When smart objects “can lie and cheat”; Nirvana band member et al. launch U.S. Open Source Party; and more.
Our brave new future: “As the Volkswagen case demonstrates, a smart object can lie and cheat,” writes technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times. And, she notes, we shouldn’t worry just about smart objects like cars, but also take note of the dangers of non-auditable voting machines.
Related: Jim Dwyer of the New York Times turns to Columbia University’s Eben Moglen, a longtime advocate of software transparency, to explain the lesson of the Volkswagen scandal: “Intelligent public policy, as we all have learned since the early 20th century, is to require elevators to be inspectable, and to require manufacturers of elevators to build them so they can be inspected,” Moglen said. “If Volkswagen knew that every customer who buys a vehicle would have a right to read the source code of all the software in the vehicle, they would never even consider the cheat, because the certainty of getting caught would terrify them.” The code in cars is, in fact, “tightly protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” Dwyer notes.
Hacking elections: With the Canadian national elections approaching, many citizens are turning to vote swapping sites in order to maximize the chances of their party winning the most seats, Samantha Rideout reports for Civicist.
The U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates announced the locations of next year’s general election events, and included this intriguing item: “An additional campus, Dominican University of California, will lead an initiative to use technology and social media to engage young voters in a discussion of major issues in the 2016 debates (#DUdebate16).”
Krist Novoselic (Nirvana band member and political activist), R.U. Sirius (techno/countercultural author), Nathan Wilcox (former political consultant) and Jon Lebkowsky (internet maven) have launched the United States “Open Source Party.” It is, they write, to be based on four simple principles: “Laws, policies, and political processes are seen as a body of code. The code, and any changes to the code, are visible and understandable: i.e., transparency is a fundamental. The code is accessible and modifiable. Anyone who shares our needs and values can access the code and propose modifications, which may be accepted by democratic consensus, or by executive decision in a framework decided democratically.” We’ll keep an eye on this effort.
The Asia Foundation reports on the ongoing progress of the MaePaySoh (Let’s Vote) Hack Challenge, which has rallied 130 developers in 30 teams who are working to build apps that will help Myanmar’s 32 million voters in its November 8 elections.
These may be the jobs that you are looking for: Civic Hall’s civic imagination fellow Andrew Slack is looking to hire a communications director and an operations director for a five-month campaign called “MayTheForceBeWithUs” focused on Star Wars and money in politics.
The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University is currently looking to hire an analyst, a senior analyst, and an administrative coordinator. The center is helping the What Works Cities program create a culture of evidence-based decision making in midsize U.S. cities.
Network weaving: At the Change.org memorial for Jake Brewer in Washington, D.C., Monday night, his mother held the post-it he had on his monitor at the White House, recounts Jennie Kim Eldon in this moving post. It read “Cultivate the Karass.” For those of us who need a Kurt Vonnegut refresher, she explains that a “karass” was a term he invented in Cat’s Cradle for “a group of people who kind of get mixed up in each other’s lives in order to do God’s will.” I never heard Jake use this term but boy does that three-word phrase describe what he did. Now the #RebelAlliance will have to continue that work.
Related: Movement organizer Marianne Manilov suggests, on Twitter, the following “Idea: hashtag #brewered Def (v) to fully believe in someone’s possibility and tell them w/yr heart.”