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e-Democracy update - 19/10/05

19 October, 2005
By Daniel Macpherson

Bloggers attack Indian business school

Indians bloggers have launched an attack on the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) after allegations of false advertising.

The attack came after IIPM sent legal threats to blogger Gaurav Sabnis who criticised the business school for falsehoods in their advertising.

IIPM also threatened Sabnis' employer, IBM, and forced him to resign.

"The Dean of IIPM wrote… that the IIPM Students Union had decided that if my blog posts were not deleted, then they would gather all the Thinkpads they had been given by the institute, and burn them in front of the IBM office in Delhi."

Within two weeks, Indian bloggers and some international commentators have joined together to criticise IIPM's actions.

High-ranking Indian blog DesiPundit discusses the full details, including a list of blogs critical of IIPM, here.

Estonian e-voting successful

Officials have hailed the online voter turnout of last weekend's mayoral and council elections in Estonia as a success.

Despite an e-voting turnout  of less than 10,000 people - 1 per cent of the registered voting population - the National Electoral Committee says there were no reports of flaws or hacking attempts in the online voting system.

"Everything has gone smoothly," according to National Electoral Committee spokesperson Tarvi Martens.

Estonia's government might also implement e-voting for the next national parliamentary elections in 2007.

However, e-Democracy consultant Jason Kitcat says the system doesn't offer the turnout boost hoped for and with such small numbers using it there aren't cost savings to be had.

"With voters still allowed to go for a paper ballot after e-voting, as protection against vote buying and coercion, new levels of election complexity are going to be more costly," he said.

"These facts will be hard to avoid and, like most other places, e-voting will quietly die away."

Visit the Estonian e-voting system webpage.

New anonymous forum for US government employees

A non-profit organisation has established a new online forum for US government employees to voice their opinions.

Understanding Government executive director Carol Beach says the new website will allow public servants to comment anonymously on government dealings and issues.

She also says the website provides a source of information for journalists to cover.

"It's journalists and civil servants talking together, sharing ideas, fattening the Rolodex, creating a product that will shed a whole new light on how our government works," Ms Beach says.

Visit the forum here.

eChallenges conference in Slovenia

Slovenia will host the 15th International eChallenges conference during October 19-21, 2005 in capital city Ljubljana.

The conference will review past uses of information and communication technology on regional, national, and international levels and examine objectives of the European Union’s (EU) new Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which the EU approved last month.

The eChallenges consortium expects over 500 delegates from commercial, government and research organisations worldwide to participate and will host over 270 presentations.

New political survey online in Switzerland

An independent association has created a 30-question survey on political development of Switzerland.

Vernunft Schweiz's (or Swiss Sense) "Swiss Perspective" survey aims to involve Swiss Citizens more closely in the political process with questions topics ranging from equal rights to economic growth.

Vernunft Schweiz hopes the results of the survey can shape the direction of Switzerland's future policy decisions over the next decade.

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