Just to make sure you are aware: today we have general elections in the Netherlands. Of course you are – like the rest of the world – holding your breath and anxiously awaiting the results: we all know that changes in the Dutch government will have a profound impact on the global economy, politics, and culture alike. And I’m not even mentioning the Antarctic ozone hole.
It is sort of pity though, that some of the voting computers appear not be entirely safe. A recent investigation suggested that a certain type of e-voting machine emits radio signals that can be tapped from several dozen meters. A very smart hacker would theoretically be able to detect the images on the screen, thus monitoring the choices of voters.
We’ll probably never know who would be interested in these choices in the first place, but the damage is done anyway. The Netherlands is one of the countries that have been pioneering e-voting for some time now and we can only speculate on how this incident will influence the trust in other countries. Of course – in our Fishbowl Society of today – it already sparked several action committees, including We Don’t Trust Voting Computers (you can also read it in Dutch: www.wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl, nah, never mind). One can easily imagine what might happen if – one day – the entire nation will aspire to vote through the Internet. You just may want to wait for Service Pack 3.
In the meantime, most of the voters today in Amsterdam – trendy centre of innovation – have to use the good old pencil and paper again. A few hours ago, I spoke to one of my colleagues who live there. He is actually an Open Source guru and like, totally into exploring the Internet for all useful and useless activities. “But I actually quite enjoyed voting like this” he confessed “it felt more real, warmer even”. For a moment, I thought he was going to cry.