Risk Regulation Regimes of Radio Frequency Information Technology

Risk Regulation Regimes of Radio Frequency Information Technology

Joshua M. Steinfeld (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch618
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A pinnacle in e-governance was reached with the development of information systems that utilize radio frequency technologies. For example, Radio Frequency (RF) towers’ capabilities as communication and monitoring devices enable efficiency maximization and real-time solutions. Also, Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) allows for quick and reliable information processing for purposes of tracking and surveillance. There are several advantages to government’s use of Radio Frequency Information Technology (RADFIT) such as the ability to quickly communicate across a wide range of global positioning systems, management of communication portals, and survey of visitors entering secure environments in the case of millimeter wave scanning.

The main issue with the use of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Wave (RFEMW) technologies is balancing the benefits provided from implementing the RADFIT systems with the environmental effects of electromagnetism. Regulation of technologies is controversial as agencies and stakeholders struggle to weigh benefits and costs. Hood et al. (2001) presents a framework for understanding regulatory policy domains by classifying benefits and costs of Information Technology (IT) sciences according to competing political systems: interest group, entrepreneurial, client, and majoritarian. The interaction of these political context elements influences the corresponding risk regulation regimes, namely the ideologies and activities of IT systems consumers, producers, and regulatory bodies. By examining risk regulation regimes of the RADFIT sphere, public policy implications and future research directions emerge that may improve participatory confidence and informational effectiveness while mitigating threats to communities.

The main purpose of the manuscript is to discuss RADFIT risk regulation regimes and RFEMW issues more broadly in addition to touch upon community engagement and public management alternatives. Political context elements of risk regulation regimes are presented first. According to the interest group political system, incrementalism and the status quo are introduced as encumbrances to policy change. Lack of organization in the public policy arena limits viable alternatives and contributes to government lethargy. The entrepreneurial system, indicative of rational choice and new public management, is subsequently discussed as the prompt and elicitor of RADFIT solutions. Modernism and progression serve as societal themes that steer entrepreneurialism in IT and public sector activities in general. Next, the client system, involving administrative responsibility, is highlighted as the regime offering the most potential for bureaucratic discretion and inquiry. The opportunities for interaction between regulatory agencies and resident stakeholders, creates inconsistencies and marginalization of particular societal participants. Then, the majoritarian system, serving as the basis for democratic forms of governance, is detailed so as to review the unresolved paradoxes involved in representative decision rules such as voting. Second, community leadership initiatives, despite the obstacles posed by political context elements, are illustrated to show the current state of organized opposition to RADFIT proposals. Recommendations and areas for further research follow in an attempt to consolidate diffuse community efforts.

There are several objectives of this entry. The controversy over RADFIT solutions is examined to explain how political context elements dictate risk regulation regimes of the RFEMW sphere. This entry aims to provide an overview of the bureaucratic considerations underlying RADFIT guidelines and public policy as well as the response by communities. Public administration theory and recommendations for future action provide frameworks for additional policy analysis. The goal is not to provide a comprehensive review of the RFEMW regulatory arena but instead to illuminate indicators that create the onset and resonance of various risk regulation regimes of RADFIT applications along with implications for communities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Postmodernism: A new consideration in public administration that tends to ignore productivity and profitability constraints in favor of more humanistic indicators of preference.

Risk Regulation Regime: Ideological and narrative underpinnings of the regulatory framework governing specific public policy issues.

Bounded Rationality: The cognitive limitations of decision-makers and the arbitrary underpinning of the advocacy coalition approach.

New Public Management: An emphasis on privatization and outsourcing in order to maximize profitability and optimize resource allocation.

Advocacy Coalition: A group of like-minded policy participants and stakeholders that seek policy change through lobbying and communication with policy makers.

Rational Choice: Policy analysts make decisions that maximize public value while minimizing the cost of such benefits.

Stasis: Public policy issues reach a stalemate where the political context elements underlying risk regulation regimes are unable to influence effective policy change.

Public Choice Theory: A theoretical proposition that explains policy participant and stakeholder hesitancy despite shared common interests.

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