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e-Democracy update - 5/7/06 - Online fundraising, US net control, and Canadian PM tops iTunes

05 July, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Online fundraising proving extremely popular

Online fundraising has become a major part of most US senate campaigns in 2006.

An Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet (IPDI) study found that 97 per cent of Senate campaigns raise funds through their websites.

IPDI researcher Ryan Sullivan says while many campaigns hire Internet firms to run their online fundraising programs, PayPal (the payment system owned by eBay) remains one of the most popular ways to process donations.

Mr Sullivan also says 75 per cent of the 2006 Senate campaigns host political videos.
"This is an astonishing percentage given that the 2004 election marked the first year for political videos," Mr Sullivan says.

"These videos run from basic, downloadable television ads to entries in an online video blog."

View the full report here.

US Government asking how to run the net

Net users have only a few more days to submit comments to the US government on how they think the internet should be run.

The US Government's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold a public meeting towards the end of July over what should happen to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) when its contract is renewed in September.

ICANN manages the assignment of domain names and IP addresses.

Currently, NTIA is seeking email submissions until Friday, 7 July at

The question of net control came under fire last year during the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society.

Already people from around the world are e-mailing the US government to reconsider its role and allow a sharing of power between governments at the very top of the net to prevent bias creeping into the system.

For more information, click here.

Canadian PM tops iTunes

Canada's Prime Minister has topped the list of most-downloaded podcasts at Apple's popular online music store, iTunes.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has every speech available from April 4 downloadable for free on both his Conservative Party's website and iTunes.

The inclusion on iTunes has opened his message to a wider exposure and pushed him to the top spot.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister says they record all the speeches for the archives and also send a copy to iTunes at zero cost.

"We recognize the fact that the media environment is changing and we want to find ways to communicate directly with Canadians," the spokesperson says.

Political historian Michael Behiels says politicians are quick to ride new media to get their message out.
"This is part and parcel of having brought in a younger generation of business-orientated Conservatives," said Behiels.

"The Conservatives are leading the way at the moment and the other parties will soon have to catch up."

China to step-up control of communication technology

Chinese authorities are discussing ways to increase their control of the Internet and other communications technologies, such as instant messaging and cell phones.

China's Information Office of the State Council director Cai Wu said at a recent conference in Beijing China needed new control measures "because more and more harmful information is being circulated online."

Likewise, the deputy minister of the information industry, Wang Xudong, said he will focus on developing new technologies to regulate web logs and search engines.

Reports from the conference show possible measures include mandatory user registration for cell phones and websites.

Analysts say such measures indicate worry within the government about maintaining power, especially in proposed laws to make the media's unauthorised publication of "sudden events" a punishable offence.

China’s Youth University of Political Science professor Zhan Jiang says it is obvious people do not want the government to do enforce such controls on communication technology.

User-choice news service growing in popularity

News service site Digg now has more than 300,000 registered users and close to nine million unique users every month.

Digg allows democratic editorial control to users where they can choose the most important news stories on the site.

Users post stories from around the web and readers vote for them. A story ranks higher on the site when it receives more votes, or "diggs".

The site is expanding and now has six major categories: Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment, and Gaming. Previously, users filed stories under minor subcategories.

Digg chief executive Jay Adelson says under traditional publication models it would take some time before a published article would have an impact.

"But with Digg that impact is being felt in real time. The feedback loop closure is good for readers and for publishers."

Visit Digg here.

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