(Zero bolts)

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 naivete. In 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.

 Governments 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 down.

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.

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