How the American people can shape the November election

How the American people can shape the November election

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Okay, I'm trying to bring together some of my private bipartisan talking, and yesterday's Transparency Caucus, along with exploring networks of trust and reputation. Also, I've learned a lot about identity and accountability in my day job.

I hear both Republicans and Democrats talking about finding a new way to have Americans set the agenda for the forthcoming elections, with a focus on social media/networking, and they're serious.

Tools already exist for this like IdeaScale, pioneered in current Open Government efforts.

The hard part? That's preventing people from stuffing the virtual ballot box, that is, having people pretend to be many people by creating many identities to vote or comment. That's like the old "vote early, vote often" thing, but scalable into very large numbers.

We need to be reasonably confident that people are who they say they are, and they get only one vote.

Here's the deal: we have the tools for large scale agenda setting now, but if we're serious about 'em, we need to make sure that we minimize abuse. We can't fully prevent the problem, but we can reasonably control it using emerging tools. Since this isn't real voting, we can live with a reasonable solution soon, while getting a much better solution later.

There are at least two serious (though imperfect) large scale providers of identity, that do the job well enough for November.

That's Facebook and Google, via the profiles people already have. They really aren't perfect, and there are other providers, (I'd like to hear about them), but these will probably do the job. There are also standards to make profiles interoperate, which should also mean you own your own data.

So, if the online stuff will be seriously used in the elections: I propose that whatever tools are used, that they rely on identity provided by the best systems we have, and as much as possible, we own our own profiles.

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2 Comments

EminemsRevenge

To REALLY show your distaste of the system, be ye teabagger or anarchist–WRITE IN "None of the Above" for all the *choices* you DEPLORE…in New York that'll be damn near everything on the ballot–and for the candidates you actually DO believe in, vote for them, unless you re-read Orwell's "Animal Farm" by November….
ALL animals are created equal–until they're "elected"

Andrew

Facebook's about the worst way to show unique identity. It gives you the illusion that most of the accounts are real, because you're only seeing your friends/contacts. However, if you look at facebook overall without the friends lens, there are a huge number of fake accounts, many from folks who play social games, and many from bots.
Google's probably even worse in terms of bot accounts, since it's been around for longer.
At least craigslist puts up some sort of verification for accounts. Craigslist also has the advantage that CL accounts don't get bought and sold like FB/Google/Yahoo accounts do, since you don't offer things like free storage space.

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