Dragging Congress to 2.0

May 30 2008 / by AllyKlimkoski / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government   Year: 2008   Rating: 16 Hot

Cross-posted from futuremajority.com

A few times this year bloggers got the wild hair to start talking about the potential we have to bring more people to our government by making Congress more 2.0 friendly.

It started way back in March, when Matt Stoller at Open Left went off about Franking Rules. Franking Rules are Congressional regulations that limit what members of Congress can do in outreach to their constituents. Sometimes too much outreach from a Congressional office can be seen as “campaigning” and the Franking Rules protect taxpayers from essentially paying for campaigns and creating an unfair advantage for incumbents. Since I heard about them, I’ve not stopped thinking about their implications. Well, in reality I had been thinking about it before that back when Obama’s campaign announced that it would make the Chief Technology Officer a cabinet position.

The problem in Congress is that our Franking Rules were last updated back in 1998 before google, before mapquest and google earth, before DailyKos, before an age when people actually had access to information and their Representatives literally at their fingertips. Thus they are out of step with where we are today, not to mention the potential for the future, and it continues to grow by leaps and bounds too quickly.

While I’ll agree that Congress’s use of technology is better than they it used to be, there is still a huge lack of availability for our members to use technology to create cheaper, more connected, and more transparent relationships with their constituents.

Franking Rules state that unless you’re in the leadership you can’t use anything outside the House/Senate firewall. So, YouTube is technically not ok (even though most members are pushing the envelope), no Facebook, or Myspace… nothing… (cont.)

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Regulatory Virtual Worlds Backlash on the Horizon?

May 13 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

The broader Second Life consumer backlash that many predicted for 2007 (and actually occurred) may pale in comparison to the regulatory backlash coming in late 2008 or 2009.

Marking what could well be the first resounding shot in a full-fledged war on virtual worlds, and rich online environments in general, US House Representative Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) extended his crusade against online predators to the rapidly growing virtual world of Second Life , calling for “common sense reforms” that would make it harder for predators to intermingle with youngsters.

Coming on the heels of a Congressional hearing on the positives and negatives of virtual worlds , Kirk’s recent remarks are the most negative to date by a U.S. legislator and marks a serious push to regulate new digital terrain, especially during a presidential election year that looks to pit young vs. old, innovation vs. conservativism.

In a May 11 interview with a local news channel Kirk presented Second Life as “one of the fastest growing websites on the planet” adding that he’s worried “that they don’t properly screen for children.” “Parents should be more aware of this,” he said. (cont.)

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