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e-Democracy update - 14/6/06 - Sydney hits top 5 e-gov sites, Net neutrality shot down, and DailyKos hosts convention

14 June, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Sydney makes top five for e-governance

Sydney is among the top five cities in an annual worldwide index on e-governance websites.

The recently released results show the top five e-governing cities for 2005 are: 1) Seoul, 2) New York, 3) Shanghai, 4) Hong Kong, and 5) Sydney.

The study was a joint-project between the E-governance Institute of Rutgers University (in Newark, New Jersey) and the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute of the Graduate School of Governance (in Sungkyunkwan University, Korea).

Director of the e-Governance Institute at Rutgers-Newark Professor Marc Holzer says the E-Governance Performance Index is "a set of benchmarks that spotlight high levels of performance throughout the world, and high expectations for improved web-based municipal service delivery in the near future, in all countries".

The study examined major cities from 100 countries and examined five main areas: 1) Security and Privacy, 2) Usability, 3) Content, 4) Services, 5) Citizen Participation.

Net neutrality shot down in US Congress, goes to Senate

The US House of Representatives passed a controversial telecommunications bill without amending it with net neutrality provisions earlier this week

US Congress approved the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act on Thursday with a 321-to-101 vote, with 215 Republicans and 106 Democrats voting in favour of it.

Republican Representative Joe Barton, who introduced the bill with Democrat Bobby Rush earlier this year, says the bill seeks a balance in the marketplace.

"[This bill] seeks to strike the right balance between ensuring that the public Internet remains an open, vibrant marketplace, and ensuring that Congress does not hand the FCC a blank check to regulate Internet services," Mr Barton says.

The net neutrality provisions were voted down from the legislation during Thursday's debate.

Democrat Representative Ed Markey, who co-authored the net neutrality amendments, says they are making progress and intend to prevail in the end.

"The Internet community is now aroused, and as the telephone and cable companies continue to use their political clout to turn the Internet from a democratic Field of Dreams to an exclusive set of Gated Communities," Mr Markey says.

“I will continue to fight for an open and non-discriminatory Internet because the future of our country depends on it. Literally."

The debate has moved to the US Senate. Latest reports indicate the Senate committee debating the bill has reached a stalemate and will most likely not include the provisions in the new laws.

DailyKos hosts convention

1,000 bloggers have gathered in Las Vegas last weekend to discuss the 2008 US presidential election as part of liberal blog Daily Kos' convention.

The convention, organised by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, featured attendances from various Democratic presidential contenders including former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and former NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark.

Speaking at the convention, Mr Moulitsas said the media elite and the political elite of both parties had failed the Untied States.

"Republicans failed us because they can’t govern. Democrats failed us because they can’t get elected."

US e-politics expert recruited for UK Labour

UK's Labour party has hired an American internet guru to teach tricks of voter interaction and cyber fundraising ahead of next year’s election.

Online politics guru Zack Exley, who worked on John Kerry's American presidential campaign in 2004 as director of online communication and organisation, will meet Labour leader Pat Rabbitte later this month.

Labour general secretary Mike Allen says Mr Exley shares their politics.

"He’s got a lot to say and he's very keen to say it to us," Mr Allen says.

"We’re hoping he’ll inform our party strategy over the coming months and that he and other web people in America will assist us through the election as well."

Over the coming months, Labour will facilitate changes to their website as part of a radical overhaul to make it more appealing to voters. Election candidates will also host their own blogs on their personal sites and Exley will organise campaign finance through e-mail.

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