appropriate privacy for political organizations

(this is a refer link that simply notes an external resource without creating a cite link, i.e. not using it as evidence; for a more general discussion see the political privacy article)


A seminar on appropriate privacy for political organizations was run by Craig Hubley at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in 2000:

"Political organizations are involved in the operations of the state, which is an instrument for wielding deadly force responsibly. The range of political organizations is very broad, from local churches to global ideological movements. All have some need for privacy in their planning and operations, if only to ensure interpersonal comfort. Organizations subject to pressure from violence users (official and otherwise), for whatever reason, have a correspondingly greater need for privacy. The state, in turn, may insist on rights to invade it."

The session explored "ways to determine a process of selecting appropriate measures to protect privacy in all political organizations, at every scale, and the constitutional and conventional guarantees that apply to politics."

One of the tenative conclusions was that party politics should be as open as possible and have as little privacy as possible in their planning or party operations, interpersonal comfort taking a deep back seat to the rights of the public to know what is being advocated or planned within organizations seeking actual power. This required however balance with the powers of the bureacracy and more extensive powers than any FOIA presently permits. Wherever possible, explicit argument organizing structures (like TIPAESA ) and Terms of Use that permit wide dispersal of contributions and their use in both friendly and unfriendly contexts was thought essential - rather like the Free Software model.

evolution of political privacy 2000-2004

At the time, most political organizations in North America were only at about "Level 0: 'mailing' nets which provide the basics: external and internal email" on the five levels of intranet scale. Later that year during the Canadian federal election, 2000 and U.S. federal election, 2000, they achieved more like "Level 1: 'interactive' nets which support e-commerce and web documents, where convenient, and integration of the business with the global Internet." The business being election itself. At these levels privacy is mostly inherited from prior processes. From 2000 to 2004 however parties began to implement "Level 2: 'project' nets which fully implement privacy and access rules, and are considered safe for sensitive information." That is, they began to become central to, but not yet mandatory in, the party operations that determine who runs the country. Access to confidential documents in the U.S. Senate had become a minor issue already, and voting machine concerns (regarding monopoly on information about the source code which actually counts votes) was a major issue. By the end of 2004 certain skills were considered vital to all political organizations and mandatory at least for those performing public relations functions. For instance the two most edited Wikipedia articles in fall 2004 were those on G. W. Bush and John Kerry - many editors being anonymous and their party ties or affiliations unstated. This raised questions of how alleged and collective identity must be handled. Some large public wikis had begun to evolve a faction system to express tendencies and tolerances that they shared in common with other users, to provide user privacy but still to make clear biases in much the same way a well-known columnist would do simply by using their own name or pseudonym. Many so-called trolls were claiming a leftist, dissident, insurgent or anarchist rationale for their work - including especially that in open defiance to "authority" or "management" that operated influential large public wikis.

CFP 2000 program

See GFDL article on political privacy