By FABIANA CHAVEZ, EL PAÍS
Today’s ECOSOC’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development held a press conference. The results and the quality of the questions and answers represented the great efforts this committee is doing to challenge the benefits and disadvantages of e-voting.
The committee was asked 5 questions in total. All of the responses contained solid answers and solutions. The first question revised the ideals of democracy and whether the delegates considered if each ballot is secure. The necessity of having a secure ballot was covered, as well as the recommended solutions in order to ensure each person can cast a vote, knowing that this vote won’t be corrupted. The committees response came from delegation of Switzerland, which noted that a plan inside the committee is being worked on and it includes the encryption. On the other hand, Pakistan stated that secure measures should be allowed for citizens to identify their vote as well as the “Electro-Watchmen” program that will focus on having a proper identification through questions via Internet. Additionally, Thailand mentioned the “PPP” Plan that will focus on sharing information and technology to under-developed countries.
The second question covered the subject that the Internet is both an intra and international issue and how the international community is willing to ensure that across the board the electorate is not skewed. The Russian Federation stated that the “PPP” Plan can also play a key role because of the education campaigns in and between countries. More education in technology and electoral access was a statement the delegation of Portugal responded. A final response to avoid fraud was done by the Chilean delegate which addressed that in order to avoid the problem, the “PPP” Plan can cover a part of it.
The third question the press counted with inquired delegates to find a correct answer as a whole to identify the view of the commission’s view on the use of internet voting or e-governance. Switzerland’s opinion was neutral: with e-government the delegates agrees that issues stay the same and are taken care of. China also mentioned that to have a bigger picture, we should acknowledge that the internet is not a distant problem. Nonetheless, Pakistan focused on starting from the basics to achieve a regional or multinational goal.
Regarding the fourth question, Member States asked if e-governance should or shouldn’t extend to the proceedings of the United Nations. In regard of this answer, Thailand thought that developing a series of tools to be implemented could be an adequate response. On the contrary, Chile stated that there must be minimum standards and conditions for it to develop.
Finally, an approach was made to deal with sovereignty issues and nations that are not supportive of democracy as well as e-voting and e-government that needs Internet connection. The United Kingdom’s response was that e-voting and e-government is about to close gaps between people.