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ERIC Number: ED512452
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Who's Who in Internet Politics: A Taxonomy of Information Technology Policy
Atkinson, Robert D.
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
A decade ago, before the tech boom collapsed and the digital economy bubble burst, it seemed to some that issues surrounding information technology (IT) might be central to the politics of the early 21st century. But after September 11, 2001, with so much else on everyone's minds, "digital politics" seemed a boring sideshow. Technocrats, techno-wonks, and computer engineers argued over such issues as the finer points of open source versus proprietary software, while the rest used the Internet in peace. Recently, however, digital politics have made a comeback, with associated issues in the media constantly and before Congress seemingly every week. The debate over IT policy issues does not take place in a vacuum or only in the corridors of Congress. From think tanks to trade associations to single-issue advocacy groups, a proliferation of organizations fights to shape digital policy debates. The paper presents a field guide to help the reader understand the politics of IT. It describes the major groups of players in the IT policy debate and discusses how they differ along two key dimensions shaping policy: individual empowerment vs. societal benefit; and laissez-faire vs. government regulation. It then uses four timely and important policy cases (privacy, taxation, copyright protection, and net neutrality) to illuminate how these politics play out today in the United States. While primarily focused on American digital politics, this framework is not entirely unique to the United States. (Contains 9 endnotes.)
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. 1101 K Street NW Suite 610, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-449-1351; Fax: 202-638-4922; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation