Friday, September 10

technology against democracy

I read today in the Times (of London, that is) that pro-Beijing citizens of Hong Kong are pressuring voters to use their mobile phone cameras to document how they vote in the upcoming election.
According to reports, voters with links to the mainland have been told to photograph their marked ballot papers inside the polling booth and forward the picture to bosses or business partners as proof they they did not support pro-democracy candidates.

So, in case we needed it, here's more proof that technology can be used for evil. Now, whether this is actually going to happen or not is another matter. Human Rights Watch put out a report on this (the same report referred to above), so you can read that and decide for yourself. Some newspaper articles, such as this one from the Scotsman or this reference to a NY Times article, cite isolated cases of anonymous sources saying they've been pressured in this way. But it's hard to know if such reports are reliable, or indicative of a wider trend.
In any case, it seems technology could also get around this bind. If you take your picture home and photoshop it, then perhaps you could make it appear you voted for one person when you actually voted otherwise.


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