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Resumen: The issue of whether or not the Internet has an impact on democracy depends on a good understanding of the Internet world and how it is structured. The Internet is a network of networks, made by a multi-layered structure, where each different layer (physical, logical, and of content) has different characteristics and is governed by different regulations. This approach shows us that the Internet (and Cyberspace at large) does not imply a tension between traditional expressions of sovereignty and new models of networked political organization. On the contrary, the Internet itself is based on this juxtaposition that underlies all the possible forms of digital democracy. These forms of digital democracy (substantial, formal, and informational) are not based on a systematic and theoretical rethinking of the idea of democracy, they are instead conditioned by the digitization of reality, which disaggregates traditional institutional organizations, reshapes outlets of communication, redistributes informational resources, shifts power to new actors, and recombines all those elements into novel social and political forms. However, at variance with any deterministic approach to technology, the impact of the Internet and, more generally, of the information and communication technologies on society cannot foster a real process of democratization by itself, if some standards and conditions related to the life-cycle of information (access to information, production of filters of relevance and reliability, generation of informed public opinion, participation into unpopular deliberative processes, etc.) are not successfully fulfilled. The aim here is to counter the risk of drifting towards revamped forms of populism, which might be driven by both traditional and networked forms of mass-communication.
Palabras clave: Internet. Regulation of Cyberspace. Digital Democracy. Information and Communication Technologies. User-generated Content. Unpopularity.