This week’s seminar was all about voting. We talked about how voting can be facilitated by the internet, what consequences this and facebook might have on the bahaviour of the voters and how the security of voting will be influence in contrast to todays voting system.
There is a lot of scepticism towards voting electronically. People argue that the data could be manipulated by various people or that they will have no chance to recount the votes if something went wrong. On the other hand, voting electronically could also save a lot of time, workforce and resources because there will be much less paperwork to in order to count and analyse votes and determine the outcome of elections. Voting electronically can also make it a lot easier to anylayse the data.
Another question which was frequently brought up in todays seminar was if everybody should be forced to vote. I don’t think so. Everybody should have the right the vote, but everybody should also have the same right not to vote. Everybody should be able to decide for themselves if they are informed and educated enough to vote and if they feel they don’t, people should be free not to vote.
A big topic was also how facebook can and does influence and alters elections and its outcomes. The readings for this week showed that in fact facebook is able to do alter elections, for example through just showing the user specific content on their news feed or the “I voted” – button. To be honest, I was not really surprised to hear that facebook not only alters the way we spend our time and our communication with friends and family, but also has the power to influence the voting process and the outcome of elections. The risk here is that people believe that facebook is neutral and just delivers information, whereas facebook is actually analysing, choosing and altering what you see, thus is far away from neutral. I really think the danger here is not the fact that facebook conciously alters the user experience, but that people are not aware of the fact that facebook is doing this and think that facebook is neutral.
To conclude, I think that voting electronically has both advantages and disadvantages. Everybody should keep in mind that all systems made up by humans can be hacked by humans, thus no system will ever be safe, neither the traditional paper voting system nor the electronical voting system. If people want to betray the system, they can do it anyways.And we also should be aware of the fact that everything that happens around us is influencing us in what we do and thus also how we vote. There is just a general bad feeling if we get influenced by other people in certain ways without us even noticing it.