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[liberationtech] Web cams in polling stations/helpful?

Katrin Verclas katrin at mobileactive.org
Mon Feb 13 07:50:19 PST 2012


Luke -  this study might be of interest, using camera phones in Afghanistan: 

write-up here: http://mobileactive.org/election-monitoring-afghanistan-cameraphones
study here: http://www-igcc.ucsd.edu/assets/001/502329.pdf

See also a detailed discussion of the use of mobile tech in systematic election monitoring (and why it's not citizen reporting)
http://mobileactive.org/cutting-through-hype-why-citizen-reporting-isnt-election-monitoring.

It's not cameras but using SMS in an established and tried-and-true method of systematically monitoring the quality of the conduct of  and the validity of the results  of an election.  SMS as a tool in systematic election observation is discussed in this article by Ian Schuler in detail: http://mobileactive.org/research/sms-tool-election-observation.

I think cameras and data collection via camera phone will be the future (even if it's still a ways away, given the current state of hardware in the world.) 

Regards,

Katrin 



On Feb 13, 2012, at 9:38 AM, Luke Allnutt wrote:

> 
> Thanks, Griffin, that's a good point. Obviously there are degrees here: so for instance, a well-positioned camera showing people's backs would be better than a camera in the actual polling both. So in that sense well-positioned cameras _might_ have a lesser impact on privacy. 
> 
> What isn't clear is how much pscyological impact the presence of cameras would have on voters. I wonder if their presence, even if they were discretely angled, might still have an intimidating effect.... 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Griffin Boyce <griffinboyce at gmail.com>
> 02/13/2012 01:58 PM
> 
> To
> Luke Allnutt <AllnuttL at rferl.org>
> cc
> liberationtech at mailman.stanford.edu
> Subject
> Re: [liberationtech] Web cams in polling stations/helpful?
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Hi Luke, 
> 
>   It might be a question of angle, and whether voters' privacy can be protected in that environment.  Pointing it at, say, the entrance to private voting booths would be better than having a webcam pointed in voters' faces, in terms of minimizing vote influence. 
> 
> Griffin Boyce 
> 
> 
> On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 6:10 AM, Luke Allnutt <AllnuttL at rferl.org> wrote: 
> 
> Dear All, 
> 
> I'm looking into the question of whether having web cams in polling stations is a positive for transparency and fair elections. The story is related to Russia's plans to install web cameras in polling stations across Russia for the March presidential election. 
> 
> http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/02/06/russia-launches-election-monitoring-website/ 
> 
> Obviously, Russia is a special case. Even if the web cams did provide transparency, there are enough other factors that put the fairness of the election into question: e.g. skewed media, workers being asked to vote en masse etc. In my opinion, this endeavor ties into the Kremlin's use of technology to present a facade of progress and transparency, without giving up much in terms of real democratization. 
> 
> But I'm more interested in whether, across the world, this is something that the election monitoring community thinks is a good thing and whether it aids transparency? 
> 
> In some societies, surely, the presence of a web cam in a polling station would be unwelcome: people might feel they are being watched by their government/friends/employers and that would influence their voting. 
> 
> If anyone has any thoughts on this matter, on list or off list, I would love to pick your brains for the story.  Any help would be much appreciated, as ever. 
> 
> Best Wishes, 
> 
> Luke 
> RFE/RL 
> @lukeallnutt 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
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Katrin Verclas
MobileActive.org
katrin at mobileactive.org

skype/twitter: katrinskaya
(347) 281-7191

Check out the new Mobile Media Toolkit at 
http://mobilemediatoolkit.org. To "Making Media Mobile!"

A global network of people using mobile technology for social impact
http://mobileactive.org




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