“I represent the generation @”

Interview with the [email protected] Tim Peters

At the virtual political community "Democracy Online Today" (dol2day), a project of five computer science students from Aachen to revive democracy from the spirit of the Internet, there is a permanent election campaign: Every two months, the highly coveted post of the "Internet Chancellor’s" currently newly occupied. The current 5000 members of the community have their hands full to present themselves as suitable candidates to their electorate, to win votes in the form of "Bimbes" and "dol-Points" by instigating and participating in fast-paced chats, grueling discussions ("What do you think about Horst Mahler?") or relevant surveys – on offer, for example: "Are you looking forward to the Wiesn (Oktoberfest)?" – to collect.

Without party support, nothing works, even in cyberspace. So far, the selection is limited to the spectrum of the major parties in RL (Real Life), which, however, are all still represented by the word "Internet" have been decorated: The Christian Democratic Internet Party (CIP) currently has the most followers, which should give the red-green coalition pause for thought. In second place are the net liberals, who want to "Internet the liberals" (IDL) want to incorporate. They are followed by the Grunen im Internet (GIL) and only in fourth place by the Social Democratic Internet Party (SID), which seems to be still rather unorganized, with the "Socialists on the Internet" (SII) are close on their heels.

The first to take office was Tim Peters, who ran for the CIP and since the beginning of July has been fulfilling his duties as a representative of the community. Last week, for example, he was a virtual guest on Sabine Christiansen, where he spoke in a chat after the show on the subject of "Politics – no thanks?" which "Youth on new paths" was allowed to lead.

But the time of the law student at the Humboldt University in Berlin as Internet Chancellor has almost come to an end again – on 1. September stands with dol2day the next choice into on-line house. Stefan Krempl met the 26-year old while he was doing some premature pleasure-walking and networking on the roof of the Reichstag, where the startup networkers of First Tuesday recently held their summer meeting at the instigation of the FDP. In the interview, the dol2day member only referred to as the "General T" The well-known Internet Chancellor gives a first resume of his two-month term in office.

What does an "Internet Chancellor" actually so the dear long day?

Tim Peters: The Internet Chancellor surfs, e-mails and telephones. He also gives interviews – online and in person. And on the side, the chancellor also studies and works.

The term sounds a bit like a marketing ploy. Who elected you and who do you represent??

Tim Peters: I was elected by the participants of the virtual politics platform "Democracy Online Today". In the meantime, more than 5000 users discuss a wide range of political and social ies there. The participants are not representative, but they are a very interesting trend group: young, educated above average, very active on the Internet, very political. This generation @ I represent.

How to make it to the post?

Tim Peters: Like in RL (Real Life): First you have to be nominated as a candidate by your virtual party and then there is an election campaign against the other parties.

Which election goals did you represent – and which of them did you achieve in just under two months??

Tim Peters: "Realize" you can’t do anything as an Internet chancellor without real power. But I can draw attention to the interests of the younger generation: lower online costs, better media education in schools, less regulation, so that Internet startups can operate successfully and the basic scene of the new economy does not move abroad.

Is a chat here and a survey there enough to make (net) politics??

Tim Peters: This is not enough, but it is an important part of network policy. In addition, dol2day is only a political platform and should complement the RL policy, but not replace it.

What did you think about the "mother party" CDU, a "Network against violence" to proclaim? The initiative was not only intended to combat extremism in general, but also very specifically to create a filtering system with a "Blacklist" of websites, which critics have called a violation of freedom of expression on the net and a doctoring of symptoms.

Tim Peters: The same should apply on the Internet as in other areas of society. The Internet is not a lawless space. As elsewhere, freedom of expression applies on the Internet as a matter of course. But criminally relevant content is also forbidden on the Internet. And in a defensible democracy like ours, democratic freedoms should not be abused to fight the free and democratic system.

Also in dol2day neo-Nazis seem to be at the "Taking Power" to work.

Tim Peters: Extremists and radicals are a problem everywhere. Democracy has to cope with radical opinions. On the Internet as well as in RL. Demokraten mussen eben zeigen, dass sie bessere Politik machen und besser die Probleme der Burger losen. It is also important that all democrats stand together against extremists from the right as well as from the left.

There have been infiltration attempts at dol2day. But there are also measures against this, such as the fact that one can no longer register completely anonymously in order to prevent multiple accounts.

Cyberspace actually offered the best opportunity to break up the traditional party structures. How do you explain the fact that the "CIP", the "GII", the "IDL" and the "SIP" only "Copy" of their brothers and sisters are outside the Internet?

Tim Peters: This is simply due to the fact that the inventors of dol2day have made these party structures available at the beginning. Now there is also a chance for re-grounding. Otherwise, the "Internet parties" but not a copy of the RL parties. They have a completely different organizational development and political style.

But that they follow the rough currents of RL politics, I do not find surprising. Why should completely new political currents suddenly arise in the medium of the Internet?? The old currents simply have to adapt to the challenges of the digital society. But the basic political ideals are not redefined by the Internet.

Especially the points around the new economy from the "Paper" of your "[email protected]" sound as if they had been copied from the FDP’s election platform. How do the virtual ones differentiate themselves from the "Real-Life"-Parties?

Tim Peters: To reare you: We have not copied anything from the FDP. If, then we have roughly oriented ourselves to the CDU/CSU. On general policy ies, there may well be agreement with RL parties. Why should you be artfully delineated? I think that would be wrong. Ideas that are right will prevail – in RL as well as in net policy.

Have you shaken hands with the real chancellor yet??

Tim Peters: No, only his process.

What would you like to take away with you when you meet him??

Tim Peters: All parties in Germany still have a lot of work to do in the area of "Internet" We have to do something to create a competitive rival to Silicon Valley in Germany. All parties should agree on this and also cooperate on important fundamental ies.

What could the future of democracy look like on the Internet?? Will we soon all be voting online only, and "Bimbes" collect?

Tim Peters: Internet politics will lead to new forms of communication that will complement, but not replace, traditional politics. Online elections will certainly happen sooner or later. Within the party, the Internet will also open up new participation opportunities for mobile people. The FDP has taken a good step with its virtual state association.

At the moment, the election of the "Network Management Authority" ICANN already a test experiment in global Internet democracy. What do you think about the election of directors by the ICANN members??

Tim Peters: In principle, I think democratic participation is good. Organizationally, there is certainly room for improvement. Starting with the communication of the election process and ending with the regulation of the exact competences of the directors.

Which of the many European candidates would you most like to see on the winner’s podium?

IA: I don’t know who I’m voting for yet. I will have to have a closer look at all the candidates.

What would you most like to do after graduation??

Tim Peters: At first I liked a modern, challenging and international job. And later, with the necessary professional and life experience, I can well imagine entering RL politics.