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Do Finland’s digitally crowdsourced laws show a way to resolve democracy’s “legitimacy crisis”?

There is much discussion about a perceived “legitimacy crisis” in democracy. In his article The Rise of the Mediating Citizen: Time, Space, and Citizenship in the Crowdsourcing of Finnish Legislation, Taneli Heikka (University of Jyväskylä) discusses the digitally crowdsourced law for same-sex marriage that was passed in Finland in 2014, analysing how the campaign used […]

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Crowdsourcing ideas as an emerging form of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance

What are the linkages between multistakeholder governance and crowdsourcing? Both are new — trendy, if you will — approaches to governance premised on the potential of collective wisdom, bringing together diverse groups in policy-shaping processes. Their interlinkage has remained underexplored so far. Our article recently published in Policy and Internet sought to investigate this in the context of […]

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Crowdsourcing for public policy and government

If elections were invented today, they would probably be referred to as “crowdsourcing the government.” First coined in a 2006 issue of Wired magazine (Howe, 2006), the term crowdsourcing has come to be applied loosely to a wide variety of situations where ideas, opinions, labor or something else is “sourced” in from a potentially large […]

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Political polarization on social media: do birds of a feather flock together on Twitter?

Is social media democratizing and empowering, or simply a new platform for tighter messaging and control? As social media usage widens and deepens across much of the world, its impacts on politics and democracy are becoming incontestable, but whether these impacts ultimately prove positive remains an open question. Anatoliy Gruzd (Ryerson University) and Jeffrey Roy (Dalhousie University) discuss their Policy and internet article: Investigating Political Polarization on Twitter: A Canadian Perspective, which investigates the extent to which Twitter users cluster around shared political interests.

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Tracing our every move: Big data and multi-method research

Every person who sends email, text messages, tweets, or simply surfs the Web leaves a digital trace. Researchers are just starting to comprehend the possibilities of “big data” for creating a new picture of social behavior, but the potential for innovative work on social and cultural topics far outstrips current data collection and analysis techniques. Ericka Menchen-Trevino (Erasmus University Rotterdam) discusses her Policy & Internet article Collecting vertical trace data: big possibilities and big challenges for multi-method research, finding that combining shallow ‘horizontal’ and deep ‘vertical’ trace data provides a richer picture of online activity.

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How do the mass media affect levels of trust in government?

There is much evidence to suggest that the more complex aspects of the relationship between openness and trust in government go unaccounted for in current attempts by public sector organizations to become more open and transparent. Greg Porumbescu discusses his article Assessing the Link Between Online Mass Media and Trust in Government: Evidence From Seoul, South Korea, published in Policy & Internet (5, 4), which finds evidence of a positive indirect relationship between citizens’ use of online mass media outlets and their levels of trust in government.

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Don’t knock clickivism: it represents the political participation aspirations of the modern citizen

We are surrounded by simple online participatory processes asking for our opinions through one-click online petitions, content sharing, and social buttons. Max Halupka discusses his article Clicktivism: A Systematic Heuristic, published in Policy & Internet, which argues that this so-called “clicktivism” is a legitimate political act. However, he argues that these acts have been largely marginalized in the mainstream political science literature, and as a result, new modes of participation that draw upon the simplification of social connectivity are being ignored.

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Does a market-approach to online privacy protection result in better protection for users?

While prior studies have focused on what’s written in privacy policy statements, systematic attention on the interactive aspects of the Web have been scant. Yong Jin Park (Howard University) discusses his article published in Policy & Internet: A Broken System of Self-Regulation of Privacy Online? Surveillance, Control, and Limits of User Features in U.S. Websites. His analysis, based on a sample of 398 commercial sites in the US, shows that more popular sites did not necessarily provide better privacy control features for users than sites that were randomly selected.

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Will digital innovation disintermediate banking — and can regulatory frameworks keep up?

Many of Europe’s economies are hampered by a waning number of innovations, partially attributable to the European financial system’s aversion to funding innovative enterprises and initiatives. Pēteris Zilgalvis discusses his recent Policy & Internet article The Need for an Innovation Principle in Regulatory Impact Assessment: The Case of Finance and Innovation in Europe (2014 6,4), which argues for the adoption of an “innovation principle” in regulatory impact assessment that prioritizes regulatory approaches that serve to promote innovation.

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