The biggest UK hackers of the lot then?
Murdoch, Dacre and whoever currently owns the Express.
What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Twitter pooh-poohed any suggestion that Russian agents ran accounts on its platform for purposes of subverting the US election. A month ago, it was forced to eat its words, owning up to maybe just a few paltry 201. Last week, in the course of a Congressional grilling, that …
Murdoch Dacre and "whoever own the Express" (it's still Richard Desmond - great research, kiddo) make a convenient scapegoat when the public have rejected your ideas.
No self-examination or honesty required when you can blame "false consciousness".
"Murdoch Dacre and "whoever own the Express" (it's still Richard Desmond - great research, kiddo) make a convenient scapegoat when the public have rejected your ideas.
You don't even know what my ideas are, so how do you know?
Also, I have noted that some of my comments get voted on quite a long time after I made them. Desmond still owns the Express now. He may not next week even, as it's known to be up for sale.
For someone who claims to be a PhD, you seem to lack elementary analytical skills. As well as basic politeness. Perhaps you're really that fat bloke from The Sun who was so truthful about Hillsborough.
I'm not sure that "the referendum got the result I wanted" justifies failure to consider whether a hostile foreign propaganda source that has been found to be active in the US might also be attempting to influence the UK*.
(* though I'm more inclined to point to the costs associated with being in an economic union looking outsized after ten years of economic turmoil that made the benefits look slender; probably worth a quick peek under the covers though, wouldn't you say?)
While we're on the subject of election hackers, don't forget
I don't think they or their targeted messages have any place in national or local elections. Same goes for all other similar organizations. Their use by political parties should be banned and any candidates or parties found to have employed them should be removed from the election results. Retrospectively if needed, with an immediate bye-election to fill the now-vacant seat.
...financiers with deep pockets were hard at work influencing the outcomes of national elections...
I'm shocked, shocked, that gambling is going on in this establishment!!!
This kind of crap has being going on since the Romans. Investigations are always hypocritical. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, it's only illegal when spoken of in the third person, as in "their corruption". It's only when it's spoken of in the first person as in "our corruption" that these activities are legal.
"anonym[it]y just adds another barrier" - and is at the root of this entire problem.
Cambridge Analytica happens to be very good at what they do. They are hired guns. They will work for anyone with the money. Most of their work is done through anonymous posting on social media. They need not reveal who hires them or how much they are paid. Can this go on?
Who gave DUP 420,000 pounds?
We seem to think anonymity is important. Is it important enough to risk our electoral systems?
The real way democracy works is that you get to vote for someone who lies their asses off and promises things that they will never deliver. Then when in power they take the stance of a dictator who has a job for life and do whatever they like for a few years. When the next election looms they suddenly become caring, they even venture into the real world to influence the mentally challenged with more bullshit. Rinse and repeat.
Fiddling polls makes no odds.
When a dictator fails, they swing from a lightpost.
When a democratically elected politician fails, they write a memoir and retire to the House of Lords.
The most efficient system would be a benevolent dictator. No shortage of available dictators, problem is the benevolent part!
I have lived under several benevolent dictators (not in the UK, of course, ours aren't very benevolent). Juan Peron, Dr Salazar, Habib Bourguiba... for most people, life wasn't noticeably different from life in Britain today. Certainly a few people disappeared alarmingly, and many of them were never seen alive again. But that happens here and now, too. It's just that our politicians and our media are dedicated to ignoring or minimizing those disappearances, because, you see, they happen to BAD people.
The arguments for a benevolent dictator are quite strong, and of course go back to Plato and long before. A fortiori, monarchy also has its attractions - see the writings of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, for instance. A monarch has a big investment in his or her country, especially if (s)he hopes to hand it on to the offspring.
The big speed bump is the word "benevolent". How on earth can you find someone who not only is benevolent now, but will remain benevolent when given power? There are your Marci Aurelii and your Frederick IIs, but they are few and far between.
The big question is whether power corrupts, or merely attracts the corruptible.
"All governments suffer a recurring problem: [p]ower attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted".
- Frank Herbert, “Chapterhouse Dune”
"The nature of power is such that even those who have not sought it, but have had it forced upon them, tend to acquire a taste for more".
- Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World Revisited”, Chapter 1
The more one reflects on the ramifications of these knotty problems, the more attractive seems the solution proposed by Philip K. Dick in his novel "World of Chance". Supreme power over the world government is bestowed completely at random by a (presumably unhackable) computer, which at any moment of the day or night may designate any human being, from anywhere and any walk of life, to be President of Earth. Such a person gets protection and advice, but must rule as best (s)he sees fit. And, of course, may be replaced as suddenly and arbitrarily as (s)he was raised to power.
The bottom line is that human beings did not evolve to live in communities of more than a hundred or so. Thus it is likely that there is no ideal way of governing them in communities of millions or billions.
Cynicism is one of the small deaths by which cowards die daily, King Jack. ;)
Cynicism did not give rise to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, nor the Clean Water Act of 1972. Nor the Emancipation Proclamation. The 19th Amendment, giving all women the right to vote in the USA, was not sparked by cynicism.
No hard feelings, just sayin'. Have a beer anyway.
Contrariwise, as a student of British history I see cynicism and selfishness as the greatest force behind every liberalizing change going back to Magna Carta and before. British people have never had a disinterested desire for everyone to be free; individually and severally they have had a strong desire NOT to be oppressed by others, and they have cut up very rough indeed when it came to the crunch.
Imagine how much political liberty we would have today if King John had crushed the barons by force, or if King Charles I had not had his head cut off. His son King Charles II was often heard to say, explaining his readiness to submit to Parliament, that "I have no wish to go on my travels again". And King James II actually was obliged to flee abroad, being replaced by William of Orange and his wife Mary (James' own daughter).
That was one of the political principles on which Thomas Jefferson was keenest. He far preferred the spirit of the French Revolution to the comfortable, repressive, property-centric ethos of the American Revolution. And he often actually declared that he hoped there would be a revolution, however small, every few years, as the shedding of a little blood (especially that of nasty tyrants and bankers) was far preferable to the gradual loss of liberty. (Which has in fact transpired, until the USA today is a place that would probably drive Jefferson stark raving mad if he could see it).
You trust a system that makes no attempt whatsoever to verify that the people that are campaigning for votes are who they say they are OR will do what they say they will do.
IOW, practically all of civilization relies on a degree of trust that cannot be guaranteed for even the short term. Humans simply don't work that way.
You trust a system that makes no attempt whatsoever to verify that people walking into a polling station are who they say they are?
Does it actually matter who they are unless you're trying to exclude certain classes of people from the electorate? There may be an argument for making sure that people vote only once, but anonymous voting is arguably quite desirable - especially if you accept the assertion of certain politicians that the security services had a habit of rifling through ballot boxes to determine who might have voted for leftist causes.
>You trust a system that makes no attempt whatsoever to verify that people walking into a polling station are who they say they are?
Yes. If the alternative is some barrier which excludes some legit voters.
There is very little evidence of personation in elections in this country (in person). The problems come when there's a piece of paper/card which says who you claim to be.
"I get that counting votes by hand is laborious, expensive and prone to error, but isn’t trust in our democratic processes worth more than what can be saved with voting machines?"
Counting by hand isn't that laborious actually. And not that prone to error. And it is done by volunteers, so I'm not sure whether using voting machines would actually save (that much) money. The ballots used plus all the paperwork that goes with the counting and collating is archived until a couple of months before the next election, which usually works out to 3.5 years, so plenty of time to check on any possible irregularities.
I've been in charge of a polling station (not always the same one) in every election in my area since 2002. Federal/general, state, local, referendums, public petitions to get a referendum, run-offs, what have you. Some 20+ elections by now; I would have to flip through my old diaries to get the exact number. This year, it was two, state and general.
I can highly recommend it. For the first time in 2002, I was kindly persuaded to "volunteer"; I've been genuinely voluteering ever since. It's interesting and fun. And every now and then I can invest a day of my own time in something that is important.
But yes, trust in the process is essential, so cost must not be the first thing to consider.
>There are two sets of hackers in this world: those targeting the machinery of voting and those seeking to corrupt the debate
The first set of hackers are dangerous.
Those who consider the second set of people dangerous are dangerous.
"Corrupting the debate" by adding ideas (good or bad) implies the debate should only follow along a prescribed line of thought and that alternative viewpoints should not be heard.
That is a corruption of democracy. I despise those who would rather win power than have and promote moral and logical ideas. De-platforming is for those with no argument.
We need to promote a culture of truth over one of winning.
P.Lee, you make a fair point.
I see the corruption of the debate as something different from the addition of new ideas though. The corruption is from the hardening of already held beliefs through the creation of echo chambers. This means that rather than adding to the debate, they're drowning the other side out.
Corrupting the debate is sometimes using access to the media to push people further along the road to where you want them to go. Such as blaming minorities for current failures, or advancing bar-room views that have no basis in logic or fact. Find a mild prejudice and whip it along.
"We need to promote a culture of truth over one of winning".
Much as I agree with your sentiment, it is impractical. One of the best short definitions of culture is "those customs and practices that cannot be legislated for, imposed, or forbidden".
In short, culture is precisely that which cannot be "promoted" (or, for that matter, "demoted").
Basically what you have here with 4chan , and now reddit is the internet version of a bunch of teenagers hanging out in a shopping maul making a nuisance of themselves.
"Script kiddies" would be a term used correctly , for once*
* usually the term is used by someone who wants to insinuate their own skillz are far better / madder / realer / sicker
When i started reading that part of the story I assumed the poll was a quickie knocked up by IT staff at the radio station and put on there website. It seems however that the poll is hosted by a business whose sole purpose is to take polls. You'd think they would have given it a bit more thought and put in less "meagre" safeguards . It cant be that hard.
Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy
Main thing that undermines my faith in democracy is politicians....
Hackers, dodgy and inappropriate advertising or tax revelations are merely adding extra cohorts of burrowing animals to the issue.
Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy
I find the idea of "faith in democracy" and the implicit "we have not undermined what they have democratically elected" quite entertaining.
60+ cases in Latin America in this century alone. Post WW2 Iran, Post fall of the wall Eastern Europe (something I have observed first hand from very close), you name it. In most cases replacing democratically elected governments with dictatorships and cleptocracies. This is in addition to replacing "their" dictatorships and cleptocracies with "ours" of course - these probably contribute 60 more (at least) in the second half of the 20th century alone.
We have no moral ground to bitch about "them" influencing public opinion. If you cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen.
Really? And how exactly will that help?
The voting machines will have to all be tested before they're installed in polling stations to check that the software running on them is actually what we're told it is. And this will have to be done by completely re-installing the software from the firmware level upwards, otherwise we have no way of knowing that the result of any "test" isn't a pre-defined "Everything's great!" left there by whoever compromised them.
See again a great video on the subject.
In this topsey turvey world where the Russian Hacking allegations were bought and paid for by the DNC and Clinton, Fake News is easy to spot by seeing who omits to mention this inconvienient truth.
What people should be asking is if the DNC and Clinton paid for the Russian hacking allegations, and the Russian hacking allegations are undermining our faith in democracy. Shouldn't it be the DNC and Clinton who are brought to book, for undermining the process they pretend to be part of ?
Until it actually makes a physical difference to a person, they don't really care who's in power (It seems).
The main issue with any democracy is the non-voters, especially when they are the majority of the electorate and so unaffected by the outcome of voting that it's not worth the hassle. How many can say that the result of a major election has actually physically affected them? Not many these days, where the general flow of society doesn't really change.
An analogy would be a river - when it's a small stream a big rock heaved into it makes a huge difference in it's direction of flow, as a large river, that same rock is virtually irrelevant, there might be a splash, but pretty soon it's sunk to the bottom and no longer has any effect on the river.
So - the upshot is that we get politics driven by the very vocal minority viewpoints (which are often almost totally irrelevant to actual societal cares) and a flow of morons in power, which in turn creates even more voter apathy, until you get some complete muppet in charge who actually makes such overwhelmingly stupid decisions that society suddenly goes 'wtf??'.
Lets just hope it's not too late when that happens.
"An analogy would be a river - when it's a small stream a big rock heaved into it makes a huge difference in it's direction of flow, as a large river, that same rock is virtually irrelevant, there might be a splash, but pretty soon it's sunk to the bottom and no longer has any effect on the river."
But then there are cascade effects. Your little stone may not do much at first, but it may actually disturb the flow just enough that it causes the banks to erode and cause a mudslide that results in a major alteration to the flow. Next thing you know, the river's stopped flowing to your village. Worst part it, because the catalyst was so insignificant, you can't really know that it was that little stone that set it off.
> Until it actually makes a physical difference to a person, they don't really care who's in power
If the issue of voter apathy is on the table, then First Past The Post also needs to be critiqued. What is the point of voting for what you believe, if it is not a majority view, if your vote will always become irrelevant. One could most legitimately put the blame on voters if no votes were wasted.
Instead, what we tend to get with FPTP is a hegemony for N voting cycles, after which the incumbents have become mad with power, often literally, and they get slung out to be replaced by the less mad alternative for N cycles. Any system that breaks the waste of both the cycle and the waste of a vote must be better than the lunacy of FPTP. It's hard to think of any advantage to FPTP, in fact, other to those currently in power, on their way to the madness brings.
"If the issue of voter apathy is on the table, then First Past The Post also needs to be critiqued. What is the point of voting for what you believe, if it is not a majority view, if your vote will always become irrelevant. One could most legitimately put the blame on voters if no votes were wasted."
Votes are going to be wasted no matter what, and people will complain about that waste. It's a simple matter of so many candidates and so few positions. SOMEONE has to lose as a result. Because of this, there are, were, and always will be pros and cons for any voting system you can think of.
Given that some people in power were truly corrupt agents of the war industry and they failed spectacularly, I would say democracy works quite nicely.
The handwringing by the 1% and their media outlets from CNN to The Econimist should simply be discounted. These folks expected "their" candidate to succeed plus sweetalking of yet more wars against helpless countries in the middle east.
Didnt happen. Great !
Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy
I think that I am more concerned about the fact that people may form their political views from what they read on social media; that undermines any faith I might have had in my fellow human beings as being "sentient".
Voting machine has the usual touch screen.
Plus, a transparent window that lets you view a till-roll-style strip. The machine has several 100's of feet of paper, so it need not be opened until the poll is over.
Vote is printed in an OCR-able form on the paper.
You confirm the vote (through the window) on the paper is as you voted.
The votes get stored both electronically, and as 4 inches of paper on the roll in the machine.
When a recount is requested, you can take the long reels of paper and count them either in another machine, or, in extremis, by hand.
So, the primary count is electronic, but it can be backed-up by two levels of physical re-count.
First, what is "lefty leaning", as you describe Mr. O'Brien? Somebody not ideologically committed to be left-leaning, yet with a soft spot in his heart for tunes such The Red Flag and the Internationale?
Second, you describe Georgia as rejecting help with its voting systems as "a power grab from the centre". By "centre" do you mean the federal government? It is never so called in the US, and for that matter only real-estate developers ever spell the word "centre".
Finally, faith in democracy is my experience pretty rare. At any given time, a large chunk of the US would like to disfranchise another large chunk of the US, mostly on grounds that come down to "not voting my way". The jurist Learned Hand once said that in his worst nightmares he was the defendant in a trial by jury; what he thought of being governed by system that requires not unanimity nor even a majority, I haven't read.
Sadly, the ugly details under the picture being painted by Facebook, Twitter (and Google) is less than supportive of the narrative.
Basically any ads, of any kind, that aren't directly "I'm with Her" were considered pro-Russian. Quite a number of them contradict each other.
But the most important detail is: if the Russians are really so good, the bidding war for their services over Robbie Mook, David Axelrod et al should be getting to stratospheric heights by now.
Putin should just get himself elected as President of the United States then.
He's got 3 years to establish a reality show first.
The last point I find particularly revealing is the distinction (or lack thereof) between the many interested parties.
1) Republicans - if the concern was dividing the Democrat base, the RNC is the single greatest benefactor. Not Russia.
2) Ad fraud - ad fraud is a huge business, and cookie stuffing is a big part of that. The one thing that really irritates me about sloppy attribution is the ongoing belief that IP address locations mean diddly. They don't. Between that and the massive ad fraud networks, it is far from clear that there is a nation state involved as opposed to a bunch of cyber criminals seeking their share of a $2B election ad spending pie. Affiliate marketing makes roadside ad twirlers look positively statesmanlike.
3) Cambridge Analytica. Perhaps Facebook/Twitter/Google should reveal the overall numbers from the direct campaign spend ads vs. PAC ads vs. ad services supplier ads vs. ad nauseam. I really have grave doubts over just how well the FTG folk know or care who the real buyers are.
The Russkies are claimed to have spend 0,1% of what the two major candidates spent. But they are supposed to have had serious impact.
Occams Razor: this is just the B.S. of Sore Losers on the left side. They want to shift blame somewhere, because that is easier than fixing their own corruption (e.g. how they booted out Sanders).
Hillary's campaign spent $1.4 billion on the presidential election (Trump about $750 million). Coca-Cola spends $4 billion every year to persuade people to buy their fizzy water. The notion that the Russians could swing an election with a few hundred tweets is a risible conspiracy theory (unless you're desperately seeking someone to blame for your own incompetence).
I suspect that there may be quite a bit of marketing puff in this: what better promotion for advertising on these social media platforms than "admitting" that you sold the $100k of ads which swung the election. It is like saying "come here, your impact is more than a millions times effective than using conventional methods".
There is a whole lot to gain for admitting to selling the offending ads, and a lot to lose in denying it. This is why they have quickly got onto the bandwagon.
Isn't democracy about influencing people to vote for who you want?
Is it the fault of these poor (alleged) Russians that some people that can't even connect two dots and are easily influenced... and that they have the same vote than a Nobel Prize which is much harder to convince?
So now you want to decide that the "National Official TV Network" (whatever its name in any country), and the "National Official Press" have the right to influence people with their propaganda, but Facebook or the like have no right to influence anyone? How would this be democratic? I believe in the U.S. a company (like FB, Google, or any one) has the official right to support a candidate of its liking, why would you want to deprive them from this right?
It makes me laugh, same as when people were shocked when Berlusconi "bought" his election (yes, he owns TV, that was easy!). At least Berlusconi did it with its own money, not with tax payers' one.
Wake up. Democracy is a game with its rules. Some understand the rules better than others.
Is it the Russian's fault if the game is rigged?
Also funny how the mainstream media demonized Berlusconi. He was painted as a superevil man. Having sex with a 17 year old and similar grave crimes.
At the same time GWB and Tony Blair threw Iraq into the gutter of civil war, 100k Iraqis killed. But hey, Berlusconi was the badman !!!
(The actual reason for demonizing Berlusconi was his foreign policy contacts with Russia, which the Anglos did not like)
..is that it hints at whose spending how much to put ideas in your head.
EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad EU good Brexit bad EU good brexit bad .....
Because it's probably preferable to a hard crash Brexit that could seriously hamper matters in the UK for years to come, if not permanently damage it? Are is the UK truly so masochistic they'd PREFER to suffer the hard crash?
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