Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hacking Democracy again

Simon Ardizzone writes in the Guardian of the dangers of electronic voting, currently being piloted in local elections. He argues that, "the technology being used is fundamentally insecure and unreliable".

The idea that the political problem of low turnout is susceptible to a technological fix is facile in the extreme and his conclusion is impeccable:

But what is really bizarre about these pilots is that they invert the normal use of secrecy and openness in elections. You can vote in public using a phone or the internet, where anyone can see your choice and may buy your vote or even tell you how to vote. And yet when it comes to counting, instead of laying the ballots out on a table where everyone can see them, the votes will be counted inside a computer protected by commercial secrecy laws. Imagine a trial where the evidence was heard in secret, but the jury deliberated in public.

Without the privacy of the vote and the openness of a public count, we have no way of knowing if the results really are the will of the people. And without that knowledge, we cannot be certain that we really do have a democracy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re this blog and the libertarian one:If democracy is the will of the people then ultimately the people have the power(so its not bollocks!!!). The questions now are:
How can individuality and identity be balanced with the imperative need for collective and combined action rather than abstentionism,abjugation of responsibility or apathy (and/or any combination of the above)? If the answer isn't found soon,will democracy in this country continue to be eroded (like the polar icecaps)and disintegrating without anyone noticing, until it is too late?