Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The positive option of Red Peak

183 Responses

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  • steven crawford, in reply to chris,

    I’ll be burning my second referendum paper and envelope*, $26 million was ample to create an online voting platform that could have saved our country billions of dollars in the long run, I have absolutely no feeling about flags, I had no desire to vote and the only reason I enrolled was because it’s illegal not to.

    That’s right, I forgot it was a postal vote. This referendom is fiscally good for the postal service. Which is good for the country! Go the All Blacks, God the Queen of England and Toyota.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sacha,

    you weren’t tempted to eat them, food prices are ridiculous as well.

    True that, fortunately our nutritional needs are already covered by the newspapers.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to chris,

    $26 million was ample to create an online voting platform that could have saved our country billions of dollars in the long run

    Fuck no! Online voting sounds like a good idea but in reality it’s a complete disaster. If we go with that we might as well just give up on democracy altogether. Start here for some reasons why:

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown,

    Complicated, isn't it. I reckon Mr and Mrs NZ will completely fuck it up.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    I’ll go with Red Peak, hypno second and not mention any of the ferns. If it’s not Red Peak, I’ll stick with what we have. I pick NZ will keep the same flag on the second vote.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    The entire process has been backwards. Flags represent a nation and (putting aside for a moment the ludicrous notion that we have to have a piece of fabric with a picture on it to represent anything) we haven't had the discussion about who we are as a nation. That needs to come first, followed by the decision on an emblem to represent us.

    The whole thing reminds of nothing so much as one of those interminable corporate sessions where a committee of well-meaning amateurs tries desperately to come up with a mission statement and in the end produces a trite piece of pap that nobody can muster up enough energy to object to.

    I'm voting against the whole thing on the basis that if we change the flag at this point we're not going to be able to change it again for a generation or two. Rejecting the entire steaming pile is the only way to ensure we have a real crack at sorting it all out before I'm in the ground.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to SteveH,

    1. anonymity – no one here seems too concerned.
    2. voting machines – not my suggestion.
    3. We can already apply for a passport, order a birth, death or marriage certificate online.
    4. Many of us already conduct all our banking and financial transactions online.
    5. For those who are overseas we already have a prototypical form of online voting in which the vote cast in not anonymous.
    6 Switzerland (PDF).

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to chris,

    anonymity – no one here seems too concerned

    I am, just for the record. I don't mind telling people what I think of an issue including the flag stuff, or at least what I want them to believe I think of an issue. How I actually vote is none of their business.

    Privacy of voting can't be reliably protected with a postal system anyway, unfortunately, but I strongly hope we never drop the secure ballot box system of voting any further than we already have.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    My five year old son has taken a major interest in car branding recently. On a trip out to his grandmother's last weekend he was pointing out and naming the brand of every car he saw. This was intense as it was from one end of the southern motorway to the other. About half way along he said "Gee there are a lot of Toyotas!"

    Yes there are, son. Yes there are.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to chris,

    roughage

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Brislen,

    The whole thing reminds of nothing so much as one of those interminable corporate sessions where a committee of well-meaning amateurs tries desperately to come up with a mission statement and in the end produces a trite piece of pap that nobody can muster up enough energy to object to.

    Sad but true. Without principled leadership, such processes always produce that result.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to chris,

    anonymity – no one here seems too concerned.

    I don’t think that is generally true, at least among those who have thought about it. In the US, companies have already suggested how to vote, there no reason for next step to not be verifying how employees voted. It would be tragically naive to think that there wouldn’t be repercussions for not voting the way you were told to.

    As for the rest of your objection, you seem to have missed the point (or perhaps you didn’t watch the whole thing?). Voting is not banking or applying for a sensitive document (and note that people get scammed while doing online banking all the time). Those things require secrecy and verification of identity; voting requires transparency and anonymity, literally opposite requirements. What guarantee of fair and non-corrupt elections do we have when the software is unverifiable, the transmission of data is insecure, and the counting is done by a single party in secret?

    Since that video didn’t convince you, try some papers on the subject:
    "… we cannot provide satisfactory security for online voting even though we can for online commerce", "… the extraordinary security problems of such a remote Internet voting system present an extraordinary, unacceptable risk to election integrity", or do a simple Google search. When IT security experts tell us the risks are too great, we would be wise to listen.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to SteveH,

    or perhaps you didn’t watch the whole thing?

    I watched the youtube video you posted, I assume you read the Berkman Center Research document I linked to. I am not suggesting denying you the right to vote via ballot box, it’s that creating the option for people with disabilities or anyone wishing to vote online doesn’t affect your vote.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Rebecca Williams,

    My five year old son

    From the 'out of the mouths of the sucklings' file.. one of my offspring sees the whole flag changing thing as akin to painting the mailbox while the termites are eating the house.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    From the ‘out of the mouths of the sucklings’ file.. one of my offspring sees the whole flag changing thing as akin to painting the mailbox while the termites are eating the house.

    You should be proud... not just of the clarity of your offspring's observations, but also of your own parenting....

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to chris,

    Online voting would be cool if there was a decent chance of a secure system that your average scrutineer could understand, but I reckon that's not so with the current state of the art, and not likely any time soon. Online voting's kind of like flying cars were in the 1950s -- modern, desirable, seemingly just around the corner, and with the odd apparently working prototype, yet beset with a host of problems that continue to make the whole idea unworkable at scale.

    1. anonymity – no one here seems too concerned.

    You may not be, but I am.

    3. We can already apply for a passport, order a birth, death or marriage certificate online.

    Those processes are inherently not anonymous. Nor does a low level of fraud have serious consequences whereas elections can hang on a handful of votes.

    4. Many of us already conduct all our banking and financial transactions online.

    Again: fraud is easier to deal with because of lack of anonymity; losses are financial only; small scale fraud doesn't threaten the integrity of the institution; and there is an acceptable level of fraud which is just a cost of doing business. It's not comparable at all.

    5. For those who are overseas we already have a prototypical form of online voting in which the vote cast in not anonymous.

    That is an unsatisfactory response to a logistical problem. The fact we've gone part-way towards a worrying end doesn't mean we should go even further.

    6 Switzerland (PDF).

    Has experienced problems. Ask yourself how much you trust public sector procurement or project management to deliver a quality system in NZ when other advanced countries have failed.

    Here's a list a friend compiled recently, looking at the same 12 jurisdictions last years NZ working party reviewed:

    - 1 Australia - significant security issue (report today, coincidentally)
    - 2 Canada - "successful" but minimal impact on turnout
    - 3 Estonia - seen as successful, but severely critiqued by independent researchers
    - 4 France - fake votes demonstrated
    - 5 Netherlands - banned outright
    - 6 Norway, abandoned online voting
    - 7 Portugal - discontinued
    - 8 Spain - discontinued
    - 9 Switzerland - ?
    - 10 UK - discontinued
    - 11 Washington, D.C (genuine trial, hacked in 48 hrs),
    - 12 West Virginia, unclear
    Summary: abandoned in 6 of 12 with others facing criticism or security issues found .

    There's a bunch of other issues like whether lay people can hope to audit a system, the generally poor security of most people's PCs/phones/tablets, dealing with phishing and DDOS, but these have been canvassed at length elsewhere.

    It's definitely not the no-brainer it appears to be at first glance.

    My friend Nigel wrote this a few days ago which tackles most of the issues nicely as far as I'm concerned.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to chris,

    I am not suggesting denying you the right to vote via ballot box, it’s that creating the option for people with disabilities or anyone wishing to vote online doesn’t affect your vote.

    There’s a case to provide alternatives for people who genuinely can’t use a ballot box, but to simply let people choose to use a less secure system risks affecting the result in a corrupted way. Maybe some people only care that their individual vote is tallied correctly, but personally I care about the integrity of the entire election.

    One of the most important properties of the ballot box is that it’s impossible to prove how you’ve voted, even if you wanted to. (In practice, however, NZ’s electoral law really needs fixing to clearly address issues of people photographing their ballot papers.) If it’s reasonably possible to choose to vote in a way that’s not secret and anonymous, then this property becomes meaningless because voters could simply be coerced to use a non-ballot-box method for the benefit of whoever’s coercing them to have evidence of how they voted.

    As it is, at least for a ballot box election, I can tell my employer or my abusive partner or my coercive union workmates or the guy who’s giving away bribes in exchange for votes anything about who I’m voting for. Then I go into the voting booth and vote, and by the time I have contact with anyone neither I nor anyone else can prove how I've voted. But the minute they can pull out the iPad in the office, or pressure me into attending a “let’s all go and vote” party around someone’s laptop at the pub, there’s a problem.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to steven crawford,

    Which is good for the country! Go the All Blacks, God the Queen of England and Toyota.

    I was not previously aware that Elizabeth Windsor (or is it Elizabeth Regina?) was Queen of Toyota? Cool! :)

    I have always found it a little strange or incongruous that despite being the same woman, the Queen of England, Queen of New Zealand, Queen of Australia, etc. are separate entities, and while it is common and normal for all of the Commonwealth countries to change their hereditary laws simultaneously with each other... (vis- the recent Commonwealth-wide dropping of male priority so that if William+Kate's first child was a daughter, she'd still be next in line even if they had a subsequent son)... it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they could choose to not all change in unison...

    It's occasionally floated in some (less intelligent?) media that many like the current Queen E, and William seems nice, but can we skip Charles as monarch?

    While the chance of any of our Commonwealth Nations changing their monarchy/hereditary laws in any-way (apart from abandoning them completely to become a republic) seems (extremely) remote... I am tickled by the possibility of our variously linked nations deciding on separate paths so that while we all have Elizabeth as our current Monarch... we may have different ones in the future?

    By the way... all this pointless theorising in my mind about improbably divergent monarchs was triggered by a friend of my parents, who was born in India while still under "the British Raj", but had moved to Australia in the 1950's... discovering later that she was not actually an Australian Citizen or passport holder when she wanted to travel overseas for the first time in the 1980's... So she went though a naturalisation/nationalisation ceremony at the local town hall... where she swore allegiance to Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, over any other previous allegiances (which in her case, was Elizabeth II, Queen of England, or Elizabeth II Queen of India - she wasn't quite sure? :)

    And all of the above rambling is in support of the... I dont love (or hate) our current flag, but it seems like changing the flag without becoming a republic first seems... half-hearted at best?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 888 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to chris,

    I watched the youtube video you posted, I assume you read the Berkman Center Research document I linked to. I am not suggesting denying you the right to vote via ballot box, it’s that creating the option for people with disabilities or anyone wishing to vote online doesn’t affect your vote.

    Well, in that paper about the Switzerland implementation all they actually could say about security was that there didn't appear to have been any problems. But the absence of reported problems in one particular case says nothing about the potential for problems either there or elsewhere in the future. It's akin to saying "well I left my house unlocked today and it wasn't burgled so that proves it's safe to always leave the house unlocked."

    I do accept that there are obvious upsides to e-voting. It would definitely make it easier for some people, and perhaps it might be reasonable to allow those people to use a less secure method of voting if they were prepared to do so. Though you were talking about it saving us billions, which would surely require widespread (if not compulsory) use.

    You haven't given any counter to the numerous objections that have been raised in stuff I've linked to, so I hope you're now starting to see e-voting is not the obviously good idea it may seem to be on the surface (Stephen's flying car analogy is a good one). After all, remember Novopay? We couldn't even get a simple payroll system to work.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Thank you. That was good read Stephen, a must read for anyone proposing a change to the voting procedure of General elections .Given successive New Zealand Governments’ history of ignoring the results of referenda over the past two decades, it’s possibly loosely applicable to this topic at hand. One may argue that the stakes are higher and the potential for threats greater in this instance because the referenda are binding – and correct me if I’m wrong – but can’t a flag be legally changed in New Zealand without a referendum?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to SteveH,

    You haven’t given any counter to the numerous objections that have been raised in stuff I’ve linked to, so I hope you’re now starting to see e-voting is not the obviously good idea it may seem to be on the surface (Stephen’s flying car analogy is a good one). After all, remember Novopay? We couldn’t even get a simple payroll system to work.

    While I imagine there are certain forces that might be willing to go to unscrupulous lengths to corrupt the vote to change the New Zealand flag - perhaps my limitation is not taking those threats seriously - I’d still rather we had taken the risk, adapted the current limited online voting platform for widespread use on this and future non constitutional referenda, though yet again that would have required a time machine ;)

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to SteveH,

    Sorry I missed the editing window, but rest assured that I did manage to read most of the links presented on this page, it was the conclusion to the Guardian article, the sixth result on your Google search that confirmed my bias:

    Of course, all this debate solely surrounds the general elections. Anderson said online voting is fine in “low-stakes elections” – he cites its use at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and at his own university council – but said it’s “less fine where there are capable motivated opponents”.

    I felt “low stakes” to be loosely applicable here.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to chris,

    I felt “low stakes” to be loosely applicable here.

    Yes, I agree the possibility of fraud in e-voting is much less of a concern in this sort of referendum. Or any referenda initiated by the public since they are non-binding anyway.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I agree that the likelihood of deliberate attack goes up as the matter at stake gets more important, and that's why online systems are probably ok for things like incorporated societies electing their officers, or maybe even the Labour party selecting a leader...

    The biggest issue that still gives me pause is that using them in lower risk situations would normalise them for use in a general election. People will become habituated, not understand the risk, and demand them in contexts where they're not appropriate.

    Maybe I'm an old fuddy duddy. I still don' t really approve of postal, either.

    Finally, as a general opponent of online voting, I do worry about disabled voters. There needs to be a solution that works for them. I understand proxy vote by telephone has worked well in the last election, but I'd like to see investigation of other technical solutions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

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