Voting By Cell Phone Is A Terrible Idea, And West Virginia Is Probably The Last State That Should Try It Anyway

from the industrialized-incompetence dept

So we've kind of been over this. For more than two decades now we've pointed out that electronic voting is neither private nor secure. We've also noted that despite this several-decade long conversation, many of the vendors pushing this solution are still astonishingly-bad at not only securing their products, but acknowledging that nearly every reputable security analyst and expert has warned that it's impossible to build a secure fully electronic voting system, and that if you're going to to do so anyway, at the very least you need to include a paper trail system that's not accessible via the internet.

Having apparently learned nothing, reports emerged this week that West Virginia is considering launching an initiative that would let some state residents vote via cellphone. To be clear, the effort initially appears focused on letting troops stationed overseas vote. Not surprisingly, more than a few folks were quick to highlight to CNN how this would be an arguably terrible idea:

"Mobile voting is a horrific idea," Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN in an email. "It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote."

Marian K. Schneider, president of the election integrity watchdog group Verified Voting, was even more blunt. Asked if she thought mobile voting is a good idea, she said, "The short answer is no."

Given security analysts routinely aren't sure whether or not our existing voting systems may have been compromised by actors foreign and/or domestic, and the federal government just got done making it clear election security isn't a priority with an idiotically-partisan vote, it seems like a pretty terrible time to begin trying to implement new online voting efforts. And if you've watched West Virginia's blistering corruption when it comes to sectors like the telecom industry, the state is probably the last state in the union that should be attempting such a voting system overhaul.

Judging from online conversations, the company that's building the new West Virginia system (Voatz) may not be the best choice either, since it doesn't appear capable of securing its own website:

Comforting. Ideally, the system would involve a user first registering by taking a photo of their government-issued ID and a selfie-video of their face, which are then registered via the app. Voatz claims the company's facial recognition software will then ensure the photo and video submitted are of the same person, with users then able to cast their ballot using the Voatz app. Documents the company circulates at trade shows indicate the company utilizes the blockchain to ensure its systems are more secure and "fundamentally different than touchscreen or online voting." But the company has failed to clarify how.

There's roughly a million and one ways this entire process could go to hell, from SS7 vulnerabilities to man in the middle attacks everywhere along the chain between your device and the Voatz database. And if there's not a hard paper trail, it opens the door to any number of undetectable changes that could happen during transit. Of course this has all been repeatedly stated countless times over the last few decades, but it's a message that's still not apparently getting through.


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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:03am

    OH LOOK!! RUSSIA HAS STINGRAY CELL TOWERS NOW

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  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:07am

    My apologies for not commentating on the article, but i don't know where else to ask a question on this site.

    I find it disturbing that as a technews site there has been no comments about the censoring of infowars. I think alex jones is a lunatic, but it should terrify every independant website that such a thing can happen.

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    • icon
      lucidrenegade (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      Alex Jones broke the terms of service for a number of websites, so he lost his right to use them. The 1st amendment only applys to the government censoring or restricting your speech, not a private corporation. I know you didn't mention it specifically, but a lot of people misunderstand it.

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      • icon
        lucidrenegade (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re:

        Hopefully I didn't just feed a Russian troll. :0)

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      • identicon
        I.T. Guy, 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:45am

        Re: Re:

        Funny that when this came out I read it on Ars. I hadn't been to infowars in a loooong time. So I wanted to see what the hub bub was all about. Turns out one of the bans was for what someone said in an interview. And another one was for "Fake News" that wasn't fake, nut the headlin wording got it banned. Funny that not one outlet tried to reach Jones or a Jones spokesperson for their side of the story.

        For the most part, infowars had articles not out of the ordinary.

        “I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it”

        Seems to me like the retarded kid is being picked on and nobody seems to want to help.

        First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Socialist.

        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nah this is the asshole kid who bullies other kids being told by the teacher they are expelled for bullying other kids.

          Also, anyone telling you nobody reached out to anyone at Infowars or to Jones is just outright lying to you. For example, The NYT has interviewed him. You really need to seek sources outside of your conspiracy bubble.

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          • identicon
            I.T. Guy, 8 Aug 2018 @ 12:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You really need to seek sources outside of your conspiracy bubble"

            As I said
            "Funny that when this came out I read it on Ars."
            I didn't see the NYT article you expect me to have seen, and the ARS article didnt bother.

            "Nah this is the asshole kid who bullies other kids"
            Do you even do irony brah?

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          “I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it”

          Alex Jones has a right to say whatever the fuck he wants (with standard exceptions including incitement, fraud, defamation, etc.). He does not have the right to say it in my house.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      it should terrify every independant website that such a thing can happen.

      Why? Alex Jones is free to spew his odious lies and assorted bullshit on his own platform and any other platform that would have him. Apple, Google, etc. did nothing to stop him from doing that, and Jones is not legally entitled to force those companies into hosting his speech or giving him a platform with which he can spread his bullshit. By now, anyone who was truly interested in reading/listening to anything from Jones in particular and InfoWars in general knows where to find it—and they are more than free to link others to it on the same platforms from which Jones was booted.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re:

        I do see a problem here, but it's not that private platforms have a right to deny service to people -- that part I'm perfectly fine with.

        The problem is that online discourse has come to be dominated by a handful of very large platforms, and those platforms wield an inordinate amount of power.

        (Cory Doctorow has a bit more on this today.)

        The solution to the problem isn't to restrict the rights of the platforms. The solution is to quit using them. Easier said than done, obviously.

        You and I've talked before about Mastodon and WordPress and the benefits of open platforms on open protocols. And I've said before that I'd really like to see a shift back to those, to smaller communities.

        It's going to require people to think very differently about how they approach the Internet, and it's not going to be easy. But I think it could achieve some level of success in the same way that "buy local" campaigns do. Budweiser isn't going anywhere, but microbreweries are more popular than ever; there are markets that have proven that some people -- maybe not most, but some -- prefer something smaller, that they feel they get a better experience that way.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:58pm

          The larger issue lies in how sites like Twitter and Facebook centralized the one thing that should never have been centralized on the Internet: communities.

          Before centralized social interaction networks—Twitter, Facebook, and even MySpace and Livejournal before them—Internet communities were on entirely different platforms, specifically forums. A fan community for, say, one specific cartoon would rarely have shared space with a fan community of another cartoon. Forums for niche interests remained niche themselves, although the occasional bout of “atrocity tourism” started via email and instant messaging likely struck those at some point. The web was largely decentralized and interests splintered into separate communities, and lo, it was good.

          Then came the centralized services—the silos, if you will. Rather than keep the communities separate, the silos decided that having everyone interacting with each other regardless of interest would be better for…well, the silos, really. Nobody with the power to stop the silos really thought through the ethics and morals and potential ramifications of centralizing social interaction until it was far too late.

          A decade-plus after the first wave of Twitter’s popularity and the complete erosion of trust in the silos, people have begun to tire of this bullshit. Why should they have to put up with harassment and bullying just so they can talk to other people with similar interests? Why should they have to share a platform with avowed racists, liars, and Donald Trump? Mastodon represents the first major step in going back to what we had before—decentralized communities on separate platforms—while allowing people to choose whether they want to bridge those communities together via federation. The move away from the silos also allows for better control of data associated with those services; unless an instance admin is a particularly awful person, Mastodon instances tend to avoid advertising and using data for nefarious/capitalistic purposes. (anticapitalist.party is an actual Masto instance, by the way.)

          Yes, some of these services might one day grow large enough to become a silo in and of themselves. But that is why these new protocols are open-source and freely available: If one instance grows “too big”, anyone can spin off a specialized instance of their own and invite their friends onto it. mastodon.social has no danger of becoming Twitter even if it remains the “flagship” instance of Mastodon. Too many instances already exist as alternatives—or, like in the Before Time, as secondary outlets for exploring different interests and communicating with others who share them.

          Decentralization is the goal. Getting there is gonna be a hell of a fight. Then again, so was getting people to take Twitter seriously…and look how that turned out.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 3:40pm

            Re:

            The larger issue lies in how sites like Twitter and Facebook centralized the one thing that should never have been centralized on the Internet: communities.

            Sites like them, but a decade or two before them. Well, these two became general-community centralizations, but long before marketers declared "web 2.0", each individual community had largely centralized into a handful of sites. While they changed over time, and none of them became so overwhelmingly huge, we could name a topic and people would usually agree on the top few sites for that topic.

            Nobody's ever figured out how that should work in a satisfying way. We could all run some blog instance, but what if we want to be anonymous or have a bunch of pseudonyms? Maybe I could figure out how to anonymously buy Bitcoin from some local person (but someone watching them would know where "local" is for me), then use it to buy hosting anonymously, install some open-source package, repeat for each pseudonym.... it's really not practical. And then we're not a "community", just a network of sparsely linked blogs.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 5:52pm

              Re: Re:

              then we're not a "community", just a network of sparsely linked blogs

              In fairness, the decentralized “community structures” of the World Wide Web back in the 1990s and early 2000s were pretty much that: a network of sparsely linked websites that shared a common interest. Directories like the Anipike and stuff like webrings came about as a way of helping people find sites for their specific fandom/community. Now that we have functions like tag systems on sites like Tumblr, we no longer need to leave a specific site if we want to find a community (such as it is).

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              • icon
                Thad (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 10:00am

                Re: Re: Re:

                I've been a member of a messageboard for the past sixteen years or so. It's changed hands and platforms a couple of times, and most of the community has moved on, but it's still the online community I think of as my online community.

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          • icon
            Thad (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 4:05pm

            Re:

            The web was largely decentralized and interests splintered into separate communities, and lo, it was good.

            Then came the centralized services—the silos, if you will.

            I fear it's more dire than that.

            A lot of people came from silos -- the closed, proprietary online networks of the 1990s, chiefly AOL (I was a Prodigy kid myself) --, decided the open Internet was a much better value proposition...and then changed their minds a decade later and decided nah, let's go back to AOL's way of doing things, because it's easier and everybody else is doing it.

            Mastodon represents the first major step in going back to what we had before—decentralized communities on separate platforms—while allowing people to choose whether they want to bridge those communities together via federation.

            Yeah, we've talked about Mastodon before; here's what I said the other day:

            I've never used Mastodon (when have you ever known me to keep a post under 500 characters?), but from what I've read I'm very impressed with its design. I think a series of smaller, (optionally) interlinked social networks makes a lot more sense than a single, large provider, and is a good solution to the moderation problem (good moderation doesn't scale; a single giant service with millions of users will never have effective moderation, but a series of smaller networks with their own individual rules and moderation teams can).

            And that's without even getting into the clear superiority of open platforms over proprietary ones.

            I read a good piece at Computing the other day called Decentralising the web: Maintaining the momentum. There are certainly some promising ideas out there, and in some cases (like Mastodon) the technology is already there; in other cases we're talking about protocol-level changes that could take decades (how's that IPv6 rollout going, guys?). And aside from the technology is the perhaps-even-more-difficult problem of changing people's attitudes so that they learn to value open, distributed platforms again.

            We're definitely seeing some backlash against Facebook and Twitter right now; I used Budweiser-versus-microbreweries as my example a couple posts up, but the truth is Facebook and Twitter are far more vulnerable than Budweiser is. (Anheuser-Busch InBev has never lost 20% of its value in a single day.) That's good. But there's a gap between people getting fed up with the big corporate social networks and people changing their attitudes so that they choose smaller, independently-run social networks. It doesn't help much if people quit Facebook and go to Instagram.

            I think we're talking about changing people's priorities and values here. I think it's possible. I even think the answer is simple. But simple isn't the same thing as easy, and changing the way the general public thinks about the Internet is a difficult problem indeed.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 6:26pm

              I think we're talking about changing people's priorities and values here. I think it's possible. I even think the answer is simple. But simple isn't the same thing as easy, and changing the way the general public thinks about the Internet is a difficult problem indeed.

              Difficult, but not impossible. I refuse to believe Facebook, Twitter, etc. cannot be replaced by something better—and possibly something less addictive than those sites are designed to be.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:26am

                Re:

                " I refuse to believe Facebook, Twitter, etc. cannot be replaced by something better"

                They didn't replace something better. They replaced something worse.

                Circa Netscape 1.1, you could create a typical web site in a day, starting from scratch even if you didn't know html. The default fonts sucked, but all sites were pretty much equal in that respect. It just wasn't that difficult in the beginning.

                As HTML became more complex with the addition of java, css and flash; making a "typical" site became more than a week long process for a skill developer. Not to mention the security problems that along with the more complex site architectures.

                The community came partly from the egalitarian nature of the medium. Simply stated: the W3C fucked HTML up so bad that people went to other platforms.

                That isn't to say that reverting isn't possible. But your talking about forking the whole stack. Which by modern software standards is doable. And it probably should be done. But it isn't going to happen without a hefty bankroll.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 5:42am

              Re: Re:

              I've never used Mastodon (when have you ever known me to keep a post under 500 characters?)

              Okay, I've heard of Mastodon but never investigated it, and now I'm seeing the 500-character limit. That's bizarre. People have been overselling this software. A general-purpose federation technology wouldn't have arbitrary limits like that. It hints at something fundamentally wrong with the design.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:00am

                The protocol’s default limit is 500 characters; because it is open-source, anyone who spins their own instance with Mastodon can change that limit for their instance. All other federated instances will display longer posts as intended.

                As for the design…well, Masto is designed to be a Twitter-esque microblogging platform and not, you know, a full-bore blogging platform like Tumblr or Wordpress. Blame any failures of design on the inspiration, I guess. (At least Masto has “content warning” functionality. You can hide spoilers!)

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:04am

                  Re:

                  anyone who spins their own instance with Mastodon can change that limit for their instance. All other federated instances will display longer posts as intended.

                  That seems reasonable then. A good protocol is much more important than the software.

                  As for the design…well, Masto is designed to be a Twitter-esque microblogging platform and not, you know, a full-bore blogging platform

                  From a protocol point of view, I can't say I see a huge difference between microblogging and "regular" blogging. It would be unfortunate if we needed different federation protocols for blogging, micro-blogging, photo-blogging, etc.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:15am

                    Re: Re:

                    It would be unfortunate if we needed different federation protocols for blogging, micro-blogging, photo-blogging, etc.

                    In fairness, we already compartmentalize in that way with our current crop of social interaction networks - Twitter for firing off quick thoughts/arguing with randos, Instagram for sharing pictures/arguing with randos, Tumblr for general-ish blogging/arguing with randos, and so on - so open-sourcing each of those functionalities separately makes sense. It also leaves room for people to experiment with what they want to do with each of those SINs, including the use of different identities on different SINs to compartmentalize and explore different facets of their personal identity.

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                • icon
                  Thad (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 10:04am

                  Re:

                  Yeah, it's not just the character limit; the design in general isn't really appealing to me.

                  I've got a blog for my monologues, and I use a handful of online forums for dialogue. It works for me, mostly.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 10:31am

                    Re: Re:

                    That sounds like a great approach, actually. Twitter and their ilk have replaced blogging in general, so returning back to blogging is wonderful; it is still, after all, a better way of collecting coherent thoughts that do not need “separating” because of a character limit. And I miss old-school forums, so I say bring those back, too.

                    Besides, not all services like Twitter have to be for everybody. I am not on Instagram, for example, because I have nothing to share in terms of self-created imagery.

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      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re:

        I think the real heartburn is that these platforms are applying these standards and TOS violations in an extremely biased way, only against people of a certain political bent.

        Jones was banned from Facebook but Farrakhan,s Nation of Islam page remains, despite it being every bit as objectionable and TOS-violating as InfoWars. So are the various Antifa pages, which routinely call for violence against those who disagree with them.

        And on a personal note, I find it amusing that alleged conservatives are asserting that private property should be considered a public resource, and alleged liberals are applauding the power of corporations to control public discourse.

        We're living in the Twilight Zone.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:31am

          I find it amusing that alleged conservatives are asserting that private property should be considered a public resource, and alleged liberals are applauding the power of corporations to control public discourse.

          I do not applaud how Twitter, Facebook, etc. have the power to control public discourse at large. That shit is fucking scary, and we should all acknowledge and discuss it. Alls I have been doing is pointing out that those companies have the right to boot people from those platforms—and that regulating said right to enforce a false sense of political neutrality is as scary an idea as letting megacorps control our speech.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:23pm

      Re:

      Click on the link "Submit A Story" at the top of the page.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:22am

    "Mobile voting is a horrific idea," Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN in an email. "It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote."

    I can't help but wonder what his opinion of absentee ballots (voting by mail) is. Direct analogues of all those same criticisms apply, but so many people seem to think it's an amazing, awesome thing that's good for democracy...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 12:21pm

      Re:

      The key thing with absentee PAPER ballots is they do NOT get counted until it has been verified that the voter has not cast a ballot elsewhere. How would that work with cel phone voting if the authorities had to verify each voter cast only one ballot, even electronic. If a voter cast a paper ballot and voted electronically which ballot gets counted? Worst case both ballots would be rejected.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:37pm

        Re: Re:

        How would that work with cel phone voting if the authorities had to verify each voter cast only one ballot, even electronic.

        About the same way as it currently works, except that verifying the electronic side is much easier as there are no questions of poor handwriting to deal with.

        But that doesn't even address the myriad problems with the integrity of mail-in ballots. Going back to the original quote:

        "Mobile voting is a horrific idea," Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN in an email. "It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote."

        Hall mentions three security vulnerabilities: 1) the ballot itself on an insecure device, 2) the network over which the vote is sent, 3) the server where it's counted.

        With a mail-in ballot:

        1) in many cases the ballot is mailed to you, and can be intercepted 2) the ballot is filled out insecurely. (Just imagine how trivial it would be if an abusive husband wanted to steal his wife's vote, just for starters.) 3) the ballot is submitted by mail, where it could be intercepted 4) the ballot may not end up getting counted for various reasons, as noted above

        So why do we think that this is a good idea again?

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So why do we think that this is a good idea again?

          Because there's no evidence that any of the hypotheticals you suggest are actually happening, and the real benefit of increasing access to voting outweighs the imagined drawbacks of mass mail fraud.

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        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Overall, Military members have been concerned about the security of the vote by mail process for a while - the Navy newspaper tends to share articles from admirals around voting time recommending people consider using tracked mail services when in person is impossible. One admiral noted that during the 2000 election, he was informed his ballot did not arrive on time, despite having signature confirmation that it, in fact, did. (Mentioned in the lead up to the 2004 election)

          The big issue, is that international vote by app could be easier to target malware packages for, and provides less exposure for the interceptor, and because of the lack of paper ballot it is impossible to audit the results.

          Vote by mail is certainly more secure than E-Voting right now. Vote by mail can be intercepted, and abusers can abuse the system, and votes have been shown to be not counted in the past, but you need to be physically proximate to the vote. E-voting as the same risks, plus foreign actors, state and private, trolls and more from all over the world. Vote by mail is a necessary system to enfranchise many voters (military, elderly) that likely shouldn't be pushed as hard as it is for general use. But with Republicans, State and Federal, of the belief that elections are too wasteful currently (see ridiculous state cutbacks in 2016 and recent security votes in congress), it is unlikely we will get the investment in critical voting infrastructure necessary to reduce dependency on vote by mail.

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          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't understand on a fundamental basis why it is that we can't seem to secure an electronic voting system, whether it's in-person or via a mobile device.

            We have so many other vital systems in society that are presumably secure enough to function normally without interference.

            The financial system: I can pull up my bank account on my phone and transfer money around and the banks themselves are linked in a global network where billions are shifted around every second. Somehow that system is secure enough that we're all not being robbed of our life savings on a daily basis.

            The stock market: Somehow the stock market functions without the loss of billions of dollars in hacked transactions.

            The military: Heavily dependent on computers and the internet. Somehow they've managed to effectively secure their deadly weapons systems.

            I could go on. It's amazing to me that we can do all that, but secure voting seems to be only a fantasy at this point.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 10:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The financial system: I can pull up my bank account on my phone and transfer money around and the banks themselves are linked in a global network where billions are shifted around every second. Somehow that system is secure enough that we're all not being robbed of our life savings on a daily basis.

              The bank keeps a record of every financial transaction you make.

              The stock market: Somehow the stock market functions without the loss of billions of dollars in hacked transactions.

              Stock markets keep a record of every online trade, the seller, and the buyer.

              The military: Heavily dependent on computers and the internet. Somehow they've managed to effectively secure their deadly weapons systems.

              The military keeps a record of what users do on its computers.

              I could go on. It's amazing to me that we can do all that, but secure voting seems to be only a fantasy at this point.

              The part you seem to have missed is that voting is supposed to be anonymous.

              Every single one of your examples is of an entity that keeps track of exactly what every individual user on its network does.

              That is not desirable for voting.

              A voting system requires that (1) a record be kept that someone has voted; (2) a record be kept of who that person voted for; (3) the person who cast the vote can verify that their vote was counted correctly; and (4) nobody else can connect that vote to that person.

              If you have a solution to this problem, then I'm sure there are a lot of people who would be very interested to hear it.

              Please note that just saying "blockchain" is not a solution.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:25am

    From the past..

    "voting is neither private nor secure. "
    REMOVE electronic and you have made the best assumption of the WHOLE thing since it started..

    We have a history of back dooring the WHOLE system.
    From the beginning to the end, all it takes is a few energetic persons or ALLOT of money..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:29am

    Submit us a Tip, but it takes time

    I expect that it's going to take a little while for Techdirt to come up with something useful on this subject (Alex Jones and Infowars being kicked off of Twitter and Facebook).

    Part of it is that partisans from all sides are expected to pull out their verbal swords, accomplishing nothing except further divisive dysfunction.

    There *is* an article about Facebook's censorship of legit activists shows policing propaganda being a fucking mess by Karl Bode from last Friday.

    Nobody has been able to come up with a *properly principled* solution to balancing Alex Jones' right to make up and speak realistic nonsense against the very real harms it causes, for example the armed guy investigating pizzagate, now in jail, and the harassment of the parents in the Sandy Hook Tragedy.

    Good luck, make me happy and prove me wrong with a counterexample!

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:24pm

      Nobody has been able to come up with a properly principled solution to balancing Alex Jones' right to make up and speak realistic nonsense against the very real harms it causes

      He is not legally entitled to use the platforms of others for the purpose of spreading his speech. Banning him for telling lies and generally being an asshole is properly principled in that Jones is an asshole and no platform should be legally forced to host his speech if it does not want to host his speech. If he hates the fact that some platforms do not want him, he has plenty of other platforms—including his own—that he can use, and his fans/followers/insane sychophants can always link to his speech on the platforms from which he was booted.

      Morally and ethically, I take no issue with any of the platforms that booted him. He slandered the families of Sandy Hook victims; for that alone, those platforms are justified—legally, morally, and ethically—in de-platforming him.

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      • identicon
        Christenson, 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:21pm

        Re: Principled solutions

        Intuitively, Facebook and twitter, being free, are open to all comers except those that "misbehave". They look a great deal like public accommodations, particularly given their unique, monopolistic positions in the marketplace.

        So it's fairly high on my scale of "government-like" power, therefore should follow consistent principles.

        I'm extremely wary of "someone is a dangerous lunatic" or whatever pejorative opinion you like as a principle...because that is wide open to suppressing the speech of activists, who will be equally unpopular with some.

        It also leaves twitter or facebook in the uncomfortable position of arbiter of truth.

        There's got to be a better way using some kind of counter-speech. Or so my gut tells me.... just like we take comments we don't like here and flag them or something!

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:36pm

          Re: Re: Principled solutions

          Intuitively, Facebook and twitter, being free, are open to all comers except those that "misbehave". They look a great deal like public accommodations, particularly given their unique, monopolistic positions in the marketplace.

          ...how can two companies both have a unique or monopolistic position in the same marketplace?

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          • identicon
            christenson, 8 Aug 2018 @ 7:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Principled solutions

            Umm, if the marketplaces are short announcments and shared feeds among friends, then each pretty well owns its respective market.

            Together, they form at best a duopoly of social media.

            The point is either has tremendous power.

            The state regulates monopolies (like utilities) with tremendous power, just like it regulates public accommodations, usually in the form of "non-discrimination" and published rules and tariffs. Personal animus for arbitrary reasons isn't supposed to be allowed. We ask for the same with net neutrality ourselves.

            And *that* is where the sovcits get the idea that they are being censored when Alex Jones is tossed from twitter and Facebook.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:05am

              We ask for the same with net neutrality ourselves.

              The difference between regulating ISPs and regulating companies like Twitter and Facebook is simple: In many places within the US, ISPs are a de facto monopoly, whereas social interaction networks cannot be a true monopoly by virtue of there always being more than one available to consumers.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 10:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Principled solutions

              I think you're off-base in calling them monopolies. There are many other social networks. You're free to use Google+ or Tumblr or whatever you like.

              It's fundamentally different from the lack of competition in ISPs. If I don't like Facebook, I can go somewhere else. If I don't like Cox, well, too bad; there's no other ISP available to me.

              That said, regardless of verbiage we're clearly in agreement on the outsized influence that Twitter and Facebook have.

              As I've said elsewhere in the thread, I do not believe the solution is for the government to compel them to host all legal speech. The solution is for their customers to take their business elsewhere.

              You don't like what Facebook is doing? Neither do I. That's why I don't use Facebook.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 2:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Principled solutions

                If I don't like Facebook, I can go somewhere else. If I don't like Cox, well, too bad; there's no other ISP available to me.

                Of course there is. There's dialup, satellite, cellular data, libraries, and of course you can move. Those are several unpalatable options, of course, kind of like if your friends all use Facebook and you don't want to.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 3:08pm

          They look a great deal like public accommodations

          Public accomodations have the right to kick people out for saying shit that disrupts business or otherwise annoys the other customers. Why should Twitter, Facebook, etc. have less of a right to enforce their terms of service?

          it's fairly high on my scale of "government-like" power, therefore should follow consistent principles

          The only things that makes those services “government-like” are the size and their social penetration. Those are arbitrary measurements that anyone with the right power can define however they choose to force legal sanctions upon a service they may not like. We have no universally agreed-upon metric at which a company like Twitter becomes “too big” to avoid tighter regulations than before it hit that point. Until we do, thinking they should be regulated like government entities does not strike me as a solid plan.

          I'm extremely wary of "someone is a dangerous lunatic" or whatever pejorative opinion you like as a principle...because that is wide open to suppressing the speech of activists, who will be equally unpopular with some.

          I am aware of that. I stand by what I said. Any service is free to boot anyone it thinks violates the Terms of Service; if that happens to be someone I would agree with, so be it. And being booted off a service does not deny someone the right to say elsehwere what they said on that service. It may limit the reach of their message, sure. But when have platforms ever been legally required to guarantee someone an audience?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:26pm

      Re: Submit us a Tip, but it takes time

      There is a link "Submit A Story" at the top of the page, it allows one to submit a story to the editors.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 9:56am

      Re: Submit us a Tip, but it takes time

      1 solution..
      HE CAN POST only on his section of the site..
      Anyone that wishes to View his stuff,
      Either connects to it EACH time(no subscribe)
      Or can subscribe.

      He can NOT propagate or advert his section or what he wishes to say..

      This would be fine with anyone..IMO..
      He would also be held liable for his OWN comments.

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  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:48am

    Stone age

    Time to drop stones in a tube that drop into the candidates bucket. Heaviest bucket at each polling station wins.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:46pm

      Re: Stone age

      Where are my lead stones at now?

      Not that anyone (cough... Republicans and Democrats... cough) would EVER do such a thing... I mean who, besides the dirty rotten commie bastard Russians would try to manipulate an election?

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 8 Aug 2018 @ 11:59am

    So what you're saying is...

    they're making a bad call?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 12:11pm

    as always...

    Randall is on the case
    https://xkcd.com/2030/

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  • icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 12:36pm

    Computerized Voting: My stance

    I have voted in two areas in my life. San Jose and Las Vegas. All my voting experience came after the infamous Handing Chad incidents which lead to the federal government dumping money into voting improvements. Las Vegas and San Jose took 2 very different approaches.

    Las Vegas in 2012 was using a e-voting system. Touchscreen, lots of info, and in the end it was printing a clear, human readable paper receipt (on what appeared to be standard receipt paper), that was stored with the machine and I could not access. A decent safeguard in the vein of security recommendations, but a recount or tampering verification using the paper receipt would be...difficult.

    San Jose, despite, or perhaps because of, being in the middle of tech ground zero, uses paper ballots. Its a clean, clear system - there are arrows pointing to your choices, with a gap in each one. Fill in the appropriate gaps, and that is your ballot. It does have issues with accessability for those with carpel tunnel, and is time consuming in large elections.

    I recognize the security issues with e-voting, but would prefer an e voting system for ease of use.

    Here is my solution. An e-voting system, that prints your selections to a card stock ballot similar to the one used by San Jose, that you then verify is accurate and turn in. Those ballots are then machine counted (as I assume they are now). This produces a gap between the voting and the counting that reduces security issues, hopefully speeds up voting, and produces a solid paper trail that is easy to count and verify for accuracy of the machine count. The ease of e voting with the security of a paper ballot. Best of both worlds.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Computerized Voting: My stance

      Best of both worlds.

      Not quite "best". You don't get the full security of paper ballots (the machine could leak vote details, by keeping logs or by EMI). Depending on how the scanning works, maybe the machine could be made to see a false vote that's not visible on the ballot. But it does bring real benefits over fully paper-based systems, and might be worth it.

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      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:37pm

        Re: Re: Computerized Voting: My stance

        Ok, but the scanning issue is one that exists in ALL paper ballot systems today. We don't count things by hand unless there is an issue. And because it uses paper ballots, there can be auditing to determine accuracy of the vote totals, and hand recounts. I mean the Hanging Chad ballots were first scanned, then when the computer was unsure spat out for human's to decide what the intent of the ballot is.

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      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: Computerized Voting: My stance

        Also, leaking ballots is a minor security issue, I would think, as it doesn't link to an individual, and all that tells you is, in the end, the results of the election. the big issues of security revolve around securing the results from manipulation, not the results themselves.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 12:50pm

    Is Voatz run by the same people who run Voat? Because that would be hilarious.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 1:57pm

    We don't yet have a sufficiently secure technology.

    I imagine we can create a sufficient online voting technology with time and effort. It would probably involve state-released hash keys, two-to-three-step identity verification, and some sort of asymmetrical signing and blockchain databasing.

    But we're totally not there yet. We haven't seen any tests on less-critical elections (such as a homeowners' association election). We don't have any technology we know works pretty well, and has been thoroughly penetration-tested.

    This is a scam by which to facilitate meddling.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 4:04pm

    Things keep going from bad to worse,

    I realize the United States would never allow this to happen...
    But! in other Countries when a democratic electoral system breaks down like this.. UN Election Monitors are sent in to 'ensure fairness' :)

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Aug 2018 @ 8:08pm

      To big to judge.

      If we were able to apply the same rules and reliefs applied by the UN (or the global community) to other smaller nations, a lot of US debt falls well into the realm of odious debt. Including many contemporary subsidies and government contracts.

      But our nation and our debt are way to big to forgive.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 7:34pm

    For many of the parties involved, the failure to get the message is a feature not a bug.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 7:46pm

    Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

    If you deny to anyone else the right to say what you think is wrong, it will not be long before you will lose the right to say what you think is right. Defense of the freedom of others is self-defense. Voltaire stated this fact as a genius can: “I wholly disagree with what you say and will contend to the death for your right to say it.”

    Yes, all you corporatists will cling to your right to police your own web site as you see fit. You will abandon the defense of others to speak, as you always have. You will take for granted the rights hard won by American fighting men and women over centuries. The lawyers among you will cite anarchist arguments about the reasonableness of your position.

    Defense of the freedom of others is self-defense. That is a timeless truth. Journalists in England are being tortured, and the public (including “I Support Journalism - Techdirt) is silent. The maniacal mob of Techdirt will write at length about how defense of others is unimportant and unwarranted, because they disagree with their words. They will cast doubt and disparagement and otherwise defame those with views that they do not hold themselves.

    Sad. Obvious, ugly, nasty, but consistent. Techdirt has a position and is sticking to it. One side to every issue, silence all critics here, and applaud the silencing of critics elsewhere.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 7:56pm

      Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

      Funny how those "American fighting men and women" fought for all those rights except the rights of people to exclude others from using their services.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 8:03pm

        Re: Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

        Yes, I predicted that coming to the defense of others would be beyond your moral ability to comprehend. That you for making my point for me.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:14am

          We can comprehend coming to the defense of others, even a shithead like Alex Jones. What we cannot comprehend is the idea that platforms should be forced into hosting his speech under some sense of “morality” that would have platforms enforce false neutrality to ease your personal moral anguish. Think of it this way: If you wanted to kick someone out of your house for saying awful things about your family, your friends, and your pet poodle Fluffikins with the pink bow on the collar, why would you listen to anyone telling you how kicking that person out of your house is an immoral act?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:49am

            Re:

            You seem to be conflating freedom of speech in a public square with speech in a private residence. Would you agree that silencing speech in a public square is against the interests of a healthy and moral society?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:03am

              Re: Re:

              At the current time, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are not "public forums" in the sense used when referred to by Freedom of Speech. If you feel they should be, that's an argument to actually make and support. You would need to assert and support the assumption that they are public forums, or should be public forums.

              At present, if one were to properly analogize them to a physical space, they are privately-owned spaces of business. The inside of a store. The hallways of a mall. A privately-owned and operated library.

              As such, the operators of these spaces are afforded the legal right to determine who has access and who does not have access. They have Terms of Service, and if those Terms are violated, they have the recognized right to take the action they determine to be appropriate.

              If you feel the Terms of Service are flawed or incorrect, that is also a discussion to have. Assert your point in this matter, present reasons, make arguments.

              Recognize, however, that the bare fact of the matter is that legally these forums do not have an obligation to host Alex Jones' content. They are not the street corner. If you feel they've acted disingenuously in this matter, review their Terms of Service, find where the violation is incorrect, and talk to them about it.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:20am

                Re: Re: Re:

                Well, I’m not an attorney, and I don’t have the legal acumen that you obviously do. I would just say that it appears to me (and many others that I know) that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become politically biased and are intent on affecting the next election by silencing some voices and raising other voices. Same for Google. At a minimum, I think their (very valuable) “in kind” contributions to their political candidates should be reported and accounted for. You seem to be quite well versed in all things legal, would you agree with that?

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:07am

              You seem to be conflating freedom of speech in a public square with speech in a private residence.

              No, I am not. Twitter, Facebook, and their similarly-large brethren are privately-owned services operated by privately-owned companies. A person has the right to speak their mind; nobody has the right to force a platform into giving their speech an audience.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:11am

                Re:

                So you would agree that in a healthy and moral society, everyone would be allowed to speak freely in a public square.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:22am

                  Yes, I do—and if Twitter, Facebook, etc. were actual public squares instead of privately-owned platforms that are open to the public, that argument might mean something.

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                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:29am

                    Re:

                    Ok, well, at least we found one point of agreement. In a healthy and moral society, everyone is allowed to speak in a public square without restriction. How about at a government financed University campus? Public square? Would you condemn Anti-Fa for shutting down free speech at a University campus? Would you go to the defense of the speakers? Would your moral conscience compel you to condemn Anti-Fa and their facist totalitarian techniques? Or would you do and say nothing.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 1:13pm

                      Re: Re:

                      Thing is, you need to provide your own soapbox to stand upon because other people do not have to let you use theirs.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2018 @ 8:00pm

      Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

      Farrakhan is still published on You-Tube and Facebook. Spewing hate is fine as long as it is America that you hate and white people and Jews that you demean. “The Jews don't like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man.”

      He makes Alex Jones look reasonable.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:44am

        Re: Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

        Have you reported those videos you've found? Note I'm not saying it's your fault that they're still up - I'm just noting that there is a chance that Farrakhan videos did not get reported in the same vein as Alex Jones videos.

        If you do find content that violates the youtube community guidelines (https://www.youtube.com/yt/about/policies/#community-guidelines) flag that video.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

          I believe Tucker Carlson personally reported the Farrakhan videos, and to the best of my knowledge, was met with crickets.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

        Ok - cool. But that is not on topic.

        What about blah blah blah? Your points are immaterial because yadda yadda yadda.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 1:24am

      Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

      >Yes, all you corporatists will cling to your right to police your own web site as you see fit. You will abandon the defense of others to speak, as you always have

      Defending someone freedom of speech does not, and never has implied that the defenders will provide them with a platform, or even listen to their speech. So stop trying to make out freedom of speech means that other have to provide you with an audience, or have to listen to you.

      So long as you can create your own platform on the Internet you have freedom of speech. If you cannot gain an audience then perhaps you should ask yourself why nobody wants to listen to you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 1:35am

        Re: Re: Infowars, journalism and Techdirt

        Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me. Immanuel Kant

        That “moral law” includes defending the freedoms of others, even when they hold different beliefs.

        Have you any morals?

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:07am

          Alex Jones is free to say whatever the fuck he wants.

          He is not free to force any platform he does not own into hosting his speech.

          Have you any knowledge of the law?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:41am

            Re:

            Laws are enforced by the state, whereas morals are followed at the call of your conscience and in this case, your education of history. Laws are a result of a moral process in the best scenarios, an amoral process in the worst. Morals are unique to individuals, whereas Laws are common between individuals (though some lawyers would argue otherwise).

            We all have different moral characters. Defending the freedoms of those who hold different beliefs is a common American moral, though many on this site are not familiar with it (at all).

            Defending the freedoms (the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness) of others, not just yourself at the expense of others, is very American. Some other countries have their own approximations. On the other hand, Globalist Socialist Assholes typically have no conscience and no morals whatsover. That’s how their reasoning works out for them. Abandon all morals and serve your selfish beliefs at the expense of others because no one has stopped you yet.

            Have you read “Heart of a Dog” by Michail Bulkagov? It is a classic book and movie regarding the left’s absence of a moral center. A professor transforms a street dog into a person, who quickly becomes powerful in early Soviet Russia, before returning to his true dog nature. It’s a great exploration of the difference between legality and morality and the shallowness of the left’s socialist view.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:18am

              Re: Re:

              Defending the freedoms (the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness) of others, not just yourself at the expense of others, is very American.

              No, it is human. Stop acting as if the only people who ever defended anyone’s freedoms anywhere came from the colonies.

              And like I said: I will defend Jones’s freedom to say whatever bullshit he wants (except for anything defamatory), regardless of whether I like what he says (which I do not). He does not, however, have the freedom—or the legal right—to force himself onto a platform and have his speech hosted against the will of that platform’s owners. That would be not just immoral, but legitimately evil.

              Globalist Socialist Assholes

              We get it, you hate Jewish people.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:31am

                Re: Re: Re:

                I’m not sure it is human, my friend, if you are implying that people without education or experience develop a moral law equivalent to Kant’s recitation. I believe many morals are learned from family, friends and formal education, without which, people’s moral compass is little better than a dog’s (see literary quote above).

                I would extend my moral concept of defending the rights of others to Shiva. He also has a right to the same freedoms as you and I, and should be free to persue his own happiness. I believe this site has done their best to damage those freedoms by calling him (quite unnecessarily) a liar and a fraud, repeatedly, and then having that echoed a million million times on Google and the Internet as a whole. My point is that Techdirt as a publication appears amoral to me, intent on destroying the freedoms of others and little else. Un-American and amoral.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:17am

      Journalists in England are being tortured

      [citations other than the self-serving “testimony” of a single “journalist” needed]

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 6:47am

        Re:

        http://video.foxnews.com/v/5817330682001/?#sp=show-clips

        I add my voice to his (and Tucker’s) in defense of his freedoms, which seem to have been brutally stripped from him. Others here have pointed out that perhaps he is a charlatan, but no one has made a strong case for this. If the abuse he endured at the hands of the British Government are even partially as he describes them, we should all raise our voices in his defense.

        Unless you are an amoral Globalist Asshole, of course.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:14am

          Re: Re:

          Others here have pointed out that perhaps he is a charlatan, but no one has made a strong case for this.

          Similarly, no one has made a strong case for his “testimony” being 100% truthful, specifically by producing proof that backs up his claims. You citing his claims over and over do not make them any more true than if you cited Flat Earthers’ claims as proof that the world, like time, is a flat circle.

          If the abuse he endured at the hands of the British Government are even partially as he describes them, we should all raise our voices in his defense.

          Yes, we should—if the abuse even happened in the first place. I would use “trust but verify” to describe this sort of situation, but having heard his claims and finding them outlandish from the get-go, "verify, then trust" seems more appropriate.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:42am

            Re: Re: Re:

            So you challenge the veracity of his claims. Which ones? He gives a detailed interview describing exactly what happened, why he was arrested, how the police lied to his attorney, where he was housed initially and then transferred, and how he was tortured. Which of his claims do you doubt? It seems too cruel to doubt them all without some evidence to dispute them. After all, who would testify on his behalf in solitary confinement? His tormentors? His jailers? Who do you expect to come forward? Perhaps you should consider giving him the benefit of the doubt. That would be the moral thing to do, and in the long term, maybe serve to protect your own freedoms and my own freedoms. A social fabric of mutual support is a powerful tool against an oppressive government.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:56am

              So you challenge the veracity of his claims. Which ones?

              To quote a famous action movie sidekick: “All of them, I think.”

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:58am

                Re:

                So you believe that he was not arrested or jailed?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:02am

                  He was arrested and jailed, that much is verifiable fact. Everything else is bullshit until he can prove otherwise.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:09am

                    Re:

                    If you consider just for a moment that you experienced exactly what he described, how would you go about “proving otherwise”? Asking your tormentors to testify on your behalf? That seems unlikely, doesn’t it? What kind of evidence would satisfy you, Stephen?

                    Don’t you think that perhaps he deserves the benefit of the doubt? Isn’t the fact that he has been released by a superior court judge that has come to his defense indicative that perhaps his story is credible? No?

                    You’re quite a harsh fellow, Stephen. Do you have some personal history with this journalist that would lead you to give him less respect than others? If this happened to someone you knew or to a family member, would you be as doubtful and unconcerned?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:21am

                      Don’t you think that perhaps he deserves the benefit of the doubt?

                      Given that he (and his supporters) lied about why he was arrested and jailed in the first place, thus proving him untrustworthy from the start, I have no reason to believe his claims of “torture” until he can prove them.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 8:31am

                        Re:

                        I am unaware of these lies that you report. Can you explain them (briefly)? Maybe I will come around to your way of thinking.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 1:20pm

                          Re: Re:

                          What is the topic of this article?

                          Oh yeah ... Voting By Cell Phone

                          WTF does your ranting have to do with the topic at hand?

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re:

          If you want a story on it to be run, click the "Submit a story" button up at the top.

          If you want people to listen to what you have to say, try staying away from pejoratives. Your final line implies that anyone who disagrees with you is an "amoral Globalist asshole" - which immediately shuts down any actual discussion.

          Based on this, I can only assume that you aren't actually interested in discussion, but are only interested in lecture, and only interested in agreement. You've started the conversation with labels of your own making, a move that smacks of an attempt to divide people into camps. It seems you are trying to immediately put yourself into the camp of the right and the righteous, and everyone else who may question you in the camp of the bad guy.

          As such, I will not listen to what you have to say. I can't trust that I will have my questions answered. I can't trust that you will not lie to me, or that you will listen to me should I have a concern. I can't trust that you are a thinking person. I can't trust you.

          Take your flag. If you want to talk, try again - and leave the labels at home.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:37am

            Re: Re: Re:

            It was never my intention to suggest that there are not others besides amoral Globalist Assholes who frequent this site. The amoral Globalist Assholes just seem to make the most noise and write the most nonsense.

            You are wise not to trust someone on the Internet, you should form your own opinions after listening to many.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:50am

              amoral Globalist Assholes

              We get it, you hate Jewish people.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              _It was never my intention to suggest that there are not others besides amoral Globalist Assholes who frequent this site._

              Then what was your intention? Is there any point to the line except to divide the conversation into "good" and "bad?" It's a tactic that enflames interaction and creates an emotional, rather than rational, response. It's a tactic that I find sleazy, and by association, that makes you seem sleazy.

              If you want to convince anyone, _don't insult them._

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 7:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Fair criticism, I take your point.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2018 @ 1:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Possibly you could find a better place to discuss your concerns?

                  On this site, there are stories that (some) people read and many more comment upon. These comments are related in some way to the story, is this too difficult for you?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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