Politics and Technology in the Post-Truth Era

Cover of Politics and Technology in the Post-Truth Era
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Synopsis

Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xix
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Abstract

Democracy requires free speech, but the channels for free speech and communication vary across time and place. With reference to ongoing democratization processes, or to potential ruptures inside of authoritarian regimes, the role of mass communication, both by means of the conventional press and the internet, is an unavoidable topic of study.

The chapter examines the specificities of the internet as a “public sphere” for processes of regime transition, notably its transnational character, its potential for informal communication, its interactive character, the networking capacity it creates, and its medium-term political socialization potential. It also covers new censorship strategies designed by states to limit the freedom of the internet.

The role of the internet in fostering democratization in four African cases (Tunisia, Egypt, Angola, and Zimbabwe) is then studied, namely by considering material infrastructures, underlying socio-cultural conditions, and the efforts made by governments to curb its political effects.

The conclusion discusses the potential of the internet for fostering the breakup of authoritarian regimes and subsequent democratization processes, with reference to the African cases studied.

Abstract

In the last few years, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media have become increasingly relevant to politicians and political parties alike, often used to issue statements or campaigning, among others. At the same time, many citizens have become more involved in politics, partly due to the highly interactive and social environments that the social networking services (SNS) provide. Political events flow through these networks, influencing their users; such events, however, often start offline (outside the online platform) and are, therefore, hard to track. Event studies, a methodology often used in financial and economic studies, can be translated to social networks to help modeling the effect of external events in the network. In the present case, the event study methodology is applied to two sample cases: the tariff war between the United States and China, with multiple responses and retaliations from both sides, and the Brexit referendum. In both cases, the Twitter social networks that arise from users who discuss the respective subjects are analyzed to examine how political events shape and modify the network. Results show how event studies, combined with the possibilities offered by the ICTs both in data retrieval and analysis, can be applied to understand the effect of external political events, allowing researchers to quantitatively track, observe, and analyze the spread of political information over social network platforms. This is a first step toward obtaining a better understanding on how political messages are diffused over social networks and their effects in the network structures and behaviors.

Abstract

This chapter examines the peculiarities of the Belarusian socio-political model and its internal contradictions, which are becoming increasingly significant enhanced in the context of the new information and communication reality. The authors describe the information environment and the current political situation in Belarus. This chapter examines the factors behind the intensification of socio-political communications. The authors note the increased role of authorities in the online information domain. Particular focus is placed on the new role of social media, opinion leaders, activists, and bloggers. This chapter includes case studies detailing how exactly information technologies and online communication contribute to the formation of a new socio-political agenda in the country. Key examples relate to situations where, owing to extensive public engagement and support for online appeals, it became possible to use mechanisms of legitimate influence on government decision-making and bring to account officials responsible for concealing information. The authors emphasize the importance of information and communication technologies when it comes to external political challenges.

Abstract

Given the maturation of the internet and virtual communities, an important emerging issue in the humanities and social sciences is how to accurately analyze the vast quantity of documents on public and social network websites. Therefore, this chapter integrates political blogs and news articles to develop a public mood dynamic prediction model for the stock market, while referencing the behavioral finance perspective and online political community characteristics. The goal of this chapter is to apply a big data and opinion mining approach to a sentiment analysis for the relationship between political status and economic development in Taiwan. The proposed model is verified using experimental datasets collected from ChinaTimes.com, cnYES.com, Yahoo stock market news, and Google stock market news, covering the period from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. The empirical results indicate the accuracy rate with which the proposed model forecasts stock prices.

Abstract

This chapter examines the ways social media, analytics, and disruptive technologies are combined and leveraged by political campaigns to increase the probability of victory through micro-targeting, voter engagement, and public relations. More specifically, the importance of community detection, social influence, natural language processing and text analytics, machine learning, and predictive analytics is assessed and reviewed in relation to political campaigns. In this context, data processing is examined through the lens of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) effective as of May 25, 2018. It is concluded that while data processing during political campaigns does not violate the GDPR, electoral campaigns engage in surveillance, thereby violating Articles 12 and 19, in respect to private life, and freedom of expression accordingly, as stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the compliance of some category of Open Data in Politics with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements. After clarifying the legal basis of this framework, with specific attention to the processing procedures that conform to the legitimate interests pursued by the data controller, including open data licenses or anonymization techniques, that can result in partial application of the GDPR, but there is no generic guarantee, and, as a consequence, an appropriate process of analysis and management of risks is required.

Abstract

This chapter focuses on a critical issue in cyber intelligence in the United States (US) that concerns the engagement of state-owned or state-controlled entities with overseeing citizen’s activity in cyberspace. The emphasis in the discussion is placed on the constitutionality of state actions and the shifting boundaries in which the state can act in the name of security to protect its people from the nation’s enemies. A second piece of this discussion is which state actors and agencies can control the mechanisms by which this sensitive cyber information is collected, stored, and if needed, acted upon. The most salient case with regard to this debate is that of Edward Snowden. It reveals the US government’s abuses of this surveillance machinery prompting major debates around the topics of privacy, national security, and mass digital surveillance. When observing the response to Snowden’s disclosures one can ask what point of view is being ignored, or what questions are not being answered. By considering the silence as a part of our everyday language we can improve our understanding of mediated discourses. Recommendations on cyber-intelligence reforms in response to Snowden’s revelations – and whether these are in fact practical in modern, high-technology societies such as the US – follow.

Abstract

After the ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden1 disclosures of the National Security Agency surveillance of Americans’ online and phone communications, the Pew Research Center2 administrated a panel survey to collect data concerning Americans’ opinions about privacy and security. This survey has mixed types of qualitative questions (closed and open-ended). In this context, to our knowledge, until today, no research has been applied on the open-ended part of these data. In this chapter, first the authors present their findings from applying sentiment analysis and topic extraction methods; second, the authors demonstrate their analysis to sentiments polarities; and finally, the authors interpret the semantic relationships between topics and their associated negativity, positivity, and neutral sentiments.

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to outline the problem of information security in Russia and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries since 2000. It demonstrates the specifics of Russian propaganda in the CEE, which visibly poses a security threat to those countries. To address this issue, the authors present the evolution of Russian information policy, propaganda, its tools and instruments (traditional and social media), and examine the mechanisms of exerting social influence used in practice in the CEE countries. The authors discuss the implications of Russia’s information war with the West and for the CEE states’ domestic problems, which provide vast opportunities for Russian activity in the region. Changes in information policy and information management are bound to a revision of Russian foreign policy. The authors assumed that the information war in the CEE is not directed toward the countries of this region but rather aims to weaken the West, especially the European Union. Moreover, there is a need to speak out about the rise of populism and extremist movements exploited through Russian media influence to undermine regional stability and weaken state authorities. Additionally, it is suggested more attention should be paid to education and public awareness. The lack of new media literacy skills, together with the combination of populism and pro-Russia business links in the CEE states, will increase their vulnerabilities to more risks than information security.

Abstract

The Internet and digital technologies have become part of our life, essential for a lot of daily activities and new powerful means of communication as well, able to invigorate the traditional forms of interaction between citizens and public institutions. The chapter examines their spread across the European Union, and particularly in Romania, and their potential to promote transparency and accountability within the public institutions, to fight against corruption and to expand citizens’ social mobilization. Even if Romania has much to do to provide quality online public services, to increase the efficiency in public administration, and to improve the communication between citizens and institutions, the examples and best practices mentioned in the chapter highlight the potential of ICT both as anti-corruption and participatory tools.

Abstract

Virtual currency is a digital representation of value that is neither issued by a central bank or a public authority. Its reliability is based on advanced cryptographic methods which provide privacy and confidence to citizens. Virtual currency and its underlying technologies such as blockchain or smart contracts trigger transformation in many areas of the society’s functioning. The way in which social relations occur and economic transactions are managed are changing forever. As a result, cryptocurrencies constitute a good example of how specific technology may lead to substantial transformation of the world. Still, virtual currencies could benefit from the versatility of collaborative communication of social media and Internet to promote and develop new commerce and business initiatives as well as new forms of financial flow managements. The objective of this chapter is to examine the role played by virtual currencies in modern societies in order to describe potential uses and applications and their impact on politics and social behavior. As a result, recommendations are inferred to address the challenges and opportunities of these new technologies.

Abstract

Global mass communications and advances in new information and telecommunication technology present a new challenge to the traditional way of conducting international relations. While the mode of conducting diplomacy is changing, diplomats are forced to communicate with many new actors in the international stage through new means of communication. The chapter overviews the existing digital diplomacy research reports. Against this backdrop it presents the outcomes of a 2017–2018 study of communication strategies employed by six countries of the Western Balkans, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The findings of the study give a first-hand data from the practical point of view on how, which, and to which extent digital tools are utilized as a tool of digital tools are utilized as a tool of digital diplomacy by the official communicators of ministries of foreign affairs (MFA) in the researched region.

Abstract

As the Web 2.0 induces changes in human relationships, several implications across issues and domains of socio-economic life follow; politics is one of them. In the context of Web 2.0, social media have established themselves as a part of citizen’s daily routine. Hence, social media have a direct impact on politics today. This chapter examines this phenomenon and its implications for politics by tracing and examining the recent initiative launched by Rede Globo aimed at collecting citizens’ views and visions on Brazil’s future. “The Brazil I Want” project sought to encourage citizens to publish videos featuring their visions and views of Brazil’s future. Thousands of citizens used this opportunity to express their concerns and hopes related to the future of their cities and their country. This chapter seeks to make sense of it in two ways. First, it explores to what extent and how social media can serve as source of information. Here the concepts and tools of big data and data mining are employed. Second, it inquiries into what people currently think about their country. By bringing these two research perspectives together, this chapter argues that effective ways of resolving issues and concerns the citizens thus voiced exist to the benefit of the efficiency of the policymaking process and the society’s wellbeing.

Abstract

Increasingly, Open Government Data (OGD), a philosophy and set of policies, gains on momentum today. Believed to promote transparency, accountability and value creation by making government data available to all (OECD, 2018), OGD constitutes a yet another field in which the interlocking relation between technological advances and politics can be studied. Using the national OGD portal of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (http://www.data.gov.sa/en) as a case study, this evaluates the portal to underline the significance of maintaining the quality of the data sets published online. The usability framework (Machova, Hub, & Lnenicka 2018) constitutes the framework for evaluation of the OGD portal. The findings suggest that there are many drivers to re-use the data sets published via the portal. At the same time, however, there are barriers to re-use the data sets on account of the non-publication of updated data sets. Implicitly, quality of the data sets should be improved. More involvement of the government agencies is required for contributing toward the data sets. Also, user involvement should be promoted by encouraging them to contribute to the data sets and lending recommendations for the improvisation of the data sets published via the portal.

Abstract

Electronic transactions play a substantial role in many automated transactions in government organizations. The introduction of e-government is key as among other benefits it will raise the quality and transparency, and reduce the corruption that may occur especially in money. Saudi Arabia is considered one of the G20 countries. These countries seek to maintain the international financial stability, where Saudi Arabia has an economic weight to influence the global economy. Through this chapter, we will understand the various benefits both socially and economically that the government of Saudi Arabia is reaping through the introduction of e-government. It is these impacts that have had a significant influence on the global market regarding economic impacts. To better understand this, we evaluate the various applications that have been included in the e-government to foster these establishments. Among them includes Yesser, Tadawul, Absher and the national contact center. From them, the government is enjoying various benefits that will raise them high the economic scale globally. Also, the author looks at the strategies that have been put in place by that particular government to ensure that e-government is established as planned.

Abstract

Top management support is recognized as the most critical factor for the success of large information system (IS) projects. However, getting this support is often difficult, because top management has multiple priorities and one has to compete with others to obtain such support. Political maneuvering is thus an integral and necessary part of the process of obtaining top management support. In this chapter the authors review current research on this topic and organize and synthesize our findings into a framework. The authors then propose four specific strategies which can be used to obtain top management support, including the following: (1) social capital, (2) social engagement, (3) rational persuasion, and (4) exchange strategies. While the authors argue that all four strategies should be applied, the specific circumstances in which they should be applied vary. A two-stage process is proposed that identifies the appropriate criteria for determining the most appropriate strategy. The criteria are: (1) the type of top management support needed (i.e., durable vs immediate) and (2) the level of top management-project team trust (i.e., high vs low).

Abstract

Considering the dynamic correlation between advances in information and communication technology (ICT) and contemporary politics, this chapter provides an economist insight into the role of ICT in the global economy. It is argued that the analysis of the relationship between ICT and politics would be incomplete if the direct and indirect influence ICT exerts on international economy was not considered. This chapter examines the features of the international trade in ICT seen as a complex reflection of the current stage of liberalization achieved at the forum of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and subsequent spillovers to other domains of economic and political collaboration worldwide. It is argued that ICT and its development not only result in the “shrinking of the distance” in the world economy but also stimulate economic liberalization, further reshuffling production from more- to less-advanced economies and, finally, help to overcome trade imbalances on the global scale. In brief, a case is made that ICT creates the conditions conducive to the enhancement of international political and economic collaboration.

Index

Pages 287-299
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Cover of Politics and Technology in the Post-Truth Era
DOI
10.1108/9781787569836
Publication date
2019-05-07
Book series
Emerald Studies in Politics and Technology
Editors
Series copyright holder
Editors
ISBN
978-1-78756-984-3
eISBN
978-1-78756-983-6