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e-Democracy update - 30/11/05

30 November, 2005
By Daniel Macpherson

ACTU delivers petition to Joyce

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has delivered over 85,000 signatures from an online petition against industrial relations reforms to Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow presented a 6000-page hardcopy of the petition to Senator Joyce on Monday.

"85,189 Australians have asked Senator Joyce to use his vote to throw the Government's proposed new workplace laws out of the Senate," Ms Burrow said.

Senator Joyce said he could understand the sentiment of the petition’s signatories in regards to the new WorkChoices Bill.

"I think that people are apprehensive about it and they have every right to be apprehensive about such a large piece of legislation."

Senator Joyce says he has won some changes from the government and will not block the controversial laws.

Visit the ACTU's Your Rights at Work page.

Diebold hack test closed to public

A US eVoting watchdog has criticised California’s Secretary of State for not allowing the media or public to attend a hacking test of Diebold voting machines.

Black Box Voting has asked all of its supporters to campaign for an open testing.

Secretary of State Bruce McPherson has asked Finnish security expert Harri Hursti to come to California for the hacking test.

Mr Hursti performed a similar test in Florida during May when he broke into a Diebold system and changed the voting results.

Black Box Voting spokesperson Bev Harris said her group has been pushing California officials since June to hire Mr Hursti.

"The exploits we were able to demonstrate in Florida call into question the testing that has gone on at the federal testing lab," Ms Harris said.

Mr Hursti was scheduled to perform the hacking test today but requested more preparation time.

A public hearing has been scheduled for February to synthesize the summit's results.

New group to fight for online civil rights

Over a thousand supporters have backed a new online advocacy group in a bid to protect individual rights in the digital age.

Each of the supporters – including journalists, politicians and activists – has agreed to donate five pounds per month to the newly formed Open Rights Group (ORG).

ORG founder Becky Hogge says campaigning for digital rights is a very wide mandate.

"Not only is access to the Internet increasingly, and rightly, being seen as a basic right, but the traditional concerns of civil rights are magnified in the virtual world," Ms Hogge says.

"With more personal data swimming around in the ether than ever before, and with security services more enthusiastic than ever to get their hands on it, privacy is top of the agenda, and hopelessly skewed. Likewise freedom of speech."

The Open Rights Group is based in London.

New site helps UK liberals "Flock Together"

A group of volunteers in the United Kingdom have started a website to inform UK Liberal Democrats of up-coming political events.

The site "Flock Together" includes an interactive map of local UK areas with pins to indicate up-coming meetings and by-elections.

UK Parliamentary Candidate for North West Hampshire Martin Tod said he created the site after using the US site, during the General Election.

"We used Meetup.com to publicise our branch meetings in Andover and two people walked in off the street and joined the party," Mr Tod said.

"Meetup.com isn't really flexible enough to meet the party's needs, so we've created a new system designed to make it really easy for people to find us and get involved.

"It now handles meetings, by-elections, socials, you name it. The intention is to make it much simpler for people to get involved with Liberal Democrat activities.

"Ideally it will enable ‘peer-to-peer’ involvement without people needing to get caught up in the complexity of how a political party is structured."

EU declares new eGovernment objectives

The European Union has devised a series of strategic principles for eGovernment initiatives to be implemented over the next five years.

European Commission Member for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding outlined the four key social and economic challenges that will help to form the basis for the new EU eGovernment Action Plan, to be announced next year.

The four key points are:

Ms Reding says the declaration is an "important step forward", one that is ambitious, visionary and "commits governments to make progress."

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