Govnews Project Takes Democracy Into Cyberspace

March 18, 1997

The International GovNews Project has announced a special government category on the Internet's Usenet news system. The creation of this new category lays the groundwork for the wide, cost-effective electronic dissemination and discussion by topic of large amounts of public government information.

Through the Usenet system, GovNews will be distributed through thousands of linked Internet servers throughout the U.S. and the world. Millions of people will now be able to follow and comment on government activity in selected areas of interest without extensive surfing on the Web. Schools, businesses and households, without powerful computers and high-speed connections, will now be able to use less complex systems to get rapid access to federal agency information through newsgroup servers located right in their own communities.

The project is the result of a collaborative effort between international public and private sector volunteers seeking to make government more open and accessible to the people.

"The U.S. government is taking a leadership role in providing a technology that could change the face of democracy around the world," said Vice President Al Gore in a letter about the effort.

Usenet news is a broadcast technology somewhat analogous to the Associated Press (AP) newswire service. Reporters from the AP or from newspapers supply information to the AP network which is in turn redistributed by newspapers across the country. Likewise, messages sent to Usenet from authorized sources or from individual users are broadcast to more than 200,000 servers worldwide which in turn supply messages to tens of millions of individual users.

"If the World Wide Web is the Internet's library, Usenet is its newspaper," said Preston Rich, NSF's FinanceNet Executive Director and leader of the International GovNews Project. "For the first time, the GovNews newsgroups on Usenet will facilitate the delivery of government information to your cyberspace doorstep."

According to Rich, official notices, news, announcements, reports and publications from government agencies will be sent to a beginning set of more than 200 new specialized newsgroups.

"The newsgroups are logically organized by topic from privatization, procurements and emergency alerts to toxic waste and marine resources, and include the capability to discuss such information," he said. "GovNews is just keystrokes away."

While active on the World Wide Web for some time, governments have not until now been able to use the special advantages of the Usenet system. The strength of Usenet has been its capability to rapidly deliver important new information, news and announcements, organized by topic, direct to users through a wide network of Internet servers. Usenet also provides an efficient forum for public discussions on topics of interest.

In addition to the efficient dissemination of government news by topic, GovNews also opens new opportunities for developing public participation and discussion of government news by topic, while providing for important citizen feedback to government administrators.

"GovNews can be today's 'town meeting', where it is easy for anyone to participate," Rich said.

National Science Foundation

Related Internet Articles from Brightsurf:

Towards an unhackable quantum internet
Harvard and MIT researchers have found a way to correct for signal loss with a prototype quantum node that can catch, store and entangle bits of quantum information.

Swimming toward an 'internet of health'?
In recent years, the seemingly inevitable 'internet of things' has attracted considerable attention: the idea that in the future, everything in the physical world -- machines, objects, people -- will be connected to the internet.

Everything will connect to the internet someday, and this biobattery could help
In the future, small paper and plastic devices will be able to connect to the internet for a short duration, providing information on everything from healthcare to consumer products, before they are thrown away.

Your body is your internet -- and now it can't be hacked
Purdue University engineers have tightened security on the 'internet of body.' Now, the network you didn't know you had is only accessible by you and your devices, thanks to technology that keeps communication signals within the body itself.

What's next for smart homes: An 'Internet of Ears?'
A pair of electrical engineering and computer science professors in Cleveland, Ohio, have been experimenting with a new suite of smart-home sensors.

Child-proofing the Internet of Things
As many other current, and potentially future, devices can connect to the Internet researchers are keen to learn more about how so called IoT devices could affect the privacy and security of young people.

Quantum internet goes hybrid
ICFO researchers report the first demonstration of an elementary link of a hybrid quantum information network, using a cold atomic cloud and a doped crystal as quantum nodes as well as single telecom photons as information carriers.

Connecting up the quantum internet
Major leap for practical building blocks of a quantum internet: Published in Nature Physics, new research from an Australian team demonstrates how to dramatically improve the storage time of a telecom-compatible quantum memory, a vital component of a global quantum network.

Internet searches for suicide after '13 Reasons Why'
Internet searches about suicide were higher than expected after the release of the Netflix series '13 Reasons Why' about the suicide of a fictional teen that graphically shows the suicide in its finale, according to a new research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Weaponizing the internet for terrorism
Writing in the International Journal of Collaborative Intelligence, researchers from Nigeria suggest that botnets and cyber attacks could interfere with infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, and power supply to as devastating an effect as the detonation of explosives of the firing of guns.

Read More: Internet News and Internet Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to