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6 hours ago, Renegade said:

We are currently bombarded by propaganda all day long every day.  Everyone has an agenda.  Every corporation, NGO, politician, nation, news channel, social media poster, etc. spouts propaganda non stop.  I couldn't possibly list all the sources of propaganda we swim in every day.   We are exposed to propaganda from other nations all the time.  What rule/policy could we use to stop this?   I just don't see how it's possible.


I refer specifically to propaganda, from abroad, attempting to sway our elections.  From a technical standpoint, I don't know if it can be stopped.  But we owe it to ourselves to explore ways to prevent it.  Both on the sending and receiving sides.



6 hours ago, Renegade said:

I disagree with this.   Why do you think someone would believe a lie from Macedonia when they don't believe the same lie when told from the USA?  Just because someone in Russia says I should hate others, that doesn't mean I will.  You're completely discounting the fact that Americans have free will.  We are exposed to arguments and propaganda from all points of view.  We get to choose our own destiny.  


Because this is not a matter of parity in disinformation, as suggested above.  This is a matter of foreign entities adding electoral firepower to campaigns in support of their choice of candidate.  It is a way for our enemies to shape our internal politics to their liking.  We would not allow it in war and we should not tolerate it in peacetime.


Our Nation had already been damaged by foreign meddling in our elections.  The Trump presidency, even if it ends in 2020, will have far-reaching, negative repercussions.  We would be foolish not to seek ways to limit manipulation of our elections by foreign nationals.


6 hours ago, Renegade said:

Looking at this and your last post, it seems like you're more focused on election security (which is reasonable and advisable).  Does that mean you're reconsidering the need to censor 'fake news'?  I'm completely on board with election security measures.  I'm completely opposed to censorship.    Although the threats come from the same people for the same reasons, our responses need to be considered separately.  


To me, election security means not only hardening our electronic voting network from hacking, but shielding social media from geopolitical interference abroad.  It would appear the solution to the former is straightforward.  Perhaps the latter, not so much.


In 1787 there was no electronic communication.   If the Framers could come back and rewrite the Constitution, they would surely take technological changes into consideration;  And the Constitution would probably look different in several places, including the First Amendment. 


Shielding social media, to whatever extent possible, from foreign meddling goes beyond free speech.  It is a matter of national self-defense against enemy control of our government.


Because of their gravity, many exceptions to Constitutionally guaranteed free speech have been accepted:

  • Obscenity.
  • Fighting words.
  • Defamation (including libel and slander)
  • Child pornography.
  • Perjury.
  • Blackmail.
  • Incitement to imminent lawless action.
  • True threats.

It is time for foreign-sourced, electronic, dissemination of disinformation to be added to that list.


6 hours ago, splunch said:

Shoring up our elections seems like a relatively simple, if expensive and labor-intensive, process.  Nothing online is safe, is the only sane approach to real security.  Voting sites should not be closed networks, and paper ballots/receipts should be part of the process.  Results can be transferred after a polling site closes and sent to a central location, also entirely offline, to be tallied up.  When the results are in, send them out.


Good ideas. 


I'm guessing you mean voting sites "should" be closed networks?

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1 hour ago, bludog said:



I'm guessing you mean voting sites "should" be closed networks?

Yes.  And results can sent electronically to the central location, verified they arrived correctly, and entered into the database.  Then you stash that entirely offline data direct from the polling place, and if there are any questions, you can tap that database for the exact data from that polling place, and confirm the two match.  Any problems, you have the paper trail.


I suppose the idea is that a bad actor can get into the polling machines before they ever arrive on-site, and that's probably true.  And there is ultimately always a way to cheat if you're committed.  But it sure does seem like we could make it extremely difficult with some relatively low tech, or at least very old tech, solutions.


Granted, of course the media is going to complain if they cannot run a reality TV show proclaiming the results hours before they are actually in, but that's not really one of the problems on our checklist to address, is it.

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