Friday, 9 March 2012

Online Democracy

I read another article this morning slamming the incompetent Herr Cameron as an out of touch public school boy who thinks of his class and ilk, and sod everyone else. I won’t argue with that, he has been a massive disappoint as a leader, Brown was clueless, Cameron is just heartless.

Anyway this is not what I wanted to discuss, at the bottom of the article which was in the Telegraph, normally a right wing paper, one of the comments suggested we need to change to an online democracy. Allow the people to vote via the internet on issues, I think I may have discussed this before sometime but cannot be certain. I personally think this is a great idea, but how it would be implemented at present is debatable.

Let’s be honest in saying at present the current type of democracy seen in Britain, the US and the rest of the western world doesn’t work and hasn’t worked for years. By now with the advancements in technology and other innovations we shouldn’t have poverty, we shouldn’t have lowering standards of education and healthcare. The system is corrupt and needs to be changed, as one person commenting said, it’s just three fat cats, basically clones in a massive rigged election. I have said as much myself, there is no real difference between the right and the left in Britain, they are essentially the same side of the same coin nowadays, only one is on the right of the coin, the other on the left, they aren’t even on different sides anymore.

I would vote yes to changing over a staggered period of time, from the present system to an online government and online democracy, a democracy the people actually have a say in. The problem is how to do it and how to get past the massive roadblocks undoubtedly placed in front of such a huge change in how our country is run.

The biggest roadblock will come from the greedy fat cats presently in power; it’s a win, win, for them in the present system so they are unlikely to want to see a change. It is unlikely the powerful corporations behind the greedy fat cats will want change either, unless they start to see a steady decrease in profits.

The next roadblock for the online democracy to work is everyone over the age of 18 will need access to an online computer. This is no small task, even though the internet is growing and more and more people have PC’s, there are still millions who do not. On top of this the logistics and security needed to make sure this type of government was not hacked or corrupted, would be very costly initially. In fact it would be costly continuously as updates and changes to make sure it was ahead of the technological war.

The next issue is who runs the departments? We will say for starters that the civil servants administer the system, but who runs it? This will most likely be the most powerful position in the country. There will still be a need for departments to activate the policies and laws created by this new system. There still needs to be a chain of command, but instead of thinking of the policies, the people will offer policy changes, and then the people will vote for each change. The civil servants will then administer the changes, no need to greedy fat cat MP’s to influence a policy for theirs or their friends benefit, or whatever corporation is giving them a nice backhander. I would think the only way an online democracy could work is if it started small and grew slowly. Take little steps before you try to walk, then run.

How do we deal with foreign policy and essential departments? Unfortunately many people do not care about anything other than their small part of the world. It is an unfortunate part of the human psyche that we are quite happy to see millions starve and live miserable lives in abject poverty, as long as we get our bins emptied once a week. How do we make sure we stay a leader in helping less fortunate parts of the world? Also what about our partners in Europe, lots of the British pubic are xenophobic beyond incredulity; how do we make sure this does not infect our foreign policy?

Another issue is who builds the infrastructure, will it be centrally controlled or private, a bit like Camelot running the lottery. The company given this contract will be a very powerful and profitable company in a short space of time. How will this be regulated? As the old adage goes, who watches the watcher?

Who designs the software to run the online democracy? This is a crucial part of the whole system because it has to be indestructible, incorruptible, and unhackable, it can never break down. It has to be able to allow millions of people to vote in their own time without any downtime or at least very little downtime.

What happens to national security issues? How do we protect our country from nefarious, fundamentalist regimes, or groups? All these issues would or could arise if the online democracy was not treated seriously by the people running it, and the people accessing it. Would we have criminal offences for abusers? How do we stop people selling their vote?

Now these are a few issues I have just thought of now in the time it has taken to write this. The idea of an online democracy is so appealing but it is also very difficult to administer, set up and keep secure at our present level of technology. Maybe this will change in the next few years, let’s hope it does. Still it is an interesting thought, and thoughts like this need to be taken seriously if we are to survive the greed of the few.

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