Citizens, the Internet, and Terrorism Information

Citizens, the Internet, and Terrorism Information

Christopher G. Reddick (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-834-5.ch007
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This chapter examines the role that citizens play when using the internet for gathering information. It is vital to understand the use of the Internet by citizens to address the issue of access to homeland security information. This chapter also provides information on how terrorism information is presented online and citizens’ use of this information is discussed. Jones, Hackney, and Irani (2007) believe that the key to the successful development of e-government is its citizens. There needs to be efforts to engage citizens in the adoption of e-government. These authors believe that this engagement will truly create a transformation of e-government that was envisioned by earlier writers in the field. This chapter discusses this level of engagement and shows that citizens are the least likely to use Internet for homeland security information if a terrorist attack occurs. Existing research on the adoption of e-government tends to focus on the supply of e-government in terms of the breadth and sophistication of government Websites. However, Streib and Navarro (2006) have examined the role the internet plays in public organizations using public opinion data, examining the demand for e-government. There is a need for more research on the demand for e-government and that is the focus of this chapter. The argument made in this chapter is that you need to understand citizens, and why they go online, to more effectively cater homeland security information to their needs. This chapter first discusses the important issue of the digital divide, the disparity between those that have Internet access and those that do not. This is followed by a discussion of citizen trust and satisfaction with e-government Websites. Followed this, there is a discussion of the citizen-initiated contacts literature as a framework that helps us understand why citizens contact government for information and services.

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