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In light of Rick Falkvinge's views of online voting, what do you think about direct democracy?

Just to put this into perspective, here is a little snippet of Noam Chomsky talking about direct democracy.


  • Me hearing Online Voting (or eVoting, as it can be termed) just brings me back to this video. EVERY. TIME.

    Sure, on one hand it would make it easier to vote for lots who can't get out, but then we have the issue where people could easily be manipulated to vote and no-one would know. It could help in getting more young people to vote, but that can easily be fixed by changing the day of polling from a THURSDAY, to a more casual day, á lá a Saturday...
  • Those are interesting points in the video, but very few of them are actually relevant to ONLINE voting.

    To address what Chomsky mentioned, this is all still a very 'weak' form of democracy where we merely ratify our representatives.

    What about an online system that allows the electorate to actually be informed of EACH ISSUE, allow debate, and ultimately allow voting on every single proposal and motion (as opposed to merely voting once every few years for a representative).
  • I'm thinking the issue is that you can't have both anonymity and accountability.
  • ethereum.org and e.g. publicvotes.org
  • this just launched in the US https://placeavote.com/
  • from wikipedia: "PlaceAVote.com is a grassroots American organization[1] that provides a peer-to-peer framework[2] to review, discuss, and vote on every issue before United States Congress.[3] The guiding principle in PlaceAVote's development is to provide a boundary-free, non-partisan forum in which the collective will of the people can be gathered and communicated to their United States Congressional Representatives in order for representation to actually take place["
  • Currently online banking fraud is a big thing. People paying with fake credit cards or stealing someone's credit card info to buy digital goods and trade them on - our accounts actually get hit by fraud quite a lot, just the banks reverse it and refund us without us knowing, even if they make a loss.

    If the banking sector is so vulnerable, I struggle to see how online voting will be any different.
  • First of all, an online voting system does not have to use the technology that banks use. It's a blank slate, we can use any number of systems.

    Secondly, online fraud is a very complex problem, but at the source of the problem is the very large number of people that stand to gain untold millions by engaging in bank fraud. The incentives are high enough that people are willing to find loopholes and put time and effort into defrauding those systems. Those incentives do not exist to the same degree for an online voting system.

    Third, you have to weigh the potential risks with the potential benefits. The reason that banks still engage in online transactions is because OVERALL there is a positive benefit to themselves and their clients. Changing the governmental structures and voting systems to benefit the majority of the population is also probably worth the potential minor risks associated with it.
  • Firstly, correct! Though while I admire your positive attitude that we can out-do a system that has the entire banking sector as a backer and a seemingly endless supply of money, I don't really understand it.

    Secondly that sounds exactly like elections to me.

    Thirdly yeah, I think the risks outweigh the benefits. Banks do it because their number 1 is profit - that should not be the same policy for democracy. We should look for the most secure and accurate voting system... not the cheapest or most convenient.
  • The banking system is a bloated, antiquated marketplace. The reason that new technologies and competing business models (such as Paypal, Bitcoin, etc) can exist is because monopolies are horrible at progression; just like the car, phone, energy etc industries have become comfortable and resist change. The issue is not about how much money they have, but their will to progress and adapt. They had no incentive to create something better.

    Elections are nowhere near the same. Money is usable by anyone and needed by everyone, and fraud will therefore appeal to a very large portion of the population that does not need to be connected or work in concert. One lone individual can find a bug and exploit it for his own gain on a small scale. When you have hundreds of thousands of people that are searching for the same bugs by themselves, its no wonder that fraud is such a big problem. How many fraudsters do you know that personally care more about elections than money? The number of people that care enough about elections to find and exploit bugs are miniscule in comparison. So they are not even remotely on the same scale.

    The risk of the occasional person's account being hacked outweighs the massive amount of corruption and unfairness that exists in our current society? I don't even know how to begin to explain how insane of a position that is to take.

  • ThyPirateDaveThyPirateDave South Wales
    edited April 2016
    In order:

    I'm not so sure on the first one. I paid my credit card and did all my business banking via my Nationwide app in a few seconds. I also split the dinner bill with paym amongst friends as well as accept tenancy deposits via bank transfer (which can be done in branch, telephone, mobile app, online banking or paym). I also accept recurring payments via standing order.

    Bitcoin and Paypal aren't even close to suitable for this kind of thing. While bitcoin and paypal have their uses, I don't think it is right to say "banks are old and that's why these are doing well". I think they are simply fulfilling functions banks are largely disinterested in. Banks could easily do those functions if they wanted to - not like they don't have enough money to R&D it.


    On your second point, elections are the same. Replace the word "bank" with "election"

    "...very large number of people that stand to gain untold millions by engaging in bank fraud..."

    There is a massive incentive. At the moment companies have to lobby - why lobby when you can just hack online elections.


    On your third point. I agree, that is an insane position. I'm not sure why you've brought it up though... as that's not the position anyone here is taking.
  • I'm kind of with @Drowz0r here. There are many vectors for attacking an online voting platform, some of them trivial to protect against, but some of them much harder. I'd insist that any online system we decide to use in the future must be open source, must be regularly security audited, and must be optional, and that before it gets implemented in any major election it should be trialled for electoral fraud risks first.

    And I'd ask the same of pretty much any replacement to the current voting system too.
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