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Friday, March 19, 2004


Went to a rather fascinating presentation at the Oxford Internet Institute today. Dr Barbara Simons presented the findings (or at least tried to) of a paper she had co-authored for the American Department of Defense's FVAP (Federal Voting Assistance Programme).

Essentially, the US was planning on using the next presidential election to 'test' the concept of letting overseas citizens and military personnel vote online. That's from any internet connected PC running Windows! The test group was to be around 100,000 voters - and if successful, a scaling up would occur for the 2008 election. Remembering Florida in the last presidential election, that's quite a large number of potentially 'unsafe' votes!

I was entertained and staggered at the arrogance of some of the 'intellectuals' present who challenged her for being against the spirit of scientific endevour in her recommendations that the programme be cancelled. Their argument being, that to rule out a possible course of action was being in some way, a 'luddite.'

I felt quite the opposite was true - the paper does not suggest that the aims of the project are wrong-headed - but it does quite explicitly list the unavoidable flaws in the technology on which it is based. These real and demonstrable weaknesses mean that no democratic election based on Internet Voting could be truly considered 'safe.' Unlike the last US Presidential Election of course!

Apparently, the US has called off the programme as a result of the report - although their website currently states otherwise.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


An exhausting day. I have spent the whole of it going through the most gruelling selection process I've ever experienced. And all this for a course I applied for at work! IQ tests, interviews, role play excercises and presentations. That said, it was actually quite enjoyable - the worst part being the anticipation and preparation. My brain hurts!

Monday, March 15, 2004

A couple of details of Sugar flyers

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