(1) Public Accountability for Public Decisions made Privately Pattern in PLMLFormPattern ID:         1 Sociotechnical-JCTP...
Example:            (1)    Positive: Paper ballots with joint tallying by                    representative of opposing po...
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Public accountability pattern in plml format

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Example pattern in PLML format for CHI 2004 workshop on patterns for HCI

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Public accountability pattern in plml format

  1. 1. (1) Public Accountability for Public Decisions made Privately Pattern in PLMLFormPattern ID: 1 Sociotechnical-JCTPattern Name: Public Accountability for Public Decisions made PrivatelyProblem: Secret ballots pose a problem. How can we be sure that the recording, tallying, and reporting of the individual votes is accurate? If a person who tallies the votes, for instance, has an interest in the outcome of the voting, they may make an unconscious error or deliberately misrepresent the vote. If the voting process is not seen by the electorate as a fair and honest process for change, violent action becomes a more likely alternative. .Context: Some public decisions such as voting, if done completely publicly, would subject each individual decision maker to various kinds of pressure and intimidation, especially by those already in power. For this reason, voting is often done by secret ballot.Forces: * Open public voting allows intimidation by those in power. * Completely secret voting allows misrepresentation of results. * People with opposed interests in the outcome but a common interest in what is preserved by an honest process may keep each other honest. * A physical process of recording, tallying, and reporting can, in principle, be understood and observed by the vast majority of the electorate. * To be an effective alternative for change to violent revolution, a voting process must have credibility with the majority of the electorate. * A process which is observable and understandable, and balances opposing interests, has credibility even among those who do not actually observe.Solution: Any process that touches private voting; e.g., deciding who is allowed to vote, designing ballots, recording of votes, tallying votes, and reporting on results must be observable and understandable by the majority of the electorate. In addition, the design of the process, its implementation and any remedies for mistakes must be controlled by a balance of opposing interests.Synopsis:Evidence: Thousands of experiences of voting processes that work. 1
  2. 2. Example: (1) Positive: Paper ballots with joint tallying by representative of opposing political parties. (2) Negative: Electronic voting machines with proprietary software unavailable and not understandable by the vast majority of the electorate.Rationale: Power corrupts. People in power will tend to use various means to keep that power and to use it for their own ends. If there is no way to recall representatives or change things in peaceful ways, people who feel perpetually exploited may result to violent means.Confidence:`Literature: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1013-01.htm Schwartz, John, Report Finds Risks in Internet Voting by Americans Overseas. New York Times, January 22, 2004.Related Patterns: This pattern is a part of a growing socio-technical pattern language at: http://www.truthtable.com/websitewelcome_page_index.html and will also be submitted to the CPSR Public Sphere Project at http://www.cpsr.org/program/sphere/patterns Registered Anonymity Random Testing for Compliance Assurance Who Speaks for Wolf? (Ensuring Stakeholder Coverage) Multi-part Keys for Security Assurance Verifiable Electronic Voting Balance of Interests to Insure FairnessAuthor: John C ThomasCreation Date: 21st January 2004Revision Number: 2Last Modified: 23rd January 2004 2

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