Not-for-profit organization to share knowledge on how technology is impacting Canadians’ social and political way of life
(Toronto, ON) October 14, 2014 – Delvinia CEO Adam Froman today announced the launch of the Centre for e-Democracy, an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to initiating, translating and disseminating academic research and knowledge on the impact of digital technologies on politics and democracy.
The first of its kind in Canada, the Centre is an industry-led initiative founded by Froman and created with the support of Dr. David Wolfe, Co-Director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. The Centre is designed to become a hub for e-Democracy research, with the aim of increasing access to information about the ways technology is changing opportunities for political participation, the delivery of government services, and the development of policy.
As an entrepreneur and veteran of the Canadian digital industry, Froman’s career has focused on how digital technologies have given choice and control to consumers, which has fundamentally changed the way organizations interact with their customers—and the ways citizens and governments interact with one another. His company, Delvinia, has first-hand experience working with governments like the City of Markham and the City of Guelph, helping the former launch Internet voting in 2003 and working with the latter to develop an Open Government Action Plan, approved by council in September.
“The question is not whether digital technologies are going to change democracy, it is already happening,” said Froman. “There is a lot of innovative work being done in this field in Canada, but it is not being studied. Given the growth and use of digital technologies and the resulting effects on democracy, I believe there is a significant need to provide a balanced and scholarly perspective on the impact of technology on the relationship between government and citizens and the consequences for democratic health.”
The Centre for e-Democracy will encourage and assist academic researchers to study this exciting new area. As Canadian researchers build their reputation within the academic community, the Centre will translate their work and make it readily available for anyone who is seeking knowledge or information. The intent: to make the Centre a hub for e-Democracy research, housing a comprehensive repository of freely available academic reports on a range of topics like Internet voting, open government and intelligent communities; all written in plain, clear language that is easy to understand.
Nicole Goodman, PhD, has been hired as the Centre’s Research Director. Goodman authored Delvinia’s report on Internet voting in 2011 and is currently part of two SSHRC-funded projects in this field. She is also an Assistant Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs.
“While the Centre is an industry-led initiative and has been developed outside of the university framework, creating relationships to support research with academic institutions across the country will be key to the success of the Centre,” Froman said, noting that one of the Centre’s first projects will be the translation and dissemination of the Internet Voting Project, led by Goodman.
The research study, which is currently under way, looks at the upcoming Ontario municipal elections and will survey voters, candidates, and election administrators in 47 of the 97 municipalities that are offering Internet voting in this month’s elections. The Centre will release the results of this study in a public report in January 2015.
For more information about the Centre and its work, please visit the organization’s website at centreforedemocracy.com.
About the Centre for e-Democracy The Centre for e-Democracy is a registered charity and a not-for-profit organization dedicated to initiating, translating and disseminating research and knowledge on the impact of digital technologies on politics and democracy. Founded by Delvinia CEO Adam Froman, the Centre is the first of its kind in Canada and will be a hub for e-Democracy research with aim of making a real, practical impact on Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of the use of technology in society and politics. For more information, or to donate to the organization, please visit centreforedemocracy.com.
About the Internet Voting Project The Internet Voting Project, led by Nicole Goodman, seeks to shed light on the effects of Internet voting on elections by surveying voters, candidates, and election administration in Ontario municipalities that offer Internet voting in the October 2014 elections. Survey questions will probe voting histories, political attitudes, thoughts about Internet voting and the election experience, opinions about changes to the local campaign, knowledge and use of computers, and access to and familiarity with the Internet, among other items. For more information, please visit internetvotingproject.com.