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Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Blink and you’d miss it, but unionist Tim Jacobson, Greens advisor Kartika Franks and Mayor Adriana Taylor are currently contesting a Tasmanian upper-house seat. As usual, interesting to note who has and who hasn’t complied with the Tasmanian Electoral Act as well as who doesn’t meet basic accessibility. The ultimate irony being the Commission’s own failure to meet basic accessibility.

For the record, I suspect I’ve written a great number of tweets that may not have been Authorised. Not living in an electorate that’s now at the polls lead to a situation where I was blissfully unaware I may have broken the law. Is this a case for a unicameral system? I have no idea. I do know if the Commissioner wants to stop me, he should already know where I live. He’s got my name and address on his electoral roll.

For the blood and gore, there’s Antony Green‘s blog about the contest for Elwick.

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There are still some tangental frayed story cords that I’d like to tidy up after the election as it looks like this crap sammich will still have legs well in to this year, with all parties promising to make sure the law reform takes place during the life of the next parliament. But for now…

With less than 12 hours to go before opening of polls in the Tasmanian election, candidates are settling in for the wait. New tweeps are coming out of the woodwork and the Facebook pages are having their profile pictures changed despite section S191. A well-known political action group seem unaware of S191’s requirements and a famous national blog got in on the action and hosted an unauthorised live blog. This Possum corrected this so that things could continue. Then there’s the TV stations running apparently unauthorised polls on their websites

With everything I’ve written about S191 and how Tasmania entered the election phase with such a mad law in place, with stuff written by national tech journals, published by the national broadcaster one can really only reach the conclusion that the Electoral Commission has selectively enforced the law, and further have bent at right angles it where it’s faced the smallest of hurdles (eg, websites of newspapers, advice completely at odds for the cited websites of  local TV stations). As I wrote the other day, there’s even a possibility that the Commission completely ignored the law when providing advice to one of the major political parties. The Commission even went as far as releasing the numbers of complaints against the ‘Robocalls‘, yet point-blank refused to release similar numbers for S191.

With all this, one can reach the reasonable following conclusions:

  1. The commission wasn’t sufficiently technically literate when S191.1.b was introduced
  2. Despite point one, the commission wilfully remained technically illiterate
  3. Because of points one and two, the commission utilised the tools of FUD to keep critics in a place where they cannot evaluate S191’s (and thus the Commission’s) enforcement during the election
  4. Possibly due to three, candidates and lobbyists were not ready to spend effort and time in comprehensive modern campaigning techniques as seen executed by the US Democrats in the 2007 Presidential Election (specifically Obama)

Because of point four, I believe that the election, whilst taking place in a fair way, may well be considered not to be free.

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In my previous lengthy write-up, I covered the reasons why I believe S191 of the Tasmanian Electoral Act is bunk, however I left many of the consequences alone. Also, since composing and publishing that post the Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner has published some guidance about internet commentary, but these barely answer any of the issues that exist with the Act. Here, I’ll attempt to delve further down the abyss of Nietzsche’s madness to see what we can find with specific regards to Facebook.

The Commissioner has instructed anyone who might make a comment on an electoral matter (this includes comments from ‘The current Premier’s no good’, to ‘The price of bananas is good at the moment’) that we should put our address ‘on a footer’, or in the case of Facebook ‘may be in the box where you can “write something about yourself”‘ (the ‘About Us’ box). First off, let’s just note as an aside his use of the word ‘may’ leads me to believe he’s unsure about whether this is enough. From my understanding, until S191’s internet clause has been to the Supreme Court, any advice he gives is guesswork. One could argue it’s the most educated guesswork in the land, but guesswork nevertheless. Still, this is a startling admission that the structure of the default web Facebook interface doesn’t give a method by which citizens can comply with the act.

His guideline would seem indicate that as long as the structure and layout of the website is beyond one’s direct control, it’s fine to directly break the act as long as one can find a creative way to attempt to comply. As it’s now OK that the Authorisation address is one click away from any electoral matter, I believe we might have a solution to the issue of how to Authorise Twitter, IM and group chat comments. But this then relies on third-party websites away from where the comment’s made being ‘up’ at the same time as where the matter’s published and remaining so afterwards so people can link the two. We now have the situation where there are various number of clicks and possibly, hosts depending on which platform, between the electoral matter and the authorisation.

What is a real worry, though, is that the Commissioner is requesting that every Tasmanian who makes a comment about an electoral matter (price of eggs) during the election campaign must have minimum privacy settings which expose some personal data. The Canadian Privacy Commissioner famously beat FB into submission about its original settings and yet is still pursuing them. However, the Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner wants to go in the other direction. He has indicated that any Tasmanian who makes a comment which might affect how someone votes (‘price of water’), must change their Account->Privacy Settings->About Me to ‘Everyone’, and pop their physical contact address in the About Me box. Now, I haven’t tested whether this makes an unclick-able profile click-able. I’m going out on a limb and guessing that it does. However, if it doesn’t there’s yet another setting that needs to be changed somewhere for people who usually get around with full ‘shields up’ privacy.

Congratulations. The Commissioner has told each Tasmanian who may make a comment on an Electoral Matter to hand their physical contact address to every member of every group and fan page they’re a member of, irrespective of whether these groups or fan pages have anything to do with Tasmania or the election. ‘10mil Nutters to Smother Themselves in Jelly & Roll Around in Peanut Butter‘? You’d better believe it.

Welcome to the Tasmanian Election 2010, digital style.

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Another year, another content platform. Luckily for me, this content platform’s like the last, a bit more flexible than the one before that or the other one after that… or was that before the after one? Certainly more informative to the average punter than the auto-generated stuff I’ve created in the past in multiple locations due to historical reasons. But will I be bothered to add anything useful here when my previously created platform‘s still used so heavily? Should I also link to places that have long since expired? I’m getting on to 40 years old, been online in one form or another since I was 12. This is getting beyond a joke. Not that long ago, I’d have a bookshelf with a collection of our favourites and a journal I’d scrawl our notes in. Such an idea today is considered wildly anachronistic. If you’re not Tweeting your URLs and RT’ing stuff someone else said, sharing a post or datamining and dark stalking some random group on FB, stealing licks and melodies from MySpace or republishing someone else’s work on YouTube and claiming it as your own by adding subtitles and posting it to Digg or Reddit, you’re past it.

In the words of one of my favourite groups of lyricists, if you’re not famous by fourteen you’re finished. Or in my case with this blog, 40. I’d best warm up the coffee and get cracking…

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