So the momentum stitch-up has kicked off big time. I think I’ll constrain this little post to the e-democracy part of the debate. The momentum bureaucracy are proposing that the coming sovereign national conference is framed, decided or influenced by a digital platform and have conveniently launched one. It is called MXV and is based on a product called Consul which seems to have been built for Madrid City Council. When you arrive at the home page, you are offered the opportunity to “sign in” or “Join Momentum”. If you are already a member, and have not been issued with a password, you’re fucked. There is one email address on the site, to use if one has a problem. I have now mailed them twice to ask for login credentials, with proof that I am a member. (The second mail was sent today.) I’d have expected them to use getsatisfaction or user voice for their help desk interface since people can help themselves and see what’s happening; they seem to be learning from the Labour Party and the whole thing is just a black box bit bucket. Actually it’s several steps better because it’s open source, although I have not yet sought to prove that this code line is in use and I don’t do Ruby so I can’t check the vote counting routines. The original product offers oauth support.

What we have here is the construction of the electoral roll in secret. This isn’t good enough. It’s why we have polling agents, judicial review and even international observers in our public elections and why I argued that the Labour Party needs an independent reviewer of its own elections to make sure that the behaviour of the returning officer and his or her agents is transparent. This is all before we measure the value of the conference, the debate and the mandating meetings,

If this is the new e-democracy epitomising new politics, then frankly it’s wanting.

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0 thoughts on “MXV

  • 7th December 2016 at 6:23 pm

    On reading what’s been said elsewhere about the software platform, what makes software different is that it is not transparent; you can’t see it working.

    It doesn’t even do what its authors think it does. When e-counting is used in the London a number of statistical and other controls are put in place to ensure some transparency and guarentees of accuracy. Importantly, the ballot paper exists, which it doesn’t when using MXV.

    The lack of transparency is what makes software inappropriate for e-democracy although the block chain may change that but would raise the issue of secrecy; of course, if used at a delegate meeting the secrecy issue disappears because delegates should be happy to vote in public.

    It’s my contention that you can’t build a single software system that is both transparent and maintains secrecy of the ballot.

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