Just launching - CIVIL will hopefully bring quality journalism back. A new model which will move away from corporate, Ad driven click journalism joincivil.com/about/

@doryandgeoff its not quite that simple, the is a backlash against blockchain coins at the moment. CIVIL is based on this technology.

@Hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff Blockchain doesn't have to be energy-intensive (apparently) but it is still rather unclear what the point of choosing blockchain over conventional databases might be.

@jim @doryandgeoff one of the problems is that the people who start the coin end up with a huge pile's of them so then they have the motivation to push the coin out to increase/keep the value of this private pile of coins. That's one of the resions why we have so many of different "coins" being pushed hard the last few years.

Low energy paths are not tested so hot air for now to keep the whole thing expanding

The tech is interesting.

@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff most alt-coins are #PonziCoin (see: ponzico.win), but there are some legitimate blockchain experiments
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@strypey @jim @doryandgeoff all interesting but "it is still rather unclear what the point of choosing blockchain over conventional databases might be." is a question that need to be asked for these projects. If the answer is just then they are taking up space that needs to be filled by projects.

@Hamishcampbell @strypey @doryandgeoff Maybe, but perhaps nobody cares about the underlying tech so long as it works.

More important (and difficult to ascertain at a glance) is what the values and social (market) model is in each case.

Coin-based systems are presumably a way for individuals to vote / micro-pay for certain activities. That's OK but presumably needs some care and will have some limitations. For instance, the likely market outcomes and social needs have to be closely aligned.

@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff one of the key questions when net services and human organization are combined is "who owns the server?"
@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff the advantage of a distributed database is that everyone running the software owns the server.
@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff take #NameCoin. #DNS is centralized, so whoever owns the root servers (currently #ICANN) calls the shots
@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff in #NameCoin, a blockchain replaces the root servers, so no authority can confiscate #NameCoin domains
@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff then there's ascribe.io, which allows creators to register their work and its #CC license on a blockchain
@hamishcampbell @jim @doryandgeoff ... instead of trying to get all creators to agree on a single entity to host a copyright database

@strypey @Hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff … at which point I start getting quite worried. Even if tech can solve some of the issues around online voting, there are significant social problems with online voting. It seems impossible right now to ensure that a vote cast on a computer is actually done in secret.

@strypey @Hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff Copyright is difficult for different reasons. It is extensively generated, and always contestible, for instance.

@jim @hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff secrecy of voting is not a problem specific to online voting. Postal voting has the exact same issue

@strypey @Hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff That's precisely true but it does not make online voting a good idea. Large scale postal voting is already abused.

The other social issue is trust in the verification. This is very hard to achieve when non-technical people who are inclined to distrust the election process are asked to believe what engineers claim.

Remember in the UK? Or think about the claims of fraud around many recent elections.

@jim @hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff if you want to hack election results, social engineering (eg via FB) is simpler
https://xkcd.com/538/

@strypey @Hamishcampbell @doryandgeoff I'm not sure that is an answer.

In the US, the (successful) attempts to hack electronic voting systems were clearly to design to throw doubt on the result – which they did, even though it also turned out that votes had not been tampered with.

@jim you've raised a number of distinct issues here, and I only have 130 char per posts, so I'll deal with one issue per post (bear with me)
@jim postal voting may be abused (citation please) but it doesn't stop it being widely used, including in local government elections
@jim the need for verification is a key reason why any software used in elections must be free code, so parties can hire tech scrutineers
@jim key question: why do we elect representatives instead of voting ourselves? Because running in-person or postal referenda is costly ...
@jim ... if secure, online voting did work, we could have many elections for different purposes, none of which are worth the effort to crack
@jim influencing who gets to be #POTUS is worth a tremendous amount of money, time etc for a wide range of state and private actors ...
@jim but if there are are many single policy referenda each year, in each town, city, country etc none are as attractive as a target

@strypey I don't see how you arrive at that conclusion. Surely it depends on the nature of the vote? If the referendum is for a community centre to be built, or a massive bridge, then certain actors have definite reasons to manipulate the outcome.

@strypey The USA right now is debating making paper trails a requirement for all electronic elections, on the grounds of security,

If they succeed, then online voting will be hard in the US context. Yet the USA does a lot of the referenda you talk about. Which was the driver for voting booth machines in the first place.

So various things may be possible, but in summary online voting seems especially hard to do safely.

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@jim kind of, but not #TheRussianTM, not people who have the resources to crack a free code system developed by experts from many parties

@strypey I would tackle that at the other end: finding ways to create participatory democracy from the ground up. Including through local government.

Open code does not eliminate the whole set of verification issues, at each level.

Yes some elections are more worth hacking than others. But any vuln anywhere calls any election into doubt. CF Netherlands evoting machines being withdrawn for local elections.

@strypey On the local election fraud, see: bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lond for instance.

Postal ballots are also open to small scale intimidation, from family members etc.

Postal and online voting are not secret ballots. This is a problem.

@jim so the only workable answer is paper and pen in voting booths?
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