Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

Initially started as notes for Jon Pincus' presentation at the tutorial on E-Deceptive Campaign Practices: Elections 2.0

Examples of online activities countering potential "e-deceptive" campaign practices in the 2008 US Presidential elections

"Ron Paul drops out"[]

Having seen a Washington Post headline about Ron Paul dropping out, I posted something in the Ron Paul group on Facebook -- and was quickly corrected: Paul in fact was not dropping out, as events since then have shown, but shifting his strategy.

More broadly, Ron Paul supporters reacted quickly to these mischaracterizations. A good example: Ron Paul Moves on From Presidential Campaign on ABC News' Political Radar: "An earlier version of this report indicated that Paul would "drop out" of the race. In the video, Paul did not use the words "drop out," opting instead to say the campaign is "winding down," and he encourages supporters to still cast votes for him." Great quote in the comments from "Down with MSM"

What's this? Another media report of Ron Paul dropping out of the race before any official mention from his headquarters. Seems like this has happens a dozen times already. Isn't the MSM supposed to report the news not make it. ABC didn't you say Al Gore was elected president once, or didn't you learn something from that? It's official when it's official.

"Obama is a Muslim"[]

links, please! also to discussions about the trickiness of countering this disinformation campaign without being anti-Islam


links, please!

Women's Voices Women Vote[]

Discussions around the blogosphere of Women's Voices Women Vote (WVWV) mailings and robocalls, which some have described as e-deception.

Operation Chaos[]

Note: to edit, please use the Operation Chaos chronology page

originally prepared by Jon Pincus for presentations at CFP08 on "elections 2.0" and " Activism and Education Using Social Networks Jon's “Election falsification” and other voting issues in Ohio contains excerpts and discussions of many of the initial sources here. Please help supplement with additional sources and links to discussions!

Tracing the thread[]

A comment by Jon Pincus in Cognitive diversity and the 2008 US election discusses some of the information flow in some detail:

A great example of the not-so-hidden power of social networks: a 26-year-old from Butler County Ohio posted a story on Newsvines and then a link in a thread in the One Million Strong for Barack Facebook group. I did some research with the aid of a couple other Facebookers (including a college student in Florida whose Mom lived in Ohio) and wrote up a blog entry, updating it for a few days as new information came up. After I sent it to Kim, she did some more research and blogged about it on Wired’s THREAT LEVEL blog.
Ari saw it on Wired, talked about it on CSPAN, and after Rush attacked him did a nice piece on The Nation’s blog: Limbaugh’s Lying Voters Under Investigation. [The funny thing is, I actually know Ari via email — he did a long piece about Facebook for The Nation’s print edition in January that I saw on TPM; he quoted my response in his followup post and we’ve stayed in touch — but hadn’t thought of sending this to him.]
Ohio newspapers and TV stations had reported before the election that lying on crossover pledges was illegal; discussions all over the political blogosphere had discussed the effect of Limbaugh-inspired crossover votes. Nobody (outside of Ohio) put the two of them together.

It's interesting that Kim Zetter's story missed the excellent Cleveland Plain Dealer article, which included interviews with several voters and had come out the day before. Jon Pincus comments that he had also missed it: it wasn't mentioned in the Obama Facebook group, and he didn't see it until it was linked from dKos.

Clinton Attacks Obama wiki[]

Responses to requests for examples[]

Jon listed a few of of the above examples as well as discussions deconstructing of media framing, the Double Bubble Trouble/Count Every Vote campaign in response to the deceptive ballot design, and social network-based "Know Your Rights" work for the primaries and caucuses, and asked for additional examples. Here were a couple of responses:

3) Obama pretending that he will withdraw troops from Iraq, despite his website statement that leaves him tons of wiggle room to keep them there indefinitely. Me trying to explain this to the people in the Obama group and getting called a troll.
a few of my favorites in this respect are the ever-valuable (run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at UPenn), the kick-ass progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America, and the viral video projects of Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films (makes of the fine "FOX Attacks!" and "The REAL McCain" series of videos).