to diverse perspectives in decision-making.[94] It provides an interactive platform and functions as a vital instrument for research within the deliberative process. The Internet facilitates the exchange of ideas through a myriad of platforms such as websites, blogs, and social networking sites like Twitter, all of which champion freedom of expression.[citation needed] It allows for easily accessible and cost-effective information, paving the way for change. One of the intrinsic attributes of the Internet is its unregulated nature, offering a platform for all viewpoints, regardless of their accuracy. The autonomy granted by the Internet can foster and advocate change, a critical factor in e-democracy.

A notable development in the application of e-democracy in the deliberative process is the California Report Card. This tool was created by the Data and Democracy Initiative of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.[95] Launched in January 2014, the California Report Card is a web application optimized for mobile use, aimed at facilitating online deliberative democracy. The application features a brief opinion poll on six pertinent issues, after which participants are invited to join an online "café". In this space, they are grouped with users sharing similar views through Principal Component Analysis, and are encouraged to participate in the deliberative process by suggesting new political issues and rating the suggestions of other participants. The design of the California Report Card is intended to minimize the influence of private agendas on the discussion.

Openforum.com.au also exemplifies eDemocracy. This non-profit Australian project facilitates high-level policy discussions, drawing participants such as politicians, senior public servants, academics, business professionals, and other influential stakeholders.

The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN Act), presented as an alternative to SOPA and PIPA, garners the support of major companies like Google and Facebook. Its website, Keep The Web Open,[96] not only provides full access to the bill but also incorporates public input—over 150 modifications have been made through user contributions.[97][98]

The peer-to-patent project allows public participation in the patent review process by providing research and 'prior art' publications for patent examiners to assess the novelty of an invention. In this process, the community nominates ten pieces of prior art to be reviewed by the patent examiner. This not only enables direct communication between the public and the patent examiner but also creates a structured environment that prompts participants to provide relevant information to aid in decision-making. By allowing experts and the general public to collaborate in finding solutions, the project aims to enhance the efficacy of the decision-making process. It offers a platform for citizens to participate and express their ideas beyond merely checking boxes that limit their opinions to predefined options.[99]

Voting and polling[edit]

One significant challenge in implementing e-democracy is ensuring the security of internet-voting systems. The potential interference from viruses and malware, which could alter or inhibit citizens' votes on critical issues, hinders the widespread adoption of e-democracy as long as such cybersecurity threats persist.[citation needed]

E-voting presents several practical challenges that can affect its legitimacy in elections. For instance, electronic voting machines can be vulnerable to physical interference, as they are often left unattended prior to elections, making them susceptible to tampering. This issue led to a decision by the Netherlands in 2017 to count election votes manually.[100] Furthermore, 'Direct Recording Electronic' (DRE) systems, used in numerous US states, are quickly becoming outdated and prone to faults. A study by USENIX discovered that certain DREs in New Jersey inaccurately counted votes, potentially casting votes for unintended candidates without voters' knowledge. The study found these inconsistencies to be widespread with that specific machine.[101] Despite the potential of electronic voting to increase voter turnout, the absence of a paper trail in DREs can lead to untraceable errors, which could undermine its application in digital democracy.

Diminished participation in democracy may stem from the proliferation of polls and surveys, potentially leading to a condition known as survey fatigue.[102]

Government openness and accessibility[edit]

Through Listserv's, RSS feeds, mobile messaging, micro-blogging services and blogs, government and its agencies can disseminate information to citizens who share common interests and concerns. For instance, many government representatives, including Rhode Island State Treasurer Frank T. Caprio, have begun to utilize Twitter as an easy medium for communication.

Several non-governmental websites, like transparent.gov.com,[103] and USA.gov,[104] have developed cross-jurisdiction, customer-focused applications that extract information from thousands of governmental organizations into a unified system, making it easier for citizens to access information.

E-democracy has led to a simplified process and access to government information for public-sector agencies and citizens. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records for admission in county court proceedings. Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically using Electronic Postmark technology.[105]

The internet has increased government accessibility to news, policies, and contacts in the 21st century. In 2000, only two percent of government sites offered three or more services online; in 2007, that figure was 58 percent. Also, in 2007, 89 percent of government sites allowed the public to email a public official directly rather than merely emailing the webmaster (West, 2007)"(Issuu).

Controversies and concern[edit]

Opposition[edit]

Information and communications technologies can be utilized for both democratic and anti-democratic purposes. For instance, digital technology can be used to promote both coercive control and active participation.[46] The vision of anti-democratic use of technology is exemplified in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Critiques associated with direct democracy are also considered applicable to e-democracy. This includes the potential for direct governance to cause the polarization of opinions, populism, and demagoguery.[46]

Cybersecurity[edit]

The current inability to protect internet traffic from interference and manipulation has significantly limited the potential of e-democracy for decision-making. As a result, most experts express opposition to the use of the internet for widespread voting.[106][107][108][109][110]

Internet censorship[edit]

In countries with severe government censorship, the full potential of e-democracy might not be realized. Internet clampdowns often occur during extensive political protests. For instance, the series of internet blackouts in the Middle East in 2011, termed as the "Arab Net Crackdown", provides a significant example. Governments in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Iran, and Yemen have all implemented total internet censorship in response to the numerous pro-democracy demonstrations within their respective nations.[111] These lockdowns were primarily instituted to prevent the dissemination of cell phone videos that featured images of government violence against protesters.[112]

Social media manipulation[edit]

Joshua A. Tucker and his colleagues critique e-democracy, pointing out that the adaptability and openness of social media may allow political entities to manipulate it for their own ends.[113] They suggest that authorities could use social media to spread authoritarian practices in several ways. Firstly, by intimidating opponents, monitoring private conversations, and even jailing those who voice undesirable opinions. Secondly, by flooding online spaces with pro-regime messages, thereby diverting and occupying these platforms. Thirdly, by disrupting signal access to hinder the flow of information. Lastly, by banning globalized platforms and websites.[113]

Populism concerns[edit]

A study that interviewed elected officials in Austria's parliament revealed a broad and strong opposition to e-democracy. These officials held the view that citizens, generally uninformed, should limit their political engagement to voting. The task of sharing opinions and ideas, they contended, belonged solely to elected representatives.[114][12]

Contrary to this view, theories of epistemic democracy suggest that greater public engagement contributes to the aggregation of knowledge and intelligence. This active participation, proponents argue, enables democracies to better discern the truth.

Stop Online Piracy Act[edit]

The introduction of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), in the United States House of Representatives, was perceived by many internet users as an attack on internet democracy.[115][116] A contributor to the Huffington Post argued that defeating SOPA was crucial for the preservation of democracy and freedom of speech.[115]

Significantly, SOPA was indefinitely postponed following widespread protests, which included a site blackout by popular websites like Wikipedia on 18 January 2012.[117]

A comparable event occurred in India towards the end of 2011, when the country's Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal suggested pre-screening content for offensive material before its publication on the internet, with no clear mechanism for appeal.[65] Subsequent reports, however, quote Sibal as stating that there would be no restrictions on internet use.[118]

Suitable government models[edit]

Representative democracy[edit]

A radical shift from a representative government to an internet-mediated direct democracy is not considered likely.[citation needed] Nonetheless, proponents suggest that a "hybrid model" which leverages the internet for enhanced governmental transparency and greater community involvement in decision-making could be forthcoming.[119] The selection of committees, local town and city decisions, and other people-centric decisions could be more readily facilitated through this approach. This doesn't indicate a shift in the principles of democracy but rather an adaptation in the tools utilized to uphold them. E-democracy would not serve as a means to enact direct democracy, but rather as a tool to enable a more participatory form of democracy as it exists currently.[120]

Electronic direct democracy[edit]

Supporters of e-democracy often foresee a transition from a representative democracy to a direct democracy, facilitated by technology, viewing this transition as an ultimate goal of e-democracy.[121] In an electronic direct democracy (EDD) – also referred to as open source governance or collaborative e-democracy – citizens are directly involved in the legislative function through electronic means. They vote electronically on legislation, propose new legislation, and recall representatives, if any are retained.

Technology supporting electronic direct democracy[edit]

Technology to support electronic direct democracy (EDD) has been researched and developed at the Florida Institute of Technology, where it has been applied within student organizations.[122] Many other software development projects are currently underway,[123] along with numerous supportive and related projects.[124] Several of these projects are now collaborating on a cross-platform architecture within the framework of the Meta-government project.[125]

EDD as a system is not fully implemented in a political government anywhere in the world, although several initiatives are currently forming. Ross Perot was a prominent advocate of EDD when he advocated "electronic town halls" during his 1992 and 1996 Presidential campaigns in the United States. Switzerland, already partially governed by direct democracy, is making progress towards such a system.[126] Senator On-Line, an Australian political party established in 2007, proposes to institute an EDD system so that Australians can decide which way the senators vote on each and every bill.[127] A similar initiative was formed 2002 in Sweden where the party Direktdemokraterna, running for the Swedish parliament, offers its members the power to decide the actions of the party over all or some areas of decision, or to use a proxy with immediate recall for one or several areas.

Liquid democracy[edit]

Liquid democracy, or direct democracy incorporating a delegable proxy, enables citizens to appoint a proxy for voting on their behalf, while retaining the ability to cast their own vote on legislation. This voting and proxy assignment could be conducted electronically. Extending this concept, proxies could establish proxy chains; for instance, if citizen A appoints citizen B, and B appoints citizen C, and only C votes on a proposed bill, C's vote will represent all three of them. Citizens could also rank their proxies by preference, meaning that if their primary proxy does not vote, their vote could be cast by their second-choice proxy.

Wikidemocracy[edit]

One form of e-democracy that has been proposed is "wikidemocracy", where the codex of laws in a government legislature could be editable via a wiki, similar to Wikipedia. In 2012, J Manuel Feliz-Teixeira suggested that the resources necessary for implementing wikidemocracy were already accessible. He envisages a system in which citizens can participate in legislative, executive, and judiciary roles via a wiki-system. Every citizen would have free access to this wiki and a personal ID to make policy reforms continuously until the end of December, when all votes would be tallied.[128] Perceived benefits of wikidemocracy include a cost-free system that eliminates elections and the need for parliament or representatives, as citizens would directly represent themselves, and the ease of expressing one's opinion. However, there are several potential obstacles and disagreements. The digital divide and educational inequality could hinder the full potential of a wikidemocracy. Similarly, differing rates of technological adoption mean that some people might readily accept new methods, while others reject or are slow to adapt.[129] Security is also a concern; we would need to trust that the system administrators would ensure a high level of integrity to safeguard votes in the public domain. Peter Levine concurs that wikidemocracy could increase discussion on political and moral issues but disagrees with Feliz-Teixeira, arguing that representatives and formal governmental structures would still be needed.[130]

The term "wikidemocracy" is also used to refer to more specific instances of e-democracy. For example, in August 2011 in Argentina, the voting records from the presidential election were made available to the public in an online format for scrutiny.[131] More broadly, the term can refer to the democratic values and environments facilitated by wikis.[132]

In 2011, a group in Finland explored the concept of wikidemocracy by creating an online "shadow government program". This initiative was essentially a compilation of the political views and goals of various Finnish groups, assembled on a wiki.[133]

Egora[edit]

Egora, also known as "intelligent democracy", is a free software application developed for political opinion formation and decision-making. It is filed under the copyleft licensing system. The name "Egora" is a blend of "electronic" and "agora", a term from Ancient Greek denoting the central public space in city-states (polis). The ancient agora was the hub of public life, facilitating social interactions, business transactions, and discussions.

Drawing from this Ancient Greek concept, Egora aims to foster a new, rational, efficient, and incorruptible form of democratic organization. It allows users to form their own political philosophies from diverse ideas, ascertain the most popular ideas among the public, organize meetings to scrutinize and debate these ideas, and employ a simple algorithm to identify true representatives of the public will.[134]

In popular media[edit]

The theme of e-democracy has frequently appeared in science fiction. Works such as David's Sling by Marc Stiegler and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card notably predicted forms of the internet before it actually came into existence. These early conceptualizations of the internet, and their implications for democracy, served as major plot drivers in these stories.

David's Sling[edit]

In David's Sling, Marc Stiegler presents e-democracy as a strategy leveraged by a team of hackers to construct a computer-controlled smart weapon. They utilize an online debate platform, the Information Decision Duel, where two parties delve deeply into the intricacies of their arguments, dissecting the pros and cons before a neutral referee selects the more convincing side. This fictional portrayal of an internet-like system for public discourse echoes real-world aspirations for e-democracy, underscoring thorough issue analysis, technological enablement, and transparency.[135] The book's dedication, "To those who never stop seeking the third alternatives," epitomizes this emphasis on comprehensive issue scrutiny.

Ender's Game[edit]

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game also explores e-democracy, with the internet portrayed as a powerful platform for political discourse and social change. Two of the characters, siblings Valentine and Peter, use this platform to anonymously share their political views, gaining considerable influence. Their activities lead to a significant political shift, even though they are just children posing as adults. This highlights the issue of true identity within online participation and raises questions about the potential for manipulation in e-democracy.[136]

Other portrayals[edit]

E-democracy has also been depicted in:

These works provide varied perspectives on the potential benefits and challenges of e-democracy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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