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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

An Elected Aristocracy?

Plugged into local TV just moments ago for a dose of what's been happening around. I was sadly surprised to see too much election related violence. The anchor was correct in asking: what makes people spend huge sums of money, as well as kill people for the opportunity to "serve"?

At first I thought it would simply be a matter of inefficiency in delivering election results to Manila that makes it really difficult to count everyone's votes as quickly and as accurately as possible. Given the election related violence and shenanigans happening--- i don't think that's the worst of our problems.

Take Masbate for instance, where police and military are struggling to protect the ballot and the voters from armed camps. Could it be that if it was possible to arrest the criminals half the population of Masbate would be in jail? Is it that bad out there as in many parts of the country? Masbate is just one of many examples.

Is all this violence related in some way to this country having a sort of an "elected aristocracy"? like these politicians are vying to keep their fiefdoms? And so they must protect their territory, their power and ultimately their wealth?

It would be interesting when the dust is settled to find out what exactly makes us tick.

Since this is a light day, and the Philippines is moving towards an electronic count. I'll leave you with this video from Alex J. Feldman, J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten of Princeton University. They came out with this video after studying the flaws of a US voting machine and how a malicious code can undermine an election:
1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection. The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss. We have constructed demonstration software that carries out this vote-stealing attack.
2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute. In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.
3. AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruse! s - computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre- ! and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects.
4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold's software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines' hardware. Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensure security.

Given that there is already an existing law on electronic voting, might we double check whether or not such machine is as vulnerable as this diebold counting machine? Given also that election violence is such a prominent feature of our election, might we figure out a way such that we move away from such incidents in the future by determining why exactly people pay huge sums of money to win and also go through the extent of killing just to win.


Gregory said...

When you watch Episode 22 of Heroes, you'll see exactly what you were talking about in your post. :-)

You should check out Jim Paredes' blog too- -another good one - with smart entries. FYI.

Cocoy said...
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Cocoy said...

yep. saw it. :)) really takes the whole Landslide bit to a whole new level!

(fyi, for those who haven't seen/missed Heroes Chapter 22: Landslide you can view it via NBC's webpage: here or you can download it via iTunes.)

yes, been reading jim paredes, , he has interesting ideas! thanks for the heads up gregory.