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  • Taavi 15:49 on March 27, 2011 Permalink |  


    Estonia e-election of the Parliament of 2011 took place from 24 of February till 2 of March. Altogether there were 140 846 people who used the possibility of voting online which is about 24.5 % of all the voters. In this essay I will write about the social and ethical aspects of the e-election as well of the IT systems and the impact of the online voting on Estonian society.

    E-elections help the immobile or those who live in remote places. The main idea behind e-elections is to provide an opportunity to all people to have a comfortable voting experience. E-elections provide a possibility for the voters to vote from their own homes and what could be more comfortable than voting from one’s own household. The fact that there is a possibility to perform the voting in one’s own home means that those who are immobile or live in remote places and the access to their voting precinct is limited have a possibility to vote and thus make changes in the governing of their country. According to Internet World Stats 75.1% of the Estonian population uses internet as of June 2010. The percentage is obviously larger than the participation percentage so definitely e-elections bring voting to a larger audience and make their experience more comfortable.

    The IT systems used in e-elections are unreliable. The main issue about the e-elections is that none of the votes can be controlled as there is no physical trace of the voting process. In an Estonian TV Show Pealtnägija man named Paavo Pihelgas proved that the IT systems of the e-election can be manipulated. He proved that without the knowledge of the voter or the Republic’s Voting Committee the votes can be made to disappear. It works so that the voter casts a vote but the   Republic’s Voting Committee does not receive the vote as it is caught by a third party who wants to manipulate the voting results but the voter gets the feedback that the voting process has been completed. This flaw means that the voting results of the e-elections are not reliable and that is also why Centre Party gave in an application to annul the voting results of the elections.

    E-elections lead to corruption in politics. It is clear that politicians and parties use all possible techniques to manipulate the voters to vote for them. There are numerous misdemeanours in the way politicians and parties advertise themselves. Advertisements tend to change the mind of the voters and thus there is a rule that no public advertisements are allowed on the streets month prior the Election Day. But this rule does not include advertisements in the Internet. This means that voters might see ads just seconds before conducting their vote in the e-election system resulting in their change of mind of whom to vote for. This is something that will never happen when voting in the local precinct. This kind of manipulation using advertisements seconds prior to voting means that the politicians and parties are not chosen because of their premises or actions but how good their ads are.

    The e-elections of the Parliament surely have up and downsides. The IT systems might not be as secure and the rules of advertising do not apply to Internet but e-elections still bring voting to a larger audience and help the immobile and people in remote areas. Also one must not forget that it is due to the e-elections that Estonia is considered to be one of the leading e-countries in the world.

    • alex 10:37 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The introduction is quite good because it explains what the aim of this essay is. The numerical values are also quite necessary in my opinion because it already emphasizes the fact that already 1/4 uses online voting. This can give the reader a sort of comprehension of what it may be in the future if it is already this high right now.
      The first body paragraph was well written. I am not sure if we were supposed to evaluate this topic or not but if we were then a negative side would have also been good to bring out. I understand that this was an improvement in the ethical and social concerns but an issue would have also given a lot more to it. I think it was also good that you brought out the internet users numerical value to yet again gice the same effect as in the introduction.
      The second paragraph critizises the Estonian e-elections which is good because Estonia is at the very beginning with this system. I don’t see any way to shed some positive light on to it. Good that you did some research by studying the Pealtnägija show. This makes the essay more reliable.
      The third paragraph seems to be a bit vague in my opinion. Because the voting should conducted on a page with no distractions and pop-up windows. Maybe some politicians do bribe the webpage admins to put up some ads but I think this is not the best issue to talk about. If you wanted to talk about politics then maybe it would have been better to say that they bribe some computer genius to hack the system and tilt the results in their favor or something like that.
      The conclusion in my opinion is good, it sums everything up and puts a full stop to the essay.

    • silver 14:25 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      ” In this essay I will write about the social and ethical aspects of the e-election as well of the IT systems and the impact of the online voting on Estonian society.” – Don’t comment on what you are going to do.

      Paragraph 1:
      You repeated the word “confortable” a few times too many.

      Paragraph 2:
      I liked that you placed Paavo Pihelgas into a contex. This will sure add clearity to forigners’ minds.

      Overall, I think that the points you made were understandable and suited well. However, I think that more could have been discussed, concerning the problem (ie: Identity theft)

  • Silver 11:49 on March 27, 2011 Permalink |  


    There has been a lot of trial and error around e-elections in the last couple of years. Many countries have encountered various problems and loopholes that lead the government to ban e-elections. From 2005, Estonia has accepted e-elections as a formal way of casting a vote. It seemed to go well, up until this year, when various mishaps raised concern and broke the headlines. Putting all of this aside, what is required to run e-elections, how does it make our live easier and why has it failed to be successful?

    Without serious examination, it might seem, that close to nothing is required to successfully run e-elections. A couple of minutes spent on designing and programming should do just fine. The previous might just be what the one responsible had in mind, when he was set to tackle this task. The truth however turned out to be alarmingly different. First of all, the system created can be questioned to be too easily crackable, making it vulnerable to countless malware and spyware programs. These viruses could be put to work in different ways. In example: only votes that favour a certain party will be counted, others will be trashed. Although the malware fixes the elections, the program will still create an illusion of a fair act of vote. This certain problem has been the subject of argue for a long period of time. The main counter argument being that, since there is only a 7 day e-election period (from 10 to 4 days before the election), there is little chance that enough malware was distributed to successfully fix the elections. This claim seems to neglect the speed at which a virus like this might rapidly distribute from a known source. One of these sources might have been the “political-view compass” which I think caught the attention of many and may have started the mayhem, thus being a possible threat to the succession of the electional process.

    Although,politics and politicians, seem to be the impact area concerning e-elections, there is another ultimate goal that I think the system was projected towards. That is the need to increase the interest in public-voting. Polls showed that the interest in e-elections was the highest among people 35 and below. This is all great, but the fact is that the people in desperate need for e-elections are the ones who live so to say “in the middle of the forest”, thus having no access to any of the genuine voting stations and no possibility to go voting. The pitfall in this assumption is that most people who live in the middle of nowhere, next to nothing will not have Internet access, again making them unable to go voting. Another factor, leaning for e-elections is that it is economically sufficient, saving money and human resources. Money could be saved off of paper, inc and fuel. On top of all that, there is almost no need for human interference, leaving people to be productive in other fields of live, yet again saving money for the government.

    As the topic is e-elections, it is hard to decide from which end to start. First of all, there is a problem with vote duplication because there is no formal supervision held over the votes. This problem is enhanced by the fact that there is a possibility for one to change ones vote during the vote period. If there were too many requests at one time there could be a server flood, that would cause the previous vote not to be deleted/changed. This would make the person have more than one vote, thus creating for an unfair election. As votes are concerned, there is also no strict control over whether a person, having already casted ones vote over the Internet, will go and elect again in the public, paper form, elections. I say strict, because the department dealing with these elections claims that they have everything under control. Since there is no actual proof, because the votes casted are anonymous, the claim can not be proven or overruled. As virtual identity theft is increasingly more present, there is also a problem with the valid identification of a person. Let us say that grandmother lets his grandson vote for her over the Internet, since the political views of grandson and grandmother do not match, the man decides to cast two votes for his own politician of choice. Over the Internet, such manipulations can not be checked, as they can in a public, paper based, elections. Another problem, perhaps the most threatening of them all, is the fact that the control over this whole system is left in the hands of a few individuals. This small group of people has a higher than average risk of being corrupt, leaving for a chance of fixed elections. This kind of manipulation of votes could have occurred in Estonia while there was no flow of information for a hour and a half, apparently there was counting in process at that time, or was there? The scaring fact is how easily they could have gotten away with it. Since e-elections were most popular among people of 35 and below, who belong into middle/upper-middle class and are most commonly voting for the Reform party, there would be no questions asked, when suddenly a couple of thousand votes, under that category were changed to support the Reform party. At this moment, only those handful of people, responsible for the “counting” could tell us the truth, until they have spoken, nothing can be known.

    Overall, there is a large mess gathered around e-elections. Failure of correct assessment of the technology and resources needed, fallacious reasoning, when it comes to the target group and the inability to correctly cast and count votes, only being some of the major problems haunting e-elections. The decision of baning e-elections in some of the countries might have been a choice that overall saves more money than the program was initially supposed to. May be there is a future to e-elections? Only time will tell.

    • Taavi 10:38 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “Mighty piece of writing.”
      Your essay was fluent all the paragraphs were connected and did not seem out of the context. Your ideas were good although in the third body paragraph you brought out the stall in transmission of the voting results which clearly had nothing to do with the results or counting of the e-elections as these results were published before they even started reading the physical votes. Although you had quite a few grammar mistakes I think the overall essay was well written as you covered all the aspects and managed to cover them in a clear order.

    • Brent 10:53 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That’s a okay essay you got here..
      Language was great and fluent.
      You had a claim: “This problem is enhanced by the fact that there is a possibility for one to change ones vote during the vote period. If there were too many requests at one time there could be a server flood, that would cause the previous vote not to be deleted/change”. My question is, that do you actually have any facts or evidence of this being possible.
      Also if a “paper” vote was to be discovered from a person who had voted electronically, then the paper vote would overrule the electronic one.
      So you couple of fact errors.
      Otherwise a good essay

      • silver 11:06 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The claim: I don’t have actual evidence, because i’m just argumenting, what could be going on.. This could just be a reason… that could cause problems.

        Voting – mind the next sentence 😀 may be it clarifies stuff

  • Erik-Silver Toomere 08:26 on March 27, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: list   

    The List 

    I can now do:

    • General HTML
    • General CSS
    • Some PHP:
      • Functions
      • Arrays
      • Echo
      • Date

    I would like to be able to do:

    • More PHP:
      • Foreach
      • The form ($_get) thing
    • Javascript
    • Joel L 21:42 on March 27, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      But, thinking on a higher level — what would you like to be able to create (with PHP)?

  • Erik-Silver Toomere 08:02 on March 27, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: ,   

    Estonia’s E-election of twenty-Eleven 

    Estonia is probably, politically and technologically speaking, most well-known for our e-government. All the services that the government offers are readily available online and literally everywhere thanks to our vast WiFi and 3G range. Every citizen has acquired an ID-card which functions, like the name implies, as identification in day-to-day life and online.

    High-mark of this e-liberty is the fact that all citizens of over 18 in age can use their ID-cards to vote online in the e-elections, this however is not yet fully polished system and is prone to have a couple of problems.

    The first problem is the technology behind the e-elections.
    To vote one first had to go to an unsecured website, download a program and only then they could begin with the voting.
    The fact that the program had to be downloaded from an unsecure website could cause some highly malicious problems, for example somebody could attach a totally different program that is to be downloaded thus either giving way to manipulation in the voting system or stealing of private information.
    Secondly, the server seemed to be constantly down. It was near impossible to vote during the day since the program could not connect to the server, from what I have heard it had something to do with third-party services lacking the ability to handle hundreds and hundreds of requests.
    The third problem ties in with the area of impact.
    The results. The results were very undetailed to, at first glimpse, keep things simple and quick. But upon further investigation it turned out that it is nearly impossible to find detailed results or the amount of votes a candidate received. I for example went through about 5 different graphs and 3 webpages and I still could not find what I was looking for.

    Coming back to the topic of manipulation. Corruption seems to be inherent in politics; it has been so ever since the days of ancient Greek. However with the amount of technology used in e-election and the amount of people taking part of the e-elections the manipulations can get ugly real fast.
    One fear was that the e-election system would give the votes to some other candidate and the danger was there, however luckily that did not happen.
    Politicians still seem keen on purchasing votes in the old-school election stations and this brings me to my second point. E-elections could remove these purchases of votes forever.
    However only setting up e-elections will bring us to our third aspect of the triangle: senior citizens.

    With all the attached technology a huge problem will become the senior citizens who have voted by the means of pen and paper all their lives. They can not adjust to the new technology fast enough and thus a large proportion of votes will be left unheard.
    However this problem is only temporary seeing as the technology is slowly overtaking old ways and the new wave of senior citizens are already able around technology.

    In conclusion I truly believe in the e-system and I truly hope that the lasts chinks in armour will be ironed out and we all can enjoy the comfortable future of politics.

    • alex 10:54 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The introduction was good because you pointed out Estonias level of technology and that we are a e-country. You also pointed out that everybody has an ID-card but that is not true. This is generalisation which should be avoided.
      Technology is explained quite well what were the problems. I think that the sentence where you said the results were very undetailed is a bit hazy in my opinion. You did say that it is impossible to find the number of votes a candidate got but maybe you should have suggested an improvement or what you expected from it. That would have made things more clearer and explained your expectations to since you were talking about personal experience.
      First of all the Greek comment is vague. I don’t study history but why did corruption start at Greek? This is not a huge problem though. The last sentence is written so that it leaves the writers waiting for you to explain it. And senior citizens are not an aspect of the ITGS triangle. You should have written some sentences more about the older generation because it may not be coherent for every reader.
      In the third part you started to talk about senior citizens now. In that case you could have left the last sentence out of the second paragraph. In all the other paragraphs you cover many issues or aspects but here you only talk about one and not very informatively. You should have written more here because this seems to be the weakest pragraph.
      The conclusion is short and straight to the point expressing your opinion which is good. I think this is suitable for the essay.

    • Sander 10:58 on March 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A very fluent piece of writing, good job!
      Structure-wise, you could make it more of an essay. You could really do without the bolded paragraph titles. You could also write a longer conclusion. Otherwise, you have very good ideas, but you should spend more time explaining your points. Some of your points are explained in a somewhat shallow manner. This is a shame because the points themselves are interesting.In the case of the second body paragraph, use the PEE structure, instead of what seems to be the EEP. The language you used was very fluent, and semi formal as perscribed, good job.

  • alex 11:38 on March 14, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: Chicenpox


    • Erik-Silver Toomere 11:45 on March 14, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Erik-Silver Toomere be eyein’ this with pleasure!

  • Paavo Viilup 05:43 on March 14, 2011 Permalink |


    At home with child before one, at a seminar afterwards. Thus, last Tuesday’s task applies (there should also be more info on this now): “lease write a semi-formal essay on Estonia e-election of 2011 focusing on the ITGS triangle. The structure of this piece of writing can, FOR EXAMPLE, be: intro, aspect 1 (pick one topic), aspect 2 (pick one topic), aspect 3 (pick one topic), conclusion. The aspects are the sides of the triangle.”

    On Tuesday, PHP etc with Joel, on Thursday, your chosen projects.

  • Joel L 20:36 on March 13, 2011 Permalink |  

    Järgmine samm… 

    Siit leiate õppematerjalid järgmise teema jaoks.

    Kuuldavasti kohtume juba teisipäeval, nii et oleks väga hea kui selleks ajaks asja võimalikult selgeks teeksite endale.

    Arvan, et tunnis läheks asjad kiiremini, kui mingi eelnev info on olemas juba.

  • Joel L 15:36 on March 10, 2011 Permalink |  

    Lubasin mingi koduülesande tekitada. 

    Kerge mõtlemise tulemusena otsustasin, et proovin kiirelt kokku panna manuaali selle kohta, kuidas PHP-s
    kasutajalt (s.t. brauserist) infot koguda ja sellega midagi edasi teha.

    ehk siis sisuliselt kui praeguseks teate umbes seda kuidas suvaliselt hindeid genereerida ja selle põhjal midagi teha, siis järgmine samm oleks see, et saate brauseris kuskile kastikesse hinde toksida, ja siis (kui (hinne on <= 2) paavo pilti imetleda.

    Stay tuned, peaks lähipäevil valmima. Ja siis võiksite vastavalt võimalustele sellega tutvuda ja ise proovida teatud asju, et järgmine kord saaks kiiremini edasi liikuda sealt.

    Also, see härra kes tänaseks ei teind paavo-näo-rakendust, palun teosta ära ja pane link siia ( kaudu nt), või meili mulle (

  • Joel L 11:44 on March 10, 2011 Permalink |

  • Taavi 10:50 on March 10, 2011 Permalink |

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