Tuesday, 19 February 2008

BarCampLondon3 video: technology & our rights, aka "You did WHAT with my bits??"

The video below from BarCampLondon3 back in November 2007 is, at its broadest, about technology and your rights, with e.g. a fascinating story (on e-voting) which brings home just how scarily little government and others in power appear to understand technology or the internet, and yet they're making laws affecting our digital rights, they're trying to use technology in ways it shouldn't be used - despite the serious implications for security, privacy and democracy.

The session was led by Glyn Wintle of the (mainly UK) organisation Openrightsgroup.org (given my views e.g. my Copyfighter posts, it won't surprise you to know that I'm an ORG member, and indeed I joined when it was first formed).

More on the electronic voting example, where the ORG were e-voting election observers last year. It seemed the SNP had won no seats. On challenging the result, fortunately just before it was officially declared, it was found that votes for the SNP hadn't been counted - probably because the results had been entered onto an Excel spreadsheet, and the person responsible hadn't scrolled across horizontally enough to see all the parties' votes! See page 51-52 of the ORG's May 2007 Election Report (executive summary), which I'm surprised hasn't received more publicity.

Incidentally, on e-voting, it's interesting that as Bob Wyman reported German hacker group, the Chaos Computer Club, in January 2008 went to the courts to try to stop the use of electronic voting machines. They'd previously submitted an expert opinion to the German courts reporting serious defects in the voting computers. Why governments insist on ignoring technology experts, I don't know. Maybe because they don't really understand technology themselves, but won't believe that they don't. Which is where this post began...

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