Posts Tagged ‘privacy’
Yesterday I saw a link to a new initiative intended to try to re-engage Canadians who have given up on our terribly undemocratic political system. It looked like an excellent idea — if course it did, I’ve been advocating the same thing myself for ages. The site was recommended to me by people and organizations whose work I respect and support, so I shared it widely without looking at it as closely as I usually would.
But I was wrong.
DO NOT SIGN UP with votepromise.ca!
When I made the recommendation yesterday, I had only looked at the first page of the site. Today, someone told me what happens when you click to make a “vote promise.” This web site is not only asking people for their own names and personal information, but also for the names and personal information of the people they would be trying to convince to vote.
Democracy Needs A SECRET BALLOT
The *only* way to have a democratic electoral system is by having a secret ballot and protecting the privacy of eligible voters.
Just because political parties ask us who we are going to vote for, does not mean they have a right to know.
How we vote is private information for a very good reason. It is one of the most important protections afforded citizens in a democracy. In fact, it is positively DANGEROUS for citizens to tell elected Representatives who we are going to vote for. Especially when the political party in power is known to have an enemies list!
Citizens known to have voted against it can find themselves suffering serious consequences in their daily lives. The consequences having our privacy breached in this way may put citizens in danger of (but not limited to):
- losing promotions, or
- even their job,
- Political affiliation might cost someone admission to the university of their choice
- or prevent them from getting the apartment
- research grant
- building permit
- or job that you want.
- It might even result in direct harassment.
- Even families could suffer repercussions.
Citizens need civil rights to prevent the state from abusing the considerable power at its disposal. The government of the day might not provide you with the assistance or services to which all citizens are supposed to be entitled, or even go out of its way to harass you more directly..
But it isn’t only that. You can just as easily suffer discrimination from employers, teachers, or anyone holding power over any part of your life if that person is devoted to a different political party than the one you voted for. One of the most difficult parts of discrimination, is that it can be so skilfully done you might not even notice it has happened, let alone prove it did.
This is why NO ONE has the right to know who you actually vote for. If they do, you can be coerced into voting they way they want.
The secret ballot is a cornerstone of democracy.
And just as no one has the right to know who you vote for, whether or not you choose to vote is also personally private information. It is no one else’s business.
People Need Personal Privacy
Every time we sign a petition with our real name and identifying information, every time we register on Facebook (or *any* of the other social networks,) or buy anything online, we pay for the convenience with our privacy. Adults have the right to decide for themselves if they are willing to give up their own privacy, and how much. Many people have bought onto the absurd argument that we don’t need privacy if we have nothing to hide. And that is their right.
I know people who will not willingly give up their privacy. I know people who only use the Internet anonymously, away from know, using serious encryption and proxy servers. I also know people who don’t want to be photographed, people who don’t use computers, and people who will never use Facebook, Google or Twitter &tc. because they are simply not willing to sacrifice their privacy.
Most people used to dismiss these people as conspiracy theorists, at least until a brave and honorable young man named Ed Snowden risked everything to inform the world that every thing we say and do on the Internet (and the telephone) is being monitored and/or stored in perpetuity by our government in concert with the NSA.
While every adult should be entitled to make their own decisions about how or if they wish to safeguard their own privacy, no one has the right to decide this for anyone else. It doesn’t matter whether you do or don’t care about your own privacy. The privacy of every Canadian is supposed to be safeguarded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
The Internet is a public place. Posting an identifiable photographs of a private people on the Internet without their permission is an invasion of their right to privacy. “Tagging” a photo of a private person is an invasion of privacy.
Giving anyone’s personal information to anyone else is an egregious invasion of privacy.
EFF warns all it takes is three pieces of personal information to identify anyone.
If you give votepromise.ca the name, email address and postal code of anyone else, you have not only positively identified them, you have broadcast their voting decision.
Even if you trust votepromise.ca to protect your own personal information, even though it is not even a secure website, all of this personal information it gathers will certainly be harvested by government to do what it will.
Democracy Requires Privacy
One of the reasons we need democracy is to safeguard personal privacy; there is no way I can ever support throwing privacy under the bus. That is not acceptable.
It is an excellent idea to discuss politics with your friends and neighbors. Just try to convince anyone you think might not vote to go out and cast their ballot the way they want to, in any and all elections.
Just don’t be telling votepromise.ca or anyone else about it.
I can’t get over the fact that Tom Flanagan didn’t understand suggesting assassination was inappropriate.
Tom Flanagan thought assassinating Julian Assange was reasonable.
Canadians are becoming angry at the arrogance of our elected officials and their unelected advisors.
Democracies around the world are facing calls for electoral reform. Coincidence?
Like Wikipedia, democracy can be altered in a heartbeat.
If we don’t protect our democracies, we’ll lose them.
The other night I stayed up far too late because I wanted to know that WikiLeaks was alright. Because I think WikiLeaks is important,
WikiLeaks shines a light on important issues– issues that the powerful and the self important want to keep dark.
Which is why powerful forces are arrayed against WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange is facing charges that I think even the most naïve schoolchild would realize are trumped up, along with both cyber and economic attacks, topped off with death threats. Wonder if that’s enough jeopardy for Malcolm Gladwell, who made the argument that real activism requires jeopardy in his New Yorker “Small Change” article, which prompted my rebuttal Tie Theory.
WikiLeaks is kind of a hybrid activist/news media. It is a truly international organization. Its only country is the Internet. That was the other fault Gladwell had with Internet activism: he thinks that activism requires people to be closely tied. WikiLeaks depends on being a “loose tie” network. You don’t get much looser than total strangers. Total strangers opt to host or mirror WikiLeaks on their computers. Because the more copies there are, the more spread out the network is, the looser the ties, the more difficult it is to shut it down.
In my post yesterday I called on the Pirate Party of Canada to be a Canadian host of WikiLeaks. I don’t know if they’ll do it or not, all I know is what I’ll do.
I am Hosting #cablegate
[Disclaimer: No, I don't actually know how to set up something like this myself; I had help. :) ]
You can peruse the cables at will on my Cablegate page,
or if you prefer to download or torrent You can do that here.
The thing is, I’m not alone. Here’s another list of WikiLeaks mirrors.
It isn’t much for one person to have to do, but there are rather a lot of us.
People connected through loose ties. We aren’t tied together by geography, ethnicity, family or religion, Malcolm, but only loosely connected by intangibles.
That’s how “loose tie” networks work. And it’s also why loose tie networks can be superior.
We all do what we can
You can just read the WikiLeaks Cablegate cables online. A new batch is released daily.
Or, you can add your computer power to help, by seeding the WikiLeaks material that you have yourself downloaded via torrents.
Or, last but not least, you can jump into the WikiLeaks network with both feet. Because the more spread out the network is, the more difficult it is to wipe out. This option is a bit more risky, particularly as it is lawmakers who want this stopped. Consider it carefully; remember you may wake up one morning to discover they have made this illegal.