Who are Thompson and Clark?

Thompson and Clark Homepage

Thompson and Clark are in the news again so I thought I would put together a brief primer on who they are. This is by no means a thorough look at them, but more of a brief history of their sins (and ineptitude).

Probably the main thing to take from this is that they have been targeting activists for a long time, sometimes work for the government, and seem unable to learn.

If you have more then send me the links and I will add them on.


I was paid to betray protestors, 27 May 2007

“An Auckland private investigation firm is paying agents to infiltrate and spy on environmental, peace and anti-vivisection groups for its clients, including state-owned enterprise Solid Energy.”

Link to backup article as the original no longer exists.


Solid Energy denies spying on activists, April 20, 2008

“State-owned Enterprises Minister Trevor Mallard says he has sought, and received, an assurance that state-owned coal company Solid Energy has not breached a no-spying directive.”

Link to original article


Taxpayers pay $1m for spies’ sarcasm, Jan 31, 2009

“STATE COAL company Solid Energy is reconsidering its use of the controversial private investigators Thompson and Clark (TCIL) after they were caught out for a second time trying to use paid informers to spy on community groups.”

Link to original article.


Spies target animal rights campaigners, 1st August 2010

“An Auckland private investigation firm has been caught out after it attached a sophisticated tracking device to a political campaigner’s car – but left the device visible from outside the vehicle.”

Link to original article.


Thompson and Clark Investigations, 3rd August 2010

“KEITH LOCKE (Green) to the Minister of Agriculture: Will he ask the Pork Industry Board if they were aware that Thompson and Clark Investigations was collecting information for them on animal rights campaigner Rochelle Rees by means of a tracking device planted under her car; if not, why not?”

Hansard.


Aotearoa Independent Media Centre, 26 August 2012

“Christchurch Police have been accused of corruption by deliberately obstructing a recent investigation into a complaint about ex police detective and co-director of Provision Security Ltd and Thompson & Clark Investigations Ltd, Nick Thompson.”

Link to backup of article.


Greenpeace says it has caught spies in the act, 10 August 2017

“Greenpeace claims it has caught spies in the act of tracking its staff and supporters and compiling detailed dossiers.”

Original article.


Southern Response spying ‘totally inappropriate’, 12 March 2018

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described Southern Response’s use of a security firm to spy on earthquake insurance claimants as inappropriate, and warned government departments must not do the same.”

Original article.


Metiria Turei and state surveillance

Metiria Turei

Let them who are without sin cast the first stone…..

Over the past month I think we have been shown a great example of why state surveillance is a bad idea.

On the 16 of July Metiria Turei revealed she had lied to stop her benefit being cut while raising her daughter.

This led to a media frenzy and relentless pressure on not only her but her family, investigation by WINZ, admitting she had used a false address, and finally her resignation on the 9th of August.

It looks like she is a horrible fraudster, until you start putting things in perspective.

This is a woman who has served the people of New Zealand as a Member of Parliament with distinction and honor for 15 years. The most recent ‘dodgy’ thing that she has done was 22 years ago. The false address was so she could support a friend in an election. The most she could have benefited from this was $6000.

There have been accusations that the ensuing media and social bloodbath was because she is female and Maori and there is some evidence of this. If you look at the way the media and law treated John Key  Bill English and compare the situations it is disturbing. Even more so for it being recent history, not 25 years ago.

Metiria Turei

Metiria Turei

Perhaps one of the better quotes was this from 1 NEWS Maori Affairs Reporter Yvonne Tahana;

“I have nothing more to add to the screeds of vitriolic, smug and know-it-all epithets that have already been penned by journalists, bloggers and Twitter-ites on that issue.

But, in my opinion, her resignation as co-leader of the Green Party sends a clear message to Māori.

People who’ve done dumb things in their past, or who have struggled, are in no way suitable to make a contribution at a government level.”

And it is with the end of that quote in mind that I want to turn to mass surveillance.

Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest…

In New Zealand nearly everything is being recorded sold,  bought and stored around the world. I am not just talking about the GCSB and NSA, but also Google, Facebook, and Vodafone.

Everything this generation says and does, where they go, what they do, who they talk to, their drunk txts, fights, the things they thought were normal that will turn out to be social no-no’s in the future. All these things will be on record and available to the government of the day for political gain. We know this. We have seen it before.

So in the future there will be no-one in opposition to the government of the day who is not ‘squeaky clean’….or very, very powerful, or working for the powerful.

But let’s not be paranoid. Let’s stick with ‘squeaky clean’, never broken the law, nothing to hide at all, no texts, never said a word out of place, looked at the wrong things……

The problem with this is that just about everybody does break the law. It is estimated that 70% of Americans have done something that could put them in jail. A survey on the Telegraph found the average Briton broke the law once every day. The ‘squeaky clean’ are such a small number that in terms of the majority they are abnormal.

A world in which we are run by the incredibly small amount of people who are somehow ‘squeaky clean’ will be an incredibly abnormal world.  And any who speak against it must either be part of it, or they will be removed like Metiria.

 

Climate Change: What we could do

Climate Change: What we can do

According to the OECD the contribution of New Zealand’s agricultural sector accounted for 49% of our climate change emissions in 2014. The highest share in the OECD. This is for a sector that, in 2016, accounts for roughly 5% of our GDP.

That is a problem.

We can remove 95% of our economy and we would still have only cut our emissions by 51%. Or, we could remove 5% of our economy and cut our emissions by 48% which looks like a no brainer until you remember that food is more important than cars and this sector includes not only farming but other business as well.

Looking closer at it,  76% of the agricultural emissions (37% of our gross emissions) come from livestock and out of that 73% (35% gross) comes from cows and sheep.

So we could remove 35% of our emissions by stopping the farming of of cows and sheep. This would remove roughly 4% of our GDP.

That is a huge sector of our economy. Removing the agricultural sector overnight would make things 4 times worse than they were in 2008 when we were in recession from the GFC. It should also be pointed out that our recession would have been a hell of a lot worse without the farming sector which for various reasons was going through a commodity price boom.

We also don’t want to interfere with the food intake of New Zealanders. We eat  21kg of red meat a year.  I haven’t been able to find the current dairy consumption but according to Te Ara we were eating 6kg of butter, and 4kg of cheese, per person in the early 2000’s. In the 80’s we drank 155L of milk per person.

Climate Change: What can we do?

We could stop exporting dairy and red meat.

In 2012 we exported 741787 tonnes of red meat and ate 92568 tonnes at home. So this would cut the red meat market to 12% of it’s size. Dairy exports 95% of it’s output so that would cut it to 5% of it’s size.

Obviously, destroying these industries overnight is economic suicide. And yet continuing on our current path of emissions will help destroy these industries in the long term.

Why not do it over 10 years?

If we take the GDP size of these industries at 4% then restricting them to zero exports over 10 years  would be a 0.4% drop in GDP per year and with an average GDP growth of around 2% we could achieve that without going into recession.

What about the people?

There were 108,220 people employed in agriculture in 2012.  That is a huge amount of people to change employment on. What happens to their businesses and employees. How would the banks deal with their debt?

To put it simply, I don’t know. There would have to be huge restructuring. The people of New Zealand would have to invest in changing farms and communities to other forms of business.

There are a number of ways this could be done. Identifying the most unproductive farms and transitioning them to non ruminant farming, horticulture, forestry, and tourism would be a start. Free retraining would be another good idea and covering their debt (perhaps proportional to the time left) would be needed.

In the end these people would need to be helped. We would be taking their livelihoods. Unfortunately, not doing anything is taking their livelihoods in the long term as well.

It would be a massive and sudden change even over the course of 10 years but the benefits to the country and the world would be huge. It would mean a 30% reduction in our emissions.

A little about this article…

I can point out a lot of holes in the information here so please don’t point that out to me. Things have been rounded at times, different data sets and methodologies used. There is no way I can say that it is accurate. And I am not. If you can point out errors and provide better sources of reference then please do.

This, in the end, is to make you think. Currently we have to reduce our climate change emissions by 24% to reach our Kyoto targets. This is the only way I can think to do it.

Climate Change emissions

 

 

 

 

How New Zealand should annex Australia

Annexation of Australia

It struck me with some humour the other day that the same laws causing the resignation of Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam from the Australian Parliament could be used to paralyse the country in a time of crisis.

The law in this case is Section 44 of the Australian Constitution which disqualifies anyone from representing the country who

“is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”

In this case. Both these MPs found out they were citizens of other countries as well as Australia.

What would happen? I don’t know really but to be a state according to the 1933 Montevideo Convention,

  • You must have a defined territory.
  • You must have a permanent population.
  • You must have a government.
  • Your government must be capable of interacting with other states.

I imagine that they would instantly come under the control of the Queen again since hers was the previous government. Perhaps step three should be get along really well with the Queen.

So next time Australia gets on our nerves, why don’t we just make them all dual citizens and then sit back with a beer to watch them trying to get their heads around how to change the law when nobody  is able to be an MP.  🙂

Updating Australia’s national anthem

New Zealander all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours,
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine To Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.

 

GCSB – Who watches the watchers?

One of the main problems with our surveillance system, especially with the GCSB,  in New Zealand is oversight. Who watches the watchers, in a system where the information cannot be revealed to the general public?

Is there a problem?

We don’t know. But we do know that people with access to others information use it for un-intentioned purposes.

An example of this can be found in recent events with the prosecution of Jeremy Malifa in the Auckland District Court. Mr Malfila pleaded guilty to 21 counts of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose “where he viewed the victims’ personal information, including contact details and their interactions with police, in order to establish sexual relationships with the women.”

And this is with oversight. If he had of been an employee of the GCSB then it is likely that no prosecution would have followed. The public would never have known.

And this problem isn’t new. In 2013 Darren Ian Hodgetts was one of two non-sworn staff arrested for making unauthorised National Intelligence Application checks relating to the drug-ring probe.

Between 2011 and 2015 there were 113 Police Officers and employees of the Police that were caught accessing information without authorisation.

So who watches the GCSB?

The GCSB is given external oversight by both the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Unfortunately the ‘Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996’ states that,

The functions of the Committee do not include—
(a) inquiring into any matter within the jurisdiction of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security appointed under section 5 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996; or
(b) inquiring into any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information; or
(c) originating or conducting inquiries into complaints by individuals concerning the activities of an intelligence and security agency that are capable of being resolved under any other enactment.

Leaving it solely the jurisdiction of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security,

to inquire into any complaint by—
(i) a New Zealand person; or
(ii) a person who is an employee or former employee of an intelligence and security agency,— that that person has or may have been adversely affected by any act, omission, practice, policy, or procedure of an intelligence and security agency:

So the oversight is now in the hands of one person but there is a catch.

(4) Except to the extent strictly necessary for the performance of his or her functions under subsection (1), the Inspector-General shall not inquire into any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information.

No oversight at all?

So, unless you know that you have been adversely affected, the oversight of the GCSB has no power to see if anybody has been unfairly targeted unless it is at the request of the Prime Minister or the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence  services.

That is a giant hole in the system. I guess you could say there is internal oversight like the one that caught 133 people in the Police but I am not aware of anybody in the security services ever being disciplined for misconduct.

Even when they were found to have breached NZ law 85 times in the Kitteridge Report no-one was charged or disciplined. Perhaps because the Prime Minister (John Key) was also the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence  services?

When they were found to have illegally used mass surveillance in New Zealand, nothing happened.

There is no internal oversight apparent to any of the levels which should be required by a government organisation.

Any illegal doings of the GCSB are a black hole that can only be pierced by knowing that you are under surveillance by an organisation that does that surveillance in secret.

That isn’t oversight.

So, who watches the watchers?

Nobody…

Waihopai Spy base - GCSB
Schutz. Media released under the terms of the Cc-by-sa-3.0 and GFDL licences

Addition: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/335324/police-officer-revealed-as-stalker

New Zealand ranked 34th out of 41 developed countries for child well being!

Child

This is disgusting. Why the government hasn’t resigned or been thrown out on mass over this is beyond me. New Zealand is 34th out of 41 developed countries for child well being!

Does the exclamation mark and bold accurately portray my anger? Because I am defiantly fucked off and you should be too.

And what will the country do about it. We will do nothing at all about it. We will continue to vote for the Labour or National Parties. Swinging from one to the other in the full knowledge that they brought us to this dizzying point of stupidity. Too scared to change.

Maybe Pencilsword was writing about this in his last cartoon, Denial.

“We’re wired to believe that doing something and it turning out to be the wrong choice is worse than not doing anything and having an identically bad result. It’s called omission bias and it’s why people often choose inaction when they are under pressure.”

And why am I blaming Labour and National for child well being?

Because since 1935 the government has been either Labour or National. Even the advent of MMP hasn’t changed this to any huge extent.

I am blaming them because Labour introduced us to modern capitalism and National ran with it. I am blaming them because since 1984 they have essentially been the same party.

So what does the report say about us?

The report measures nine child relevant goals and ranks countries from 1-41 with 1 being the highest.

  • No Poverty – New Zealand gave insufficient data.
  • Zero Hunger – Average.
  • Good Health and well being  – Bad.
  • Quality Education – Average.
  • Decent work and economic growth – Bad.
  • Reduced Inequalities – Average.
  • Sustainable cities and communities – Good.
  • Responsible consumption and production – Bad.
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions – Bad.

I shudder to think what we would have ranked if we had of given sufficient data on poverty and that is something the reports authors were critical of saying,

“New Zealand is clearly capable of reporting against Innocenti’s measures for multidimensional poverty, but hasn’t, and has instead broadened the definitive lines of measurement for multidimensional poverty when reporting internally to New Zealand audiences.”

In other words, we are lying out pants off. To make it worse the Deputy Prime Minister cast doubts on the metrics in the report,

“I do question some of the data and the way that they’ve collected that”

And Anne Tolley refused to answer questions in the house saying,

“I understand that the temptation to mix the indexes that were used in this report is great, but I have no responsibility for the health issues that were part of the report that addressed child health issues.”

That is the Minister for Children, Anne Tolley because some children’s health issues make them not children’s health issues?

Who took responsibility? No one. Amazing the news cycle rolled on and in two days it was all over…again….unless you’re a child.

A rewrite of ‘Denial’ by Pencilsword.

Denial - Worldwide NSA signals intelligence

This has been taken and re-written from,”The Pencilsword: Denial” by Toby Morris. You should read the original first before reading this.  Actually, read all of his stuff. It’s great.

I am unsure if this breaches copyright in New Zealand. I have send the Wireless an email. Their decision.

I remember when we used to laugh at the guys with the tinfoil hats so this is for them 🙂 It works both ways, you know?

A denial

Hey, you wanna hear something crazy? The government is spying on us.

It isn’t.

Every year the government spends tens of millions of dollars on the GCSB in the name of protecting us from terrorism. Do you realise we haven’t had a terrorism incident in NZ for 30 years. They’re using that money to listen to us and sending the information to foreign intelligence operators.

Correlation is not causation. Cherry picking statistics is just one way we trick ourselves into all kinds of ideas. Our brains are weird.

I’ve got a friend. A peace activist, and he gets harassed by the Police where ever he goes. They stand at protests and take photos of him and then lock him up. And you know what. The judge says it is illegal but then does nothing about it.

Humans value anecdotal evidence over scientific research. We react to stories more than facts and figures.

Just look at what they did to Kim Dot Com and those other 80 people. It makes me sick to think about it.

Our brains give more weight to the times things go wrong than when they go right.It’s called negative bias. We don’t give much thought to the millions of times our cars worked, or planes didn’t crash, or vaccines worked fine, but we obsess over the times they don’t.

And all those experts in suits try to tell us what to think. It’s for the terrorists, they say. We aren’t watching you. It requires a warrant. Can’t they see sit makes no sense when there isn’t any terrorism in New Zealand? Do they think I am dumb?

The Dunner-Kruger Effect is where the limits of our own intelligence mean we mistakenly overestimate our own brain power. In short, most of us aren’t smart enough to judge how smart others are. Scientists spend their lives researching climate change or vaccines and we still think we know better.

I just had this feeling so I started studying and listening to other people. Once you get past the constant social pressure to conform and start looking at what they get out of it. It’s real. It blows my mind.

Confirmation bias is where our brains preference information that supports our existing views. Whatever you are worried or frustrated about you’ll likely find a community of people worried about the same things reinforcing their beliefs together online.

And you wanna know the truth? The government spies on us to stay in power, to control us. Same as always.

Occams razor is a philosophical principle that basically states the least complicated explanation is usually the right one. We get drawn into the drama of convoluted conspiracies, but the truth is usually mundane. Vaccines work. Cliamte change is real. The Earth is not flat. Tupac is dead. Sorry.

And after I found out, man I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just remain a sheep and let them control everyone. But no one would join me.

Were wired to believe that doing something and it turning out to be the wrong choice is worse than not doing anything and having an identically bad result. It’s called omission bias and it’s why people often choose inaction when they are under pressure.

So I’m out. I’m a hard core encryption advocate now. I’ll decide who I want to be and when I want to be happy. When they come for me they won’t have any leverage because they won’t know anything about me.

Humans are terrible at risk perception. We over inflate perceived dangers, and ignore less visible ones, even if they are much more dangerous. We massively underestimate how bad polio or measles or rising sea levels are because we have never lived through them.

And to be honest, there is part of me that’s like…f*&^ you man. You don’t control me.

Sometimes denial is convenient. Identity protective cognition is how our brains are wired to selectively accept or dismiss information in order to preserve socio-economic structures that are of benefit to us. That’s why wealthy conservatives deny climate change, men won’t see the pay gap and racism is so hard to discuss.

But speaking of racism, why in this age of supposed cultural tolerance are deniers so demonised. And isn’t it healthy to question authority and social conventions? To varying degrees these biases and logical traps affect us all right?

I think you have to ask yourself if your denial puts others lives at risk. Rejecting vaccines threatens the lives of kids who can’t immunise and ignoring climate change threatens us all.

Look, in the end I just have to do what’s right for me, you know?

Sigh……..Night then little brother.

How Etihad Guest tarnished a good airline experience.

This is a story of how Etihad Guest tarnished my good experience flying with Etihad.

My Etihad Experience

In March I booked a return flight to Paris on the website of Etihad and on the 4th of April I travelled to France with Etihad and returned on the 17th of May.

It was my first flight overseas for a while and they made it easy with reminder emails and an app I installed on my phone to keep me up to date. The staff were nice, the aircraft was clean and well maintained and the food was good. I was happy and would have favoured them in future travels (of which it looks like I am going to be doing quite a few).

At this point I had received three emails from Etihad.

  1. Electronic ticket receipt, April 04 Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, France for …
  2. Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (going to Paris)
  3. Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (returning from Paris)

My Etihad Guest Experience

On the 20th of June I received my first email from Ethihad Guest.

Partial Etihad Guest email screenshot

OK. That’s great I thought. I am going to be travelling again so I can use the miles to get a cheaper ticket or upgrade or something. So I clicked on “Claim My Miles”. This took to a place I could register (remembering that they know I don’t have a Etihad Guest account yet) and again repeated the promised 500 bonus miles. So I registered.

It Starts To Go Wrong

At this point it should have all been done. I have registered on the link they gave me and my name matches my ticket etc…. I should have my miles. And for a minute I though I had. Until I realised that at the top it said,“0 Miles Etihad Guest”.

Where are my miles? Oh, OK. I have to apply for them now. But didn’t you just tell me that,

“To claim your miles, simply enrol in the Etihad Guest programme before 28th of June 2017. “

Oh look, there was fine print in the Email.

“Terms & Conditions: To receive Etihad Guest Miles for flight(s) taken with Etihad Airways in April 2017, you need to enrol in the Etihad Guest programme and activate your new account before 28th of June 2017. Etihad Guest Miles will be awarded to your new account by 30th June 2017 as long as the first name and last name of your Etihad Guest membership account match the first name and last name on your Etihad Airways ticket and passport.”

But I had done that. So I went to use their Claim missing miles page.

Etihad - Claim missing miles

Claim Missing Miles Doesn’t Work

All very simple except the “From” form is mandatory and won’t accept the Airport I flew from. So I emailed them and they replied with an unhelpful email stating,

“To help us to process your claim for missing miles, we kindly request you to email a copy of the boarding pass and e-ticket number to RetroClaims@etihadguest.com.”

Which boarding pass? I received six during the entire journey and I don’t keep them. Why would I keep them. For that matter why would they need them? They sent me the initial email, they know I have flown with them, they know I am me. They have my passport number, they registered me on the flights. So why exactly do they need the extra information?

Remember, they have already told me, ” You’ve earned 2217 miles from your recent Etihad flight” and that there would be,“500 bonus miles – on top of the miles you’ll receive for your flight”.

Are they a scam? Why are they lying? Why do they want information they obviously already have otherwise they couldn’t have sent me the initial email?

Why would they screw up a perfectly satisfactory customer relationship for no reason?

The Result

Etihad Guest put me off Etihad. They spoiled a good customer relationship and they flat out lied in order to get me to sign up. Thank you, Etihad Guest.

 

Internet Party presents #UpdateNZ live

Internet party 2017 banner

In a first for a New Zealand, if not world, political party the Internet Party presented #UpdateNZ live last night. An 8:01pm broadcast on Youtube where they promised to reveal their campaign plan.

There were a few glitches at the start with plenty of good natured humour in the chat panel and chants of #ipcatforpm!

Time 00:12

At around 8:10pm things got underway with an introductory video introducing the IP Executives who would be speaking followed by a welcome by Party President Chris Yong and a brief back history of the Party post 2014 election. At first I thought they were using special effects but it was actually just a microphone left on. Sounded good though. 🙂

Time 03:24

He then swapped over to Party Leader Suzie Dawson who spoke briefly about a recent Wikileaks release where it appears New Zealand spies were dispatched to France on the orders of the NSA (curiously, I was in France at the time although that was not how I paid for it).

Suzie then led everyone watching through the various parts of the Strategic Proposal 2017.

  • Context
  • Strategic Overview
  • Tier 1 Breakdown
  • Campaign Management
  • Principles for Success
  • Funding
  • Notes

Time 39:37

After Suzie came Jo Booth the Tech Director who gave a brief history of himself with the Internet Party and then launched into the tech. His favourite subject.

Some of the tech is;

This gives them a very important end to end encryption structure to build on.

Time 48:00

Then Sarah Illingworth, the Communications Director. Sarah said this was her first time working in a political campaign  and that formally her background is in media and academic research. After a brief call to for people to volunteer in the media team she was back to madly tweeting.

Time 51:06

Next was Bill Urale , Volunteer and Candidate Manager. Bill was on the last campaign and said he was there because he cared for his people, his country and gave a damn about community and he felt the Internet Party team felt the same.

He then talked about some of the differences between the IP campaign and other campaigns with one of the major ones being,”You have a say” in the policy and workings of the Party. He finished with a call for volunteers and solidarity.

Time 55:45

Suzie then wrapped up with a brief look at what lies in the future and then another call for peoples support and donations.

Time 58:05

The live stream then ended with Chris extolling how much they want to make a change in the political system and believe they can.

In Hindsight

In hindsight I think the event went really well. There was upwards of 80 people that I could see and later Suzie said they had over 30 new volunteers. That isn’t a bad strike rate (I have no idea how many there eventually were. I wasn’t watching that).

Everyone spoke well. Sarah was probably the worst spoken but then she had been madly tweeting in the background and everybody had taken all her points already so as was said,”Look at the website“.

The one who surprised me was Jo Booth. I was surprised at how well Jo speaks. It’s probably just the Wellington accent, but he sounds a little like Peter Jackson.  Also, he is obviously very into his tech.

So, not that I am qualified, but I’d give a 7/10. Good introduction for people to some members of the Executive. The bulk of it was a little boring in parts but then making a strategic plan exciting is hard. There was some good stuff though and it was a good continuation from their launch. I look forward to seeing more.

#UpdateNZ live

Democracy in the 21st Century

If you think the way we are governed isn’t going to change then you’re going to get a surprise.  New communication technologies have always changed the way we have governed ourselves and the rise of the computers and the Internet will continue changing democracy in the 21st century.

All over the world people are applying technology to the political problems of the day with the greatest of these being the problem of voter representation in our political systems. Billions of people feel they aren’t represented adequately by their government. This is going to change.

Forget electronic voting machines in polling booths. There are systems today experimenting in using blockchain  technologies to achieve complete and sometimes real time voter control of the government.

This is a roundup of some of those experiments categorised into blockchain and non-blockchain.

Blockchain

The Awaken Direct Democracy Project

Although The Awaken Direct Democracy Project isn’t up and running yet it still gets a mention as a New Zealand effort to “concept stage storyboards for a mobile web-app to enable NZ citizens cast private and secure digital votes into a public block-chain backed parliament. Vote in elections, acts and bills – on legislation past current and future!”

Awaken Direct Democracy Project

Democracy Earth

Democracy Earth is “building Sovereign, an open source and decentralised democratic governance protocol for any kind of organisation.” and seeks to make democracy border less for the entire planet. Fronting it is Santiago Siri who previously worked on DemocracyOS.

Democracy Earth

D-CENT

D-CENT describes itself as a “Europe-wide project creating open, secure and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment” and is in use in Barcelona, Reykjavik, Helsinki and Madrid. It provides a tool kit for improved and secure participation.

D-CENT

Flux

Flux is an tool Australians can use to directly participate in parliament. It is also a registered political party. It promises, “you’ll be given a vote on every bill put before Federal Parliament, and can use that vote immediately on the issue at hand, give it to a trusted third party to cast on your behalf, or save it for an issue you care more passionately about later.”

Flux

Non-Blockchain

Adhocracy.de

“Adhocracy.de is a free to use participation platform which makes possible a democratic, transparent, open, and goal-oriented discussion and decision making process for all organisations and communal interest groups. This new form of discussion and decision-making is not only able to be shared with an organisation’s membership, but it can also be shared with any interested citizens if so desired.”

Adhocracy

D21

“The D21 voting method allows you to choose multiple options and cast “minus-votes” against options you disfavour. This enables voters to express a richer range of preferences, and reveals points of consensus and controversy – a significant advantage over traditional single-vote polls, which simply show winners and losers.”

D21

Debate Graph

“DebateGraph helps communities of any size to externalise, visualise, question, and evaluate all of the considerations that any member thinks may be relevant to the topic at hand – and by facilitating intelligent, constructive dialogue within the community around those issues.”

Debate Graph

Democracy Lab

Democracy Lab describes itself  as “a nonprofit organisation working to create and curate civic technologies that help communities frame issues, deliberate solutions, make decisions, and take collective action.” It seeks to match people values and objectives with the policies we create.

Democracy Lab

DemocracyOS

DemocracyOS is an Argentinian online collaboration and voting platform. It allows users to propose, debate, and vote and seeks to provide a common platform for any city, state, or government to actually put proposals to a vote. It is in use in Argentina, Mexico, and Tunisia.

DemocracyOS

Liquidfeedback

“LiquidFeedback is an open-source software, powering internet platforms for proposition development and decision making.” It uses liquid democracy, collective moderation and preferential voting with a fully transparent process.

Liquid Feedback

Loomio

Loomio is another New Zealand effort at enabling group collaboration and decision making. “Loomio saves time, gives clear outcomes, and keeps everything in one place.” It is used by many communities, companies and by the Internet Parties of New Zealand, Australia, and USA.

Loomio

Reasonwell

“Reasonwell helps people to engage in productive debate, by making it easy to map out arguments, assumptions and evidence. You’ll be able to find the best arguments for and against any proposition, have your say and give your reasoning. Reasonwell is not a forum or a wiki, it’s something new: a collaborative argument map.”

Reasonwell

Voteflow

Voteflow is another implementation of liquid democracy. It states, “Rather than one person representing you for everything, you can pick representatives for topics. You can also pick someone you know and trust as a representative for you on a topic. Representatives can pick people to represent them in the same or subtopics and this means you get Chains, or trees of representation.  Particularly as you get deeper into sub-topics, a person may be able to represent a massive number of people. You are always able see what your representatives do, override their decisions – or pick someone else.”

Vote Flow