Info Tech, Law, Politics

I haven’t written anything about the Diebold electronic voting scandal because Body and Soul has done such a good job, there seemed very little to add. And there are even sites devoted entirely to the topic. One such site,, became big news when Diebold tried to shut them down. But now there is a matter which needs your support. Some Swarthmore Students are participating in Electronic Civil Disobedience:

Defending the right of a fair, democratic election, Why War? and the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons (SCDC) announced today that they are rejecting Diebold Elections Systems’ cease and desist orders and are initiating a legal electronic civil disobedience campaign that will ensure permanent public access to the controversial leaked memos.

Please write an e-mail to indicate your support of this action:

Alert: We need your support! Because the Diebold memos are currently being hosted on the Swarthmore College computer network, we need messages of support for this action of civil disobedience. Please e-mail Dean Bob Gross ([email protected]) to support Why War? and SCDCs action. We will be meeting with him Wednesday, October 22, and your emails will make a huge difference. Remember to be nice and please cc your e-mails to [email protected].

Why War? believes that what we are doing is legal ; though we see it as an issue of electronic civil disobedience we believe it is Diebold which is abusing copyright law in an attempt to shut down free speech and the democratic process. The four criteria of “fair use” copyright law are the purpose of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the substantiality of the portion used and the effect of the use upon the potential market of the copyrighted work. We believe the publication of these documents is integral to the function of the democratic process. The memoranda themselves are not marketable products, and in this case we believe the nature of the work, which threatens elections occurring in 37 states, outweighs the need to selectively excerpt portions of the documents. If there is anything the American people have a right to know, it is how their votes are being counted.

UPDATE: This is depressing news:

According to the Why War? website, Swarthmore’s crackdown on students engaging in Electronic Civil Disobedience has reached a new low… Now, Swarthmore is allegedly terminating the internet connection of any student who links to the Why War? website, which links to sites hosting the Diebold internal company memos. They are not only terminating the accounts of students who host the files, or the accounts of students who link to the files, but terminating the accounts of students who link to a political protest site that links to the files.

UPDATE: Students at other universities join the protest.