Journal of
Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

 ISSN: 1690-4524 (Online)    DOI: 10.54808/JSCI


Beyond The Internet: Radical Reformer Versus Smooth Transformer
Meelis Kitsing
Pages: 1-8
The importance of facilitating the increase of Internet diffusion has become widely recognized by the policymakers in transition and developing countries. A wider use of the Internet will foster both economic and political development. Based on the case studies of Estonia and Slovenia, this article finds that Internet diffusion in transition and developing economies is encouraged through the privatization of an incumbent telecom company and the opening of a telecom market. To secure maximum openness and fair play in the telecom sector a truly independent telecom regulatory agency has to be established and regulators need to stay free of political interventions. In order for this to be successful, this article argues that these policies have to be combined with a liberal trade and a foreign direct investment regime.

Cognitive Hacking and Digital Government: Digital Identity
Paul Thompson
Pages: 9-12
Recently the National Center for Digital Government held a workshop on “The Virtual Citizen: Identity, Autonomy, and Accountability: A Civic Scenario Exploration of the Role of Identity in On-Line. Discussions at the workshop focused on five scenarios for future authentication policies with respect to digital identity. The underlying technologies considered for authentication were: biometrics: cryptography, with a focus on digital signatures; secure processing/computation; and reputation systems. Most discussion at the workshop focused on issues related to authentication of users of digital government, but, as implied by the inclusion of a scenario related to ubiquitous identity theft, there was also discussion of problems related to misinformation, including cognitive hacking. Cognitive hacking refers to a computer or information system attack that relies on changing human users' perceptions and corresponding behaviors in order to succeed. This paper describes cognitive hacking, suggests countermeasures, and discusses the implications of cognitive hacking for identity in digital government. In particular, spoofing of government websites and insider misuse are considered.

Computer-Mediated Education And Globalization - A Case Study On Cross-border Course "Globalization and Media"
Luyan Li
Pages: 13-18
This paper studies computer mediated education in social science, in particular, communication studies. As universities in the United States build closer relationships with foreign universities, cross-border education becomes more feasible with the assistance of web technology. To illustrate how this can be done, a trial course Globalization and Media is offered to students in both China and US from a US university. In the first part of the online tutorial, it is mainly instructor-based as the theories in media effects and globalization are introduced to the students. In the second part, the course becomes more application-based as students are requested to accomplish two tasks: firstly, study one of their own countries’ major media institutions and share their findings in the online discussion board of the course website. After intense discussions of the different structures and functions of media institutions from the two countries, students are asked to conduct content analysis of a newspaper of their own countries over one common issue, e.g., the coverage of Iraq war. Their findings are again posted on the course discussion broad. Through these exercises students are able to see both sides and have a deeper understanding of the differences of media systems from a global angle.

With computer mediated teaching, people from different countries can effectively learn from and exchange viewpoints with each other, without physically moving from one place to another. However, because only those who are computer literate and proficient in English could benefit from it, this may further deepen the gap of digital divide and exacerbate the dilution of cultures in the developing countries. Another concern is that because the instructor and the students are not in the same room, and may not even access to the course materials at the same time, although this provides convenience for the students to set their own time and pace, it also requires tremendous self-discipline from the students. At all times the instructor is open to email exchanges, but since he is not physically in front of the students to support them and answer questions, some students might quickly fall behind. But since most of the students in this course are highly motivated and interested in technology-mediated environments, the course proves to be a successful experience.

This experiment shows that with the development of global computer network and the widespread of education in both directions (both from North to South and from South to North), virtual learning will promote the understanding among cultures and improve peoples’ quality over time.

E-government and the Electronic Transformation of Modes of Rule: The Case of Partnerships
Paul Henman
Pages: 19-24
This paper critically examines some aspects of the discursive and material transformation of government as a result the deployment of the internet and new information technologies. Particular attention is given to the constitution of partnerships and network forms of governing. The paper illustrates the dynamics of egovernment through two case studies of e-government projects in Australia’s social security/welfare system.

European Trends in Privacy: How can we increase internet security and protect individual privacy?
Soren Duus Ostergaard
Pages: 25-29
In the aftermath of September 11 2001 security has been at the top of any Government or Enterprise agenda. Scrutinizing flight passenger lists, conference participants’ background, customers’ profile and securing access to public and private databases through gateways has become a standard way of doing things. Legislation has been put in place which in many countries give the authorities increased right to analyze personal data ? In some cases overriding existing privacy legislation.

In a networked world everybody leaves traces that are personally individually identifiable (PII). When we use our mobile phone, the cell network provider knows the location you are in and the time of the call. When you browse a bookstore on the internet, an applet will tell the web-site owner of your buying habits - and the moment you make a purchase on the net, you leave behind a sign of your reading habits and intellectual preferences. When you use your credit card on the net to buy flowers, the address of the receiver is recorded and related to your ID. If you are under medical treatment and receive medicine, the prescription will inform about your deceases. Under which circumstances do you want this information to be revealed?

Most countries as well as the European Union and its member countries have since long been aware of the potential threat against personal integrity in case a malevolent organization got hold of all this information. And now Governments in most countries are becoming increasingly interested in accessing personal information to prevent terrorism and establish an electronic surveillance of dubious elements in the society.

This paper intends to describe how IT solutions with a special focus on the public sector could be developed and deployed that will help organizations as well as individuals to protect their personally identifiable information, set up policies that will be translated to watch dogs that will ensure that these policies are followed when allowing external or internal users to access the information and later ensure that audit can be performed which will log any use of data.

It Takes More Than Two To TANGO: Co-Constructing Situated Accountability Through a Local E-Government Arena
Annelie Ekelin
Pages: 30-35
This paper deals with the issue of shaping local egovernment policies and practices, by including several actors, such as researchers, official authorities, politicians and software companies as well as ordinary citizens in a joint, sustainable development of a region.

One way to provide space and place for this ongoing coconstruction and negotiation work of situated egovernment is the establishment of a regional center of competence on e-government, within a program, partly funded by the European Commission, called Innovative Actions. TANGO (Thematic Arenas Nourish Growth Opportunities) is a way to build thematic competence centres and stimulate local research- and development projects (R&D), carried out in co-operation with partners from local business life. The Come on in- project, described in this paper, is an example of such an R&D project. The practices reveal several critical and crucial negotiation situations that are of importance to be put forward and be discussed in relation to what situated accountability could mean for the development of what could be called a new politics production. Situated accountability is therefore of great significance for this discussion.

Stakeholder Analysis as a Medium to Aid Change in Information System Reengineering Projects
Jean Davison, David Deeks, Bruce Lesley
Pages: 36-41
The importance of involving stakeholders within a change process is well recognised, and successfully managed change is equally important. Information systems development and redesign is a form of change activity involving people and social issues and therefore resistance to change may occur. A stakeholder identification and analysis (SIA) technique has been developed as an enhancement to PISO® (Process Improvement for Strategic Objectives), a method that engages the users of a system in the problem solving and reengineering of their own work-based problem areas. The SIA technique aids the identification and analysis of system stakeholders, and helps view the projected outcome of system changes and their effect on relevant stakeholders with attention being given to change resistance to ensure smooth negotiation and achieve consensus. A case study is presented here describing the successful implementation of a direct appointment booking system for patients within the National Health Service in the UK, utilising the SIA technique, which resulted in a feeling of empowerment and ownership of the change of those involved.

Subversive Change: Empowering Educators to Lead Innovation from Within
Eleonora Badilla-Saxe
Pages: 42-46
Improvement of the quality of education, and even educational reform is goal for most the educational systems in the world. But, it has been proven historically that changing and improving an educational system is probably one of the most difficult and complex tasks in our societies specially, if it is externally and top-down imposed. My proposal here is that change and reform in an educational system must empower educators to take the lead and prove we are able to change and promote change. And to do so, we need show innovation and be credible. We need to empower ourselves from within. In this paper I will present the case of the Faculty of Education of the University of Costa Rica that, with its project LUMEN is leading an impressive innovation process, not only among its different departments and faculty members, but amongst other Faculties at the University such as Engineering and Medicine, for example. I will present also the vital role that the constructionist vision and very new digital technology have played in this case.

The Computer Clubhouse Village: A virtual meeting place for an emerging community of learners
Patricia Diaz
Pages: 47-50
The Computer Clubhouse Network is an international affiliation of organizations that all have a common purpose: providing opportunities for youth from underserved communities to explore their own ideas and become more capable, creative and confident learners through the use of state-of-the-art technology. Clubhouse community members actively engage in learning-bydesigning in an environment created to promote informal coalescing of groups around common interests. Having grown, with the support of Intel corporation, from a few to close to a hundred Clubhouses, spontaneously formed design teams no longer need to share the same physical space. The Computer Clubhouse Village provides a virtual extension of the Clubhouse and takes to a new level the emerging community of learners.

Becoming a virtual community with members from around the world brings new opportunities, as well as new challenges. As of 2004, there are Clubhouses in 20 different countries where more than a dozen languages are spoken. Even though the Network language is English, the Village strives to be a multilingual community where members are welcome to participate in a language they feel comfortable using. As we move to a third phase of development of the intranet, we will facilitate this interchange by providing an interface in languages other than English, whenever it is permitted. Translation is not only time consuming but also complex, considering regional variations in popular languages like Chinese and Spanish, and the lack of terminology in other languages for new technology and ideas. Bilingual members have become crucial to enable communication among those who speak only one language as they spontaneously translate for others, but there is a need for a concerted effort with professional translators as we move forward.

Adapting to the local culture and needs while preserving the Clubhouse guiding principles, is both a challenge and an opportunity. The Clubhouse learning approach has been developing since 1993, in conjunction with the MIT Media Lab, and continues to evolve as the Network grows and incorporates new technologies and new ways of thinking about them. It is based on ongoing research from several fields that revolve around the use of new technologies to enhance learning, taking into account the role of affect and motivation in the learning process, the importance of the social context, and the interplay between individual and community development.

The four guiding principles of the Clubhouse learning approach are: learning-by-designing, following your interests, building a community, and fostering an environment of respect and trust. Both the Network and the Village, reflect the same guiding principles that gave rise to the first Computer Clubhouse. In both cases, applying the principles to the specific needs of each community has been a process only possible with the participation of the local communities, facilitated by Community Based Organizations carefully selected to support each individual Clubhouse. The Network has been greatly enriched with the addition of people from diverse states and countries as they all bring their own perspective to the table. Youth are developing meaningful projects in their communities while at the same time sharing their projects and ideas with people outside of their communities who may provide feedback or even collaborate through virtual environments.

The Current Situation of ICT Development in the Middle East and ICT Support Policies. The Case of Syrian Arab Republic.
Tatsuya Yamamoto
Pages: 51-53
The purpose of this paper is to examine how ICT development is progressing and what kind of political and social effects have been occurring (or could occur in the near future) in Middle Eastern Arabic countries. To examine this theme, this paper will adopt the Syrian Arab Republic as a case. To understand the Syrian government’s policy toward the ICT development, it is necessary to examine the domestic political situation, since they are closely related. Under the Bashar Al- Asad’s regime, we can confirm several reasons why they have to move forward on their ICT development policy and why it has become a crucial issue, which they cannot evade, as they had done under the previous regime, Hafez Al- Asad’s regime. The situation that the Syrian government is facing right now is known by the term, “Dictator’s Dilemma”. This paper tries to provide bases in order to examine and explore this dilemma in Syria. Also, when we examine ICT development in Syria, it is important to consider the ICT support policies, which are mainly conducted by OECD countries and international organizations and stem from the issue of “Digital Divide”. This is why international assistances could have great effect on ICT development in Syria. As a provisional conclusion of this paper, I will summarize how we can understand the current situation of ICT development in Syria, and I will also comment on the future prospect of the dilemma that the Syrian government is facing at the present time.

The Use of the Internet by Candidates as Part of Their Campaign for Election to the Scottish Parliament in 2003
Rita Marcella, Graeme Baxter, Sandra Smith
Pages: 54-59
This paper reports the preliminary results of a study which investigated the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by political parties and individual candidates as part of their campaign for election to the Scottish Parliament. Two methodologies were used in gathering data. Firstly, a weekly survey of political Web sites was conducted in the four weeks preceding the Scottish Parliamentary election on 1st May 2003, with the content of the sites being analysed to measure activity. Secondly, a series of e-mail enquiries, based around significant issues, were directed at party Web sites and individual candidates in order to measure the extent of interaction, feedback and the creation of an ongoing relationship with enquirers.

Urban Electronic Government - Innovation, Adoption, and Metropolitan Characteristics
Joshua M Franzel
Pages: 60-65
This paper defines e-government, outlines non-market failure which is believed to be a factor in e-government provision, highlights some previous applicable literature on government innovation, and offers findings from a regression model created using factors offered by previous literature and recent data from sixty-seven of the largest US metropolitan areas.

Email and political campaigning: the experience of MPs in Westminster
Nigel Jackson
Pages: 66-71
Traditionally individual politicians communicated directly with their constituents, but the arrival of the mass media, especially television, eroded the role of direct communication. The development of new Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) is now re-opening the use of direct communication as part of post-modern campaigning (Norris 2000), with the Internet providing an alternative to media relations. The World Wide Web has attracted great interest from political commentators, but so far email has been largely ignored. Yet the Web is a pull technique, whereas the push nature of email opens up new campaigning possibilities. Downes and Mui (2000) suggest that email represents potentially a ‘killer app’ which might revolutionize the way MPs approach re-election. A survey of Members of Parliament (MPs) Assembly Members (AMs) of the Welsh Assembly and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) examines whether they have grasped the opportunities email represents. The research suggests that the outbound use of email for campaigning purposes is limited to a small number of pioneers. Resources, parliamentary culture and party affiliation all shape the use of email campaigning.

E-Government in Germany: Status Quo and Perspectives
Alexander Elsas
Pages: 72-75
According to an UN survey, only 17 countries have reached a transactional stage of E-Government, no country has reached the fully integrated or seamless stage. A technological way to support reaching the seamless stage can be the utilization of the Web services framework to implement advanced, integrated E-Government applications. The actual situation in Germany is taken here as an example to illustrate the typical problems of recent E-Government developments.

A New Broadband Network in the Middle of Italy: the Project of Terrecablate
Guido Bombagli, Davide Pasqualini, Cecilia Zamer
Pages: 76-80
This paper is devoted to illustrate the project of a new broadband network, that is seeing its realization in the Province of Siena, in the middle of Italy. The network is going to be built by a brandnew public society, the “Consorzio Terrecablate Telecomunicazioni” (“Terrecablate” in the following) that has been established last year by the Authority of the Province of Siena, the City of Siena and all the Municipalities of the Province. As follows, the purpose of Terrecablate’s project is to create a telecommunication Broadband Network – with a backbone of about 650 kilometers of fiber optic – by using the most recent and innovative technologies, giving thus all the services related to the high speed connectivity at the lowest price of the market. The whole network, that should be realized within year 2007, means an investment of 85 millions of Euro, of which the 70% will be financed by the Public Administration. On July 2003, the first backbone ring is going to be completed, and it is expected to start providing of TLC services within year 2003.

Will the Internet Form the Public Sphere in China?
Li Zhan
Pages: 81-85
The Western perspective in examining the political impact of the Internet concentrates on whether this new medium will revitalize the public sphere so as to further representative democracy to ideal form of participatory democracy. This paper examines the political impact of the Internet on China, a large developing country that lacks sophisticated representative democratic politics. It analyzes the revolutionary changes that the Internet has brought to the Chinese Internet users and the government’s regulations on the new medium. It asks whether the Internet will form the Habermasian public sphere in China and concludes that the Internet enhances the Chinese netter’s political participation, but it needs long-term research to decide to what extent the Internet will improve democracy in China.

A European and Swedish perspective on ICT – policies and strategies in education. National and institutional pathways: crossings, blind alleys and uphill slopes
Henrik Hansson, Carl Holmberg
Pages: 86-90
This paper aims at answering the following questions:
1. What general goals do politicians in Europe express in national policy documents for the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in their education systems? To develop that theme further we explored the situation in our own country Sweden as a case. 2. What policies and strategies for ICT in education do leaders of Swedish higher education institutions develop? 3. How do Swedish national priorities and academic institutional interests match?
The globalisation of education forces different value systems to meet. There is on the national level highly different political values on what kind of education system to prefer – the Scandinavian model and the American model are two extremes. There are also very different values inherent in higher education institutions, the academia, - compared with the values and visions held by the political leaders. These value differences between and within countries are elaborated and discussed. A Swedish, Scandinavian and European perspective is adopted, but a wider international outlook is also given. It is suggested that the value conflicts, often not explicit, understood or recognised, are one of the major inhibitors for systemic change. The direction of change cannot be taken for granted – the driving forces pull in opposing directions. Different visions of the future struggle to be fulfilled.

Regime Conflicts at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
Thomas F. Ruddy
Pages: 91-96
The United Nations opened the first ever World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2003. Per the mandate given to hold WSIS by the ITU in 1998, the event was supposed to focus on using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for development (ICT4D, or “E-Development”). However in this broad field there were many other players besides the ITU and its UN partners, and it proved difficult to induce those existing authorities to cede power to the new venue. The event is scheduled to continue in Tunis in 2005.

Negotiations are the usual form that actors choose for progress on goal to be achieved multilaterally. However WSIS is not a venue for negotiations, but rather a showcase and networking space. This paper strives to apply regime theory and institutional economics to the conflicts that arise when existing regimes are challenged by the ITU and its WSIS partners (including UNESCO and the UN ICT Task Force). The paper presents the interests of four of the other main institutions involved, which more closely reflect those of the United States: the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Group of Eight major industrialized nations (G-8).

WSIS Geneva produced a mandate to UN SG Kofi Annan to set up groups to continue working on the issues of Internet governance and financing, and to report its results to WSIS Tunis. Answers to issues other than Internet governance and financing will have to be sought elsewhere. Nonetheless the emphasis on Internet governance emerging from WSIS Geneva is a confirmation of this paper’s contention that regimes are important.