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.
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.