Digital Democracy

Digital Democracy

One of the motions proposed but not debated at the CLPD AGM was called “Digital Democracy & the need for greater voter participation”. It’s quite long at over 550 words and I planned to speak against it, by saying something like,

This motion, despite its length, says only two things: that we’ve read Corbyn/Barbrook’s Digital Democracy Manifesto and that we approve of a digital identity card as part of a system of access to e-voting in public elections.

I have read the manifesto and believe it is flawed, most importantly in it postpones the consideration of what human rights looks like in an age of the ultimate surveillance machine until after the election of a Labour Government, when it proposes a consultation. It proposes a People’s Charter of Digital Liberties but makes no mention of the work other campaigners for digital liberty have done in defining new Human Rights needs in a connected world and old Rights that need defending. These campaigning bodies include Liberty, the Open Rights Group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Labour’s members on the European Parliament’s LIBE committee.

But we can’t talk about e-voting without talking about Estonia, the poster child of e-voting, and its failed audits, and its proof that e-voting does not increase turnout, and its alleged failure to meet European data protection standards.

We can’t talk about e-voting without talking about the Surveillance State and its private corporate arm. It’s bad enough that the datenkraken can use our phones to spy on us, but I suppose the fact that the US government has access via them to all they know perhaps should reassure us that there is no risk to making a short cut to British Intelligence of our internet usage records, they already have it.

We can’t talk about e-voting without talking about the digital divide.

We can’t talk about e-voting without looking at whether the ERS removed votes from the 2015 Labour Leadership elections, a fact if true showing the vulnerability of the “transparency of the result” to insider attack.

We can’t talk about e-voting without talking about Russia’s interference in the US, British elections and the Brexit referendum through their advanced hacking capability.

We can’t talk about e-voting without noting that Verify, the current Government identity portal has been criticised as a failure by the Public Accounts Committee and now looks likely to be privatised.

We can’t talk about e-voting without looking at the fundamental criticisms of such systems, that they are hard to build, and it may be impossible to resolve the conflict between having a transparent result and a secret ballot; this is before we address the issues of coercion,  impersonation and 2nd party verification i.e. how to implement polling/counting agents in a proprietary software system.

In the US, engineers and electoral administrators are developing the systems to make this easier, requiring physical receipts of the cast vote, which are then electronically counted with statistical control samples manually counted.

This motion is technically premature at best and otherwise dangerous populist nonsense.

Please remit or oppose.

ooOOOoo

Interestingly, DARPA have announced an e-voting proof of concept, I am pointed at it by Bruce Schneier. …

A deal, pining for the Fjords

This [Brexit] deal is not pining for the fjords, it is deceased. “‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!”

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Rules

I have from time to time argued that Labour’s Rule book should not be used as weapon, so unlike sailing. Here’s an America’s Cup start where the boats plot for space and position as much to disadvantage their opponents as to be in the right position for the course they want to steer,

  …

What now for Labour?

From Composite 1, #lab16

…. believes that unless the final settlement proves to be acceptable then the option of retaining EU membership should be retained. The final settlement should therefore be subject to approval, through Parliament and potentially through a general election, or a referendum.

This is Labour’s Conference Policy .. frankly I’d take any means of remaining now that we know the only terms available are unacceptable but I believe a lot of people would be very unhappy if Parliament instructed the Government to Revoke the A50 notice without a popular vote despite the fact that this Parliament’s mandate is more recent than the  Referendum. …

Is this the 2nd step to remain?

Carole Cadwalladr reports that the so-called “Bad Boys of Brexit” have been lobbying the Italian Government to veto an extension to the A50 notice period. If they succeed, our only response can be to call for a revoking of the Article 50 notice.

If you look at the thread, she also points at “Putin’s party signs deal with Italy’s far-right Lega Nord” in the FT which documents the Lega Nord’s relationship with Putin’s “United Russia”, which let’s face it has a pretty cool logo but their politics cannot be considered to be for the betterment of the British or other European peoples. …

Hiring Smart

This passed me by on my LinkedIn feed. They quote Steve Jobs as saying something allegedly wise against micro-management.

I wonder when he said it because I remember saying something similar in the 1990’s (while Jobs was at Next). It’s just as well that I wasn’t blogging or asserting copyright, although I might be richer than I am if I had. (It is however, merely a corollary of the “Theory X, Theory Y” model which was first stated in the “Human Side of Enterprise” by Douglas McGregor, published in 1960, which I commented on here …. , I also comment here … and also here … ) So even I was a bit late.

I was hugely amused by the comment suggesting that Jobs didn’t actually pursue this strategy! …

Data and Versions

I am trying to write an article for my linkedin blog for which I needed to revisit something I wrote for Citihub. I decided to create a comment & mirror on this site, as my blog has outlasted seemingly mightier organisations then them. I originally commented on it as follows,

why encrypt inside the firewall, and why applications logs are important

On revisiting the article, the need to keep versioned copies of the data, like a wiki or a write-ahead log become more obvious, or I recognise as under emphasised in the original article. I also, this time, consider the inappropriate demise of “Entity Life History” analysis. …

Keep a diary

Just looking at my Union diary for next week and considering the documentation arms race between managers and workers. If you think you are in trouble or getting into trouble at work, write down what happened and how you feel. It’s no good several months later relying on memory; there is little doubt that management will have a written copy of what happened. …