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Electronic Democracy conference

IN THE INFORMATION AGE,   The Computer Ethics Institute 5th
National Computer Ethics Conference, October 10-11, 1996 at
The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.

The Computer Ethics Institute, PO Box 42672 Washington, D.C., 20015
301/469-0615 (voice/fax)    psullivan@brook.edu
Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director

Keynote speakers:  Chris Wright, Federal Communications Commission
                   Office of General Counsel
   Lawrence K. Grossman, author of _The electronic Republic:  Reshaping
        Democracy in the Information Age_.  Mr. Grossman is the former
        president of the Public Broadcasting Service and of NBC News.
        He is currently president of Horizons Cable Network.

      What effects will information technologies have on political
process and the ideals of democracy today and in the future, and
what are the ethical and public policy consequences that will
have to be faced?  The Internet has long (in computer technology
terms, at least) been a forum for the expression of political
discourse, and is regarded by many as a distinct public and
political sphere existing beyond the regulatory limits of
conventional political space.

      Beyond this vision, however, is the emerging use of
information technologies and the Internet as a public
infrastructure for engaging democratic process and achieving the
ideals of democracy in real political space.  Electronic
campaigns, referenda, polling and voting are not just
technologically possible, but matters of fact.  Elected officials
increasingly make use of electronic town meetings to establish
contact with constituents.  Candidates and parties have home
pages on the world wide web, and this year the Reform Party  used
information technologies in part to support its national

      In order to address the range of questions concerning the
effects of IT on democratic process, and the ethical and policy
consequences of those effects, the Computer Ethics Institute
proposes its 5th National Computer Ethics Conference,
Cybercivics 101:  The Relevance of Representational Democracy in
the Information Age.

8:30-9:00 registration

9:00-9:15:  Opening Remarks, Michael H. Armacost, President,
Brookings Institution

Session I,  Cyberdemocracy Today.  How do cybercampaigns work?
Do they work? Would an electronic electorate necessarily be a
more informed electorate?  What is it like to vote online?  Can
the integrity of the vote and anonymity of the voter be
guaranteed?  Will information technologies be sufficiently
interactive to support the levels of public discourse and
participation that are the necessary conditions of effective
and rational democratic process?  How representative is the online
community today?  How will information technologies affect the
viability of third parties, and shape their agendas and political
strategies? This session will examine these questions not only
through discussion, but by demonstration with the opening of the
CEI National Mock PresidentialElection on the Internet, and
demonstrations of Compuserve's "Election Connection", and the
Under The CyberDome website.

9:15-10:45:  Alexia Parks (VoteLink), Doug Bailey (American
Political Network), Leslie Durgin (Mayor, Boulder, CO):  Online
voting today.

11:05-12:15:  Russ Robinson (Compuserve), Larry Noble (Federal
Election Commission):  Online campaigning

12:15-1:30:  Luncheon & Keynote I  Chris Wright (FCC Office of
General Counsel)

1:45-3:00:  Rich Maginn & students of Smoky Hills High School:
The Informed Electorate:  www.curtis-park.org/~utcd (Under The

Session II,  How Will We Govern Ourselves in the Year 2020?
Electronic constituency, digital governance and distributed
political authority-- Who will be represented by whom, and in
what ways?  What effects will elements of cyberspace, for example
its transpatial nature and the possibilities of anonymity of
identity, have on the concept of constituency?  And, what effects
will electronic referenda and town meetings have on
representative democracy:  Is direct digital democracy possible?
Is it desirable?  What will be the role of referenda and
electronic town meetings in determining critical matters of
public policy?  Should intelligent agents and cyberstaffs be
allowed to vote?

3:15-4:30:  Rick Smyre (Communities of the Future), Jared P.
Schutz (Stardot Consulting), Lorrie Faith Cranor (Washington

4:45-5:30:  Keynote II:  Lawrence K. Grossman


Session III  Ethical and Policy Implications of Cyberdemocracy:
Is Representation Relevant?  Will there be a synthesis of some
kind between traditional representative democracy and direct
digital democracy?  If so, where exactly in the technological
infrastructure will representation (as well as constituency) be
located?  How will votes count, and for what?  Who will decide
which issues are to be decided, and how will the decisions be
implemented?  Will such representation be fair?  Will electronic
constituencies be a more or less accurate picture of the balance
of rights and interests that exist among the members of a
democracy?  The market driven expansion of the Internet and World
Wide Web has the potential to centralize resources in order to
make access and distribution cost effective.  The market model
also tends to make points of access proprietary, and has the
potential to concentrate ownership of both information and
services.  Whether this is consistent with the use of information
technologies as an infrastructure for democratic process and the
attainment of ideals of democracy, is an open question.

8:30-10:30:  Social and Ethical Implications:  Deborah G. Johnson
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Jack Loughney (Social Philosophy
Research Institute & Westfield State College); Public Policy Implications:
David Mason (Heritage Foundation);  Legal Implications:  Christine Varney
(Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, and former Secretary to President
Clinton's Cabinet)

Session IV:  Electronic Mock Presidential Election.

10:50-12:30  Election results and open discussion

Conference registration is $200 before October 5, $250 after
October 5th.  Student registration is $50 at all times (please
provide a valid student ID or include your ID number with
registration).  The same fees apply for electronic registrations,
which can be paid at the door.  Please make checks payable to
CEI, and send all registration information to:

CEI 5th National Computer Ethics Conference
Computer Ethics Institute
PO Box 42672
Washington, DC  20015

or email to psullivan@brook.edu

Registration includes luncheon & reception, and any conference





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