To believe that those who ardently want to keep things as they are
would not use the Internet to protect the status quo would be the pinnacle of
present-day dictatorships, this means that central governments control or monitor all the
Web servers (China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia) and surveil flows of information and
communication on a routine basis. Even if
this does not catch all those evildoers and culprits engaged in free discussion and
organization (like the Falun Gong in China), it certainly makes it risky to try. So, despite satellite TV, the Internet, wireless
phones and all modern electronic information and communications gadgetry, these one-party
states maintain their strong grip on civil authority.
In representative democracies, a cursory
glance at the Internet in any country, state, city, or town will reveal a myriad of Web
sites belonging to governmental and establishmentarian political interests addicted to
that system. The main purpose of these Web
sites is to make the government look as though it is cyber-hip and thus helps legitimize
itself as being modern and responsive to the demands of the information age.
Other purposes are to
help cut costs of daily government business by automating services and being more
convenient by being online. Another goal is to make the government look more responsive by
allowing feedback via email. This latter ploy, however, is not much more than the old
circular file or complaint department --Internet style. If you get an answer, it will most
likely be of the form variety.
are not the only users of the Net to keep modern representative systems as thin
as they can. One can find a host of Web sites belonging to political candidates
for office, political parties, the established mass media (TV, radio, and
newspapers) and heavily financed special interest groups that have long
monopolized political power. They provide information, rooms for chats, and try
to raise money and/or volunteers to keep them in business or keep their costs
If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that well
over 95% of all the gigabytes used for political purposes on the Internet are
cyberpolitics-as-usual. As such, they do not rate a cloud, summer shower, or
even one lightning bolt for actually empowering the people.