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Faculty: Nolan Bowie
In a viable democracy, citizens must not only be sufficiently informed and effectively engaged in the process of self-governance and self-government, but must also be reasonably free of both government and private sector surveillance, from excessive propaganda, disinformation, censorship and manipulation. In the 21st century they ought to have ready access to affordable communications facilities, networks and to tools and skills necessary to empower themselves and their communities democratically. The course will examine various assumptions concerning the digital age and information society, First Amendment law and practice, intellectual property, minority viewpoints and will examine access opportunities and barriers (winners and losers), and,media justice issues, generally. Does government have an affirmative role to produce and deploy information and communication products, services, applications, and infrastructure as public services and public goods, when there is market failure or compelling societal reasons for doing so, or not? If so, what compelling societal reasons would justify government intervention and what are the tipping points of market failure necessary to justify and provoke effective government action -- national defense rationale, public interest rationale, human rights and/or civil liberties rationale, sustainable development rationale, global competitiveness rationale, global warming, etc.? The role of social and community mesh networks, crowd sourcing news, immersive education, e-government, e-democracy, censorship, the Internet of things, and the disruptive nature of new technology and constant change will be discussed in the context of democratic values, institutions and procedures.