What are the barriers to big data analytics in local government?

The concept of Big Data has become very popular over the last decade, with many large technology companies successfully building their business models around its exploitation. The UK’s public sector has tried to follow suit, with local governments in particular trying to introduce new models of service delivery based on the routine extraction of information […]

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How ready is Africa to join the knowledge economy?

“In times past, we searched for gold, precious stones, minerals, and ore. Today, it is knowledge that makes us rich and access to information is all-powerful in enabling individual and collective success.” Lesotho Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, 2005. Changes in the ways knowledge is created and used — and how this is enabled […]

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What explains variation in online political engagement?

While much of the modern political process is now carried out digitally, ICTs have yet to bring democracies to their full utopian ideal. The drivers of involvement in digital politics from an individual perspective are well studied, but less attention has been paid to the supply-side of online engagement in politics. In his Policy & […]

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Social media is nothing like drugs, despite all the horror stories

Nothing like Instagram. cliplab.pro/Shutterstock Letting your child use social media is like giving them cocaine, alcohol and cigarettes – all at once, or so we’re told. If you have been following recent press reports about the effects of social media on young people, you may well believe this. But there is no scientific evidence to […]

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Stormzy 1: The Sun 0 — Three Reasons Why #GE2017 Was the Real Social Media Election

After its initial appearance as a cynical but safe device by Teresa May to ratchet up the Conservative majority, the UK general election of 2017 turned out to be one of the most exciting and unexpected of all time. One of the many things for which it will be remembered is as the first election […]

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Latest Report by UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Freedom of Expression is a Landmark Document

“The digital access industry is in the business of digital expression (…). Since privately owned networks are indispensable to the contemporary exercise of freedom of expression, their operators also assume critical social and public functions. The industry’s decisions (…) can directly impact freedom of expression and related human rights in both beneficial and detrimental ways.” [Report […]

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Our knowledge of how automated agents interact is rather poor (and that could be a problem)

Recent years have seen a huge increase in the number of bots online — including search engine Web crawlers, online customer service chat bots, social media spambots, and content-editing bots in online collaborative communities like Wikipedia. (Bots are important contributors to Wikipedia, completing about 15% of all Wikipedia edits in 2014 overally, and more than […]

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Could Voting Advice Applications force politicians to keep their manifesto promises?

In many countries, Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) have become an almost indispensable part of the electoral process, playing an important role in the campaigning activities of parties and candidates, an essential element of media coverage of the elections, and being widely used by citizens. A number of studies have shown that VAA use has an […]

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