Technology Utilization By Government: Blessing or Curse

Dr. David Carlson
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Internet web sites are now commonplace for government entities across the spectrum, as is the use of digital technology. Some worry about the digital divide, with many citizens being left out of this phenomenon. But an even greater threat to democracy is the harnessing of digital technology by governmental elites, and using this medium as a source of power.

Digital technology has the capacity to provide both greater knowledge and comprehensive, objective information to citizens, but only if government officials determine that is what they want to do. Using the technology to present partial versions of reality is both within their grasp and has the potential to serve particular interests. Evidence suggests that both uses are occurring, but particularly worrisome is the control being exercised by government officials over government websites so that particular information is "not available.". Finally, there is emerging within the broad citizenry what I term the "bureaucratized public" who have replaced the sense of citizen participation with an expectation that government officials will do the right things because that is what is written in their job descriptions. This encourages the misuse of digital technology.

Keywords: Technology, Websites, Community, Government
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. David Carlson

Professor, Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, Northern Michigan University

Faculty member for 30-plus years, elected member of city commission or utility board for the past twenty years.

Ref: T05P0168