Federal Communications Commission

Civic Engagement in the 21st Century

March 2nd, 2010 by Eugene Huang - Government Operations Director

As someone who has spent a significant amount of my career in the tech industry, I cannot tell you how optimistic I am about the future of civic engagement. This optimism was made even greater by my visit to MIT yesterday. While there, I had the opportunity to tour their Media Lab and see first hand some of the forward leaning, innovative uses of broadband that will help to transform how citizens engage. The Media Lab is working on important issues, especially when it comes to thinking about technology and its future impact on society. That is why I’m particularly grateful to have been invited by MIT’s Center for Civic Media to participate in today’s symposium entitled “The Future of Civic Engagement in a Broadband-Enabled World.”

The implications for civic participation as broadband becomes ubiquitous are enormous. Here at the FCC, we’ve spent the last few months poring over the extensive record on the issue. The working recommendations that we have developed for the National Broadband Plan will harness this potential and move the nation towards governance that is more open, accountable and participatory. These recommendations aim to increase the public’s access to both mediated and unmediated information, and to make greater use of broadband-enabled technologies and tools to provide greater and higher quality ways for citizens to engage their government and each other.

We’ve organized our work into five areas:

  1. Creating an open and transparent government.
  2. Developing a robust digital public media ecosystem.
  3. Expanding civic engagement through social media.
  4. Bringing innovation to government.
  5. Modernizing democratic processes.

I hope that you will share your feedback on the speech that I will be giving at the symposium (see remarks below), and offer a few ideas of your own

[Read the full speech here.]

Update: video from the symposium


One Response to “Civic Engagement in the 21st Century”

  1. David Liroff says:

    Greatly appreciated your keynote at MIT last night, would appreciate your thoughts on the relationship between aspirations for civic participation as broadband becomes ubiquitous, and the Commission's explorations of reclaiming broadcast spectrum for broadband use, which would limit free over-the-air access for those who are still on the "dark side" of the digital divide.

    David Liroff
    (formerly CTO at WGBH/Boston and SVP at CPB)

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