Just as education has promoted democracy and economic growth, the Internet has the potential to benefit society as a whole. Digital citizenship, or the ability to participate in society online, promotes social inclusion. But statistics show that significant segments of the population are still excluded from digital citizenship.
Developments in information and communication technology and networked computing over the past two decades have given rise to the notion of electronic government, most commonly used to refer to the delivery of public services over the Internet.
American television embodies a paradox: it is a privately owned and operated public communications network that most citizens are unable to participate in except as passive specators. Television creates an image of community while preventing the formation of actual social ties because behind its simulated exchange of opinions lies a highly centralized corporate structure that is profoundly antidemocratic.
Telecommunication has never been perfectly secure. The Cold War culture of recording devices in telephone receivers and bugged embassy offices has been succeeded by a post-9/11 world of NSA wiretaps and demands for data retention. Although the 1990s battle for individual and commercial freedom to use cryptography was won, growth in the use of cryptography has been slow. Meanwhile, regulations requiring that the computer and communication industries build spying into their systems for government convenience have increased rapidly.
Does the information on the Web offer many alternative accounts of reality, or does it subtly align with an official version? In Information Politics on the Web, Richard Rogers identifies the cultures, techniques, and devices that rank and recommend information on the Web, analyzing not only the political content of Web sites but the politics built into the Web's infrastructure. Addressing the larger question of what the Web is for, Rogers argues that the Web is still the best arena for unsettling the official and challenging the familiar.
International organizations, governments, academia, industry, and the media have all begun to grapple with the information society as a global policy issue. The first United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in December 2003, recognized the connections between information technology and human rights with a Declaration of Principles—in effect, the first "constitution" for cyberspace—that called for the development of the information society to conform to recognized standards of human rights.
Privacy protection, according to Colin Bennett and Charles Raab, involves politics and public policy as much as it does law and technology. Moreover, the protection of our personal information in a globalized, borderless world means that privacy-related policies are inextricably interdependent.
Telecommunications policy profoundly affects the economy and our everyday lives. Yet accounts of important telecommunications issues tend to be either superficial (and inaccurate) or mired in jargon and technical esoterica. In Digital Crossroads, Jonathan Nuechterlein and Philip Weiser offer a clear, balanced, and accessible analysis of competition policy issues in the telecommunications industry.
As the global information infrastructure evolves, the field of communication has the opportunity to renew itself while addressing the urgent policy need for new ways of thinking and new data to think about. Communication Researchers and Policy-making examines diverse relationships between the communication research and policy communities over more than a century and the issues that arise out of those interactions. The book provides primary material in the form of reports on such relationships spanning time periods, subject matter, policy issues, decision-making venues, and governments.