International digital direct election


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the Web tools have been used as a means of dissemination and mobile as a means of voting and counting to hold the first International Digital Direct Election - ID2E. This article aims to describe the ID2E performed in order to test the viability for the international voting by mobiles using SMS protocol, using Web 2.0 tools to facilitate discussions about the election main theme.

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International digital direct election

  1. 1. IADIS International Conference e-Democracy, Equity and Social Justice 2010 INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL DIRECT ELECTION: AN APPROACH ABOUT COLLABORATION BETWEEN WEB TOOLS AND MOBILE Waldoir Valentim Gomes Junior1; Ângela Iara Zotti1,2; Claudia de Oliveira Bueno1,2; Renato Jorge Prim1 and Hugo Cesar Hoeschl, PhD1,2 1 Programa de Pós-Graduação em Engenharia e Gestão do Conhecimento Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Campus Universitário, Trindade, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil. 2 Instituto de Governo Eletrônico, Inteligência e Sistemas – i3G. Rua Lauro Linhares, 728 sl. 105. Trindade, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil.ABSTRACTThe intense participation of a population to support decisions through participatory democratic process is hampered by anumber of issues such as remote location, infrastructure, availability of time and political organization among thecommunities. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has emerged as an alternative solution to thisproblem. ICT associated with the power of the Internet represent true gear joint operational processes of governments andnongovernmental entities providing flow of information, services and popular participation. On the one hand the Internethas democratized access to information for people the mobile has democratized communication. In this sense, the Webtools have been used as a means of dissemination and mobile as a means of voting and counting to hold the firstInternational Digital Direct Election - ID2E. This article aims to describe the ID2E performed in order to test the viabilityfor the international voting by mobiles using SMS protocol, using Web 2.0 tools to facilitate discussions about theelection main theme.KEYWORDSInformation and communication technologies, digital election, e-democracy, WEB collaborative tools, mobile.1. INTRODUCTIONMany initiatives have been proposed to participatory democratic processes refer to the Web environment,making it possible popular participation in the discussion of matters of any kind, giving everyone the powerto opinion and decision. As a result, a number of tools and web applications are available to assist and expand the e-democracy.On the one hand the Internet has democratized access to information for people mobile has democratized thecommunication. On the Internet, access to a wealth of information is available for a relatively short time toany User of the system. In the same vein the mobile phone has been providing not only mobility, but rather areal ability to interact with various technologies that allow leaving literally "the world in our hands." A few years ago mobile phones, have spread rapidly in most developed countries, however, presentssignificant growth in developing or poor countries. Currently there are around 4.1 billion mobile phones, withChina on top in numbers of aircraft in the world, followed by India, the United States and Russia. The mobile phone features a number of bundled services, especially SMS (Short Message Service) is astandardized communication service, using a communication protocol that allows you exchange short textmessages between mobile handset. The SMS service basically uses 5 protocols, and the employee is theSMPP (Short Message Peer to Peer), the main power could easily send messages between different carriers, itsupports a greater number portability. The "torpedo", the popular name of SMS, soon took the lead of mobile applications and was the greatpropagator of data usage on mobile phones. In Brazil, the Research “ICT households and Users 2008” of Brazil Internet Steering Committee (CGI),found that about 56% of respondents have a mobile phone, of which 41% have Internet access. That survey 67
  2. 2. ISBN: 978-972-8939-24-3 © 2010 IADISindicated that 51% of the respondents have in text message (SMS), the main feature used in cell phonefollowed by 15% using the function of sending and receiving photos and images. In this sense, the Web toolshave been used as a means of dissemination and mobile as a means of voting and counting to hold the firstInternational Digital Direct Election - ID2E. This article aims to describe the ID2E performed in order to testthe viability for the international voting by mobiles using SMS protocol, using Web 2.0 tools to facilitatediscussions about the election main theme.2. GENERAL REVIEWThe contemporary world is becoming flatter because of the effect of globalization, increasingly mediated bythe development of digital technologies and communication. Thus, globalization is used to characterize theuniversal interdependence of nations, societies, production material, economic and intellectual. (Cartells2002, Friedman 2007). With the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and the evolution of theInternet coupled with the increasing development of Electronic Government (e-Gov), emerge newperspectives that facilitate the creation of new democratic institutions or their suitability for electronicdemocracy. This must be understood not only by their technological characteristics, but examined from theemergence of the Internet and direct participation of citizens in politics, through the use of new technologies(Ramos Junior and Miranda 2007). Equally, Garcia et all (2003) stated that in the information society the use of technologies, allowing thepromotion of citizenship "brings a new way of thinking about popular participation in public management, anemerging democratic regime, genuine, divergent from all previously made predictions about the future ofdemocracy.” In this sense, e-participation can be defined as "the possibility for citizens to participate in decision-making, initiating acts of legislation, using electronic means of communication and especially the Internet.""Committing to the relationship between society and government in a collaborative environment using theelectronic space" (Petrauskas 2006). The discussion of this interaction between New Technologies of Information and Communication andPolicy has raised a series of questions about the limits of representative democracy and new forms ofpolitical participation, expanding space for an improvement of this system, the realization of a deliberativeand participatory democracy. The discussions and reviews are necessary elements for the development of any device, especially thoseinvolving technology and communication that may influence the society. ICTs are already part of our dailylife, and the Internet has fundamental importance as a facilitating channel for bilateral relationship betweenpublic officials and society in general. In this context, discussion groups are formed to allow interaction andexpansion of spaces for the exchange and communication (Bentivegna 2000, Davis 2000). The changes with the introduction of information and communication technologies, did not affect thenature of the political process - which still is as a political struggle for power - but the procedures of therelationship between political actors and citizens, occurring now, a "media coverage of politics and a changein the field of political communication” (Mazzoleni 2000). Electronic Democracy (e-democracy) can therefore be defined as citizen participation through onlinetools, because the citizens involved in decision-making processes through the Internet, or online systems. In this view Boyd (2007) treats the electronic democracy as the process of "democratization ofdemocracy" where the use of technology is essential to promote citizen participation in political life. The concept of Web 2.0 is found in the literature as the second generation of the world wide web,although some authors disagree with this statement. However it is clear that Web 2.0 is characterized by astrong trend centered on the concept of information exchange and collaboration among users through theglobal network of websites and online services, and this exchange is organized according to ideas andconcepts (Lytras 2009). The Internet has been adapting to new forms of communication, whether at the level of infrastructure,from the popularization of broadband connections or service level, with the offer of editing tools, database,publishing in multiple formats hypermedia web environment. This new proposed model called Web 2.0 hasbeen spreading despite some criticism from the academic and marketing view. Despite the differences, the68
  3. 3. IADIS International Conference e-Democracy, Equity and Social Justice 2010most important thing is to realize that innovation within the network will necessarily involve an intensive useof collaborative tools, though.3. INTERNATIONAL DIRECT DIGITAL ELECTION PROCESSThe experience was executed by the Information Society Studies Group – GESI/2009, linked to theUniversidade Federal de Santa Catarina – UFSC, and the e-Gov, Intelligence and Systems Institute – i3G,both installed inside the city of Florianopolis – Santa Catarina – Brazil. The first ED2I was realized between6 and 20 of November, in the year of 2009. The tally of votes was done inside an application working on Dot Net platform, inside a server cell phone.The experimentation had two objectives: evaluate an e-Voting method and the use of mobile devices as toolsfor public decision taking; and evaluate the use of Web 2.0 environment for organization and conduction ofpublic discussions about these decisions. The theme for discussion and voting was: “Is the United Nations accomplishing its mission?” To vote theperson should send a text message (SMS) with three characters for the phone number +55 48 88340682(international) or 48 88340682 (Brazil), according to the instructions: If you want to vote YES the messagemust contain the characters: 001, if the option is NOT the message must contain the characters: 002. Any cell phone, regardless of carrier, from anywhere in the world could vote. There was no need to be aPDA, SmartPhone or similar. Intent on making an international election, polling anywhere in the world, wasjust to test the communication protocol for sending SMS through cell phones. About security, as scientific seminar held during the votting process, using the technique of IBB (MultipleIdentical Ballot-Box) added by encrypting the votes, reaches higher security level with the existing protocolsin current electronic voting (Alefragis et all, 2004). About the solution on sharing information inside Web 2.0 environments, about the voted theme, there wasselected the following pages: Delicious to publish links related to the experiment; iPetitions, to advice peopleto the voting process; Twitter, and Blogger to the public post comments favorable or opposite to UnitedNations; GMail, and Metajur Discussion List to privately post comments; Wikipedia, ScribD, and Slideshareto publish reports or presentations resulting from the discussions about the theme; Skoob to share bookswhich maybe can give some historical base to the voting process, and help on argumentation about theUnited Nations; Picasa, Flickr, and Panoramio to post pictures (with geographic position for the two lastpages) referred to votes assumed by the voters; You Tube to post vídeos related to the voters, assuming itsvotes; Orkut, and FaceBook for the possible formation of social networks about the specified theme; andSecond Life to simulate the voting process inside virtual environments. In this paper, only the results of sometools are going to be detailed. The tools access will be available on the references at the end of the article. Before and during the election period, information regarding the election was released in these tools, suchas the convocatories in multiple languages, the arguments pro and con, which emphasized the themeproposed for election as well as pictures of group meetings organizers. Two groups were formed with the intention to raise arguments for the YES and the other for NO, anddisseminate them in the chosen Web 2.0 tools.4. RESULTSThe cell phone used as a digital ballot box worked normally during the voting period, accumulating its basicfunctions to send and receive voice calls, without any problem. The result was communicated immediatelyafter the final time, on 2009, November 20, at 17:00h GMT. The result achieved was that 53.097% of the voters voted "NO" and 46.682% voted "yes". So, accordingto ED2I result, the UN is not fulfilling its mission, as shown in Table 1. 69
  4. 4. ISBN: 978-972-8939-24-3 © 2010 IADIS Table 1. Voting tally: “Is The UN accomplishing its mission?” SMS Text Option Quantity Percentual 001 SIM 211 46,68% 002 NÃO 240 53,10% Null (avoided) votes 1 0,22% Total Votes 452 100,00% Table 2 shows the results surveyed after the e-Voting process experimentation: from the 452 votes sent tothe server cell phone, 434 had a correct format and were computed by the digital ballot box. Table 2. Incorrect Votes or out of the ellection compliance: “Is UN accomplishing its mission?” Votes Quantity % Corrects 434 96,02 Incorrect Votes Sintax error 9 1,99 International code unnecessarily (+55) 9 1,99 Total Votes 452 100,00 It´s important to say that 18 votes were received via SMS, but weren´t computed; and just one vote wasavoided. From the 18 votes received via SMS, but not computed, 9 were not because the voters included theInternational Code (+55) inside the country (Brazil), attached to the server cell phone number, whatinvalidated the vote, and 9 had a syntax error on the redaction of the string to identify the choose of the vote(the two correct answers should be “001” or “002”, and not “1” or “2”, or even “oo1” or “oo2”, and so on). The result of 452 votes seems to be low for a world experience. But the aim was to achieve at least themaximum number of a Brazilian polling, which is no more than 500. More important than the number ofvotes was to know if an international e-voting process by using SMS could be successful. The votes were not identified by the system in order to maintain the secrecy of the vote. So, theidentification of the countries was done by some web tools as Flickr, iPetitions, Panoramio and also byemails through the voluntary geographic identification. About the expected international participation for the process, it was verified the participation of citizensfrom 14 countries: Brazil, United States of America, Argentina, Chile, Peru, England, Denmark, Netherlands,Poland, Italy, Spain, Kenya, Egypt and Australia.5. CONCLUSIONSThe ED2I experience pioneered the initiative of an intercontinental election held and refined by cell phone, inaddition to analyze the use of tools of information technology and communication. It was an experience thatprovided people from different countries could vote synchronously and for the same purposes and options. The experience of ED²I includes the following developments: a) International qualification for voting; b)2.0 integrated environment interaction; c) studies for an Android version (in development). In regard to safety devices, as well as access to mobile applications, some experts have proposed thatthese applications may be safer than the Internet because access is “dedicated”. Another issue is that there are companies that have developped applications for mobile banking usinglong-dynamic codes in order to prevent fraud and increase the array of services. This could well be used inapplications of this nature. Add to this, the authentication of the device and the User and the use ofpasswords, systems of verification and encryption can be alternatives to ensure public safety mobileapplications. To strengthen the security issue, it is suggested as support systems based on the same ballot "identicalballot boxes" (IBB), which every vote received is replicated electronically. IBB aims to provide guarantees interms of legitimacy, anonymity, security and secrecy of the vote and the voting process. The voting process via mobile phone, using SMS will become safer, the more the technological artefactsare used. The passwords and encryption are increasingly providing more robust security and integrity to70
  5. 5. IADIS International Conference e-Democracy, Equity and Social Justice 2010transmit information. On the other hand the phone will be improved in order to identify the User and givehim/her the right to vote. Security procedures using biometrics should and can be better explored in the User ID voting. Thebiometric identification technologies are already highly sedimented varying only the applications dependingon the level of security. The challenging character would be to put this technology in a cell phone, and fromits technological attributes identifying the iris, retina, voice, fingerprint and others. Web 2.0 was the protagonist of the disclosure of this election, using the tools of communication. Theyown a good power of penetration to interact in order to convince people to participate. By themselves thetools do not motivate people to vote, but it can be one way of motivating people to participate. During the process, it was realized that some people did not know how to send an SMS. So, the lesson isthat when something involves technology a brief tutorial must be presented.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTWe would like to thank i3G Institute for part of the financial support for this document and GESI/2009 by theeffort in performing the ED2I process.REFERENCESAlefragis, P.S. et all, 2004. An electronic voting scheme with physical multiple administrators and identical ballot boxes, ICWI 2004: Madrid, Spain. pp. 99-106.Bentivegna, S., 2000. Hablar de Política En La Red: Los Newgroups Políticos. Cuadernos De Información Y Comunicación – Ciberdemocracia , Madrid, ES.Boyd, Ovid Pacific, 2007. What Are the Future Possibilities of eDemocracy? A Discussion Paper. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.Castells, M., 2002. A sociedade em Rede. Paz e Terra, São Paulo, BR.Davis, R., 2000. Tecnologias de la comunicación y democracia: El factor Internet. Cuadernos de Información y Comunicación – Ciberdemocracia, Madrid, Universidad Complutense.Friedman, T. L., 2007. O mundo é plano: um breve histórico do século XXI. Objetiva, Rio de janeiro, BR.Garcia, T. H. B. et all, 2003. A democracia na era do governo eletrônico. In: II Simposio Internacional de Propriedade Intelectual, Informação e Ética. In: II Simposio Internacional de Propriedade Intelectual, Informação e Ética- Ciberética 2003, Anais do II Ciberética, 2003. v. 1. p. 1-16.Lytras, M. D. Dimiani, E. Pablos, P. O., 2009. Web 2.0: The Bussines Modell. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.Mazzoleni, G., 2000. La Revolución Simbólica de Internet. Cuadernos de Información y Comunicación – Ciberdemocracia, Madrid, Universidad Complutense.Petrauskas, R., 2006. Los princípios y la implementación de la democracia electrónica. In: Derechos y Tecnología: Las actividades de los poderes públicos, Thomson Civitas, Universidad de Zaragoza (Espanha), pp 85-113.Ramos Júnior, H. S. et all, 2007. Democracia Eletrônica como um Sistema Teleológico e Emergente. In: Teoria Geral de Sistemas: Uma abordagem multidisciplinar do conhecimento, Florianópolis: EGC, 2007. PP.36-44.Some Web tools adresses for ED2I: Accessed in November, 2009 Accessed in November, 2010 Accessed in November, 2009 in November, 2009 Accessed in November, 2009 Accessed in November, 2009 Accessed in November, 2009 Accessed in November, 2009 71