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e-Democracy update - 19/4/06 - Paul Reynolds, e-Dem in Italy, and Hamas fundraising with the web

19 April, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Greater access is the future in New Zealand

A leading technology expert in New Zealand says the future of e-democracy lies in greater access to data and database models for activist groups.

Technology expert Paul Reynolds says greater access to databases can help community groups develop alternative proposals to government plans.

However, Mr Reynolds says we are a long way away from that.

"Where we are at the moment is some emerging ideas around using what we've learned to call Web 2.0 tools - like blogging, mapping software, podcasting, photo sharing - and started to think about how can activists… can start using that," he says.

Mr Reynolds spoke about this and other e-democracy issues with Simon Morton on Radio New Zealand.

e-Democracy in Italy begins

54 e-government projects have officially started in Italy, which will allow people to participate in the life of local government and its decisions.

Italy's national IT centre Cnipa recently presented 129 projects for funding. 57 of these projects were approved with co-financing of 9.5 million euro.

Cnipa chairman Livio Zoffoli says 54 of these projects have already begun in towns with less than 5,000 inhabitants.

Mr Zoffoli says the second phase of the e-democracy plan includes some very experimental lines of action, including a high level of innovation and originality especially favouring adoption and experimentation by regions and local councils.

Broke Hamas fundraises via web

The new Hamas government has launched a fundraising drive on websites and Arab satellite TV stations, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Hamas has admitted it is broke and feels increasing isolation from Western countries and other Arab capitals after a lack of financial support for its Palestinian Authority.

The group has published a statement on their website that asks for "public appeal to support the steadfastness of our Palestinian brothers and to foil the Zionist plans aimed at forcing them to give up their legitimate national rights".

Four arrests over SMS in Iran

The President of Iran has ordered the arrests of four people over anonymous text messages critical of his hygiene, according to Iranian opposition website Rooz Online.

The website claimed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the arrests, fired the president of the phone company and accused those involved of conspiring with the Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad.

The text messages he received suggested he did not wash enough.

His regime has acknowledged to monitoring text message traffic.

The Ahmadinejad regime also has taken a tough stance against opposition on the Internet with many of the nation's estimated 70,000 to 100,000 bloggers facing harassment or imprisonment.

US politician focuses on net adveritising

A candidate for Massachusetts governor is aiming his campaign ads to web browsers instead of TV viewers.

Democrat candidate Deval Patrick has released the first set of advertisements for the Massachusetts gubernatorial race in a bid to demonstrate new uses of technology and save on his campaign budget.

His ads include web banners and downloadable videos.

Patrick's campaign consultant Doug Rubin says the ads intend to show Deval as a different kind of candidate.

"Deval's a new candidate. He wants to get people excited about some of the things he's talking about and it's a priority for him - and in politics," Mr Rubin says.

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