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UK Govt calls for e-democracy

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The Government has called upon the IT and Internet communities to come up with new ways to encourage online democracy.

In a major announcement today e-commerce minister, Douglas Alexander, said he wanted technology to empower people to give them a voice other than the few seconds they have in the voting booth once every four or five years.

In a move that surely signals the coming of age of Mr Alexander and his Government team he warned that it would not be an easy task.

But he recognised that technology could be used to strengthen the democratic process in a way that could benefit the interests of the whole nation.

Addressing the Democracy in the Information Age Conference, Mr Alexander said: "Getting people back into the democratic process is a huge challenge.

"New technology will help to empower people, encouraging them into and, strengthening the democratic process.

"I believe it is time to put e-democracy on the information age agenda and, for governments to set out what they mean by e-democracy and how they intend to use the power of technology to strengthen democracy."

He went on: "We must open up new democratic channels, through which government and representatives can relate to citizens.

"We must make citizens feel democratically empowered beyond their few seconds in the polling booth," he said.

Which is all very well, but will he and his fellow ministers actually take any bloody notice and listen? ®

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