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Jovan's Higlights of the Morning (3rd December 2008)

I suppose that this is the right place to provide comments on the conference. Seiiti and Vlada, please advise.

This morning I attended two events.

The first event was debate on "Internet Voting". The house debated the following statemet:

"Internet voting is too vulnerable to be trusted". Gigner - I just discovered one more of her talents in moderation and facilitation of substantive discussion in a very limited time. . If the BBC discovers her, Tim Sebastian may get soon strong competition.

The debate was a very effective learning exercises. Arugments were to the point, clear and crisp. It is not suprising that the Oxford University used this technique as one of the key pedagogical techniques for centureis.

There were two groups. The first group argued for the motion (i-voting is too vulnerable to be trusted). The second group argued against the motion (i-voting can be trusted). Each group presented their arguments in 5 minutes. In another 3-minutes iteration they commented on the arguments of the other group. All in all in 20 minutes we got display of the wide array of argumetns. The fact that we had to vote (audience) forced us to carefully analyse the arguments. I learnt a lot in 20 minutes.

In brief.

Arguments FOR the motion (i-voting is too vulnerable to be trusted; Iljeoma & Maureen) :

The first group based their argument on the TRUST. It was the key word in their argumentation. It was a very powerful argumentaiton, supported by a few concrete aspects including:

- not reliable Internet infrastructure (possibility for manipulation)
- possibility for buying/selling votes
- possibility of manipulating votes through the use of other computers (lack of awareness of risks among users).
- privacy concerns


Arguments AGAINST the motion (arguing that i-voting can be trusted; Rodney and our colleague from India)

This group had difficult task to go "against the flow" - lack of truste on the Internet. They developed powerful argumetnation around the following points:

- it provides access to people who cannot vote adervise
- there is nothing special with i-voting. The same manipulations exist in "normal" voting"
- try to strenghten argument with examples from India (access to educated circles, no problem with privacy, robust electoral mechanisms that cannot be manipualted).

At the end Ginger gave quick wrap-up. The first group (FOR) won the vote narrowly. The motion: "I-voting is too vulnerable to be trusted" was accepted.

A few reflections....
- this discussion approach has enormous potentials, especially in the context of the long presentations delivered in the regular workshkop/session set-up.
- we should put an efforts to advertise this approach; it is worth broader attention.

Best, Jovan

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Comment by Syed Nazir Razik on December 4, 2008 at 4:30am
I voting can work on similar frameworks as you find in payment gateways that effect Etransactions in a safe and secure manner. Event the three aspects of access, authorization and authentication can be handled effectively with a combination of tools and devices like biometrics so on. I voting can be a process open in the time window for a larger period of time thus facilitating voters bellonging to a particular place but currently at wider geographies.
Comment by Lillian Nalwoga on December 3, 2008 at 12:43pm
I guess I support the arguments for the motion 'I-voting is too vulnerable to be trusted'. For insatnce, here in Africa where the majority of our people not to mention the policy makers are still ignorant about ICTs more so the internet, lack of trust is likely to rise among voters. More to this is the not reliable internet connections and ofcourse issues of affordability still pose a huge risk in this method of voting! It would take massive awareness campaigns to build people's trust in this method of voting!
Comment by Syed Nazir Razik on December 3, 2008 at 11:47am
I-voting should be an option available to voters too. In India there has been a social stigma among the rich and the affluent of not participating in the voting process due to various reasons. Can i-voting bridge such a gap ? and secondly there is a huge group of floating professionals like me who have migrated to cities but are still under rolls from our hometown. Ivoting will tend to be a great solution for such young professionals who migrate to cities seeking employment and better vistas.

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