Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

I met with Rick Bahague of the Computer Professionals’ Union who are a jolly good bunch of computer professionals (hence the name) who volunteer their time (hence jolly good bunch) to bring technology to the people, help NGOs with their computing needs, etc. Among the many projects they have on their plate, they started Vote Report, which is “a grassroots-based electoral campaign that aims to inform, organize and mobilize the Filipino people to push for meaningful reforms in the 2010 automated polls with the aid of new media technology.”

When I first stumbled upon their website, I thought wow! no need to reinvent the wheel for the Citizen Election Watch Project. So we met. Rick turned out to be a really cool guy with a purpose that makes mine look amateurish. We agreed to work together. We also concluded that since this is voluntary, i.e. no company requiring its employees to give in their time in exchange for compensation, we need as much help from all sectors.

We agreed that CPU will implement the project. This may be just an enhancement to Vote Report. We, including you, will brainstorm on added features like reporting by SMS, video streaming, etc. but whatever we decide, CPU will make that happen.

We still need more volunteer programmers. I will continue to encourage our engineers to volunteer. If you want to volunteer or know anyone, please join in.

We need a hosting or datacenter company out there who’s kind enough to donate servers, hosting space and bandwidth. Know anyone?

For my part, I will continue to work on getting Smart, Globe and Sun to allow their subscribers to send SMS to a shortcode to report an incident (that’s about to happen or has happened) and capture location data so they don’t have to type in where they are, MMS, stream video, in that order. For Free. Wish me luck.

Then we need to let the world know about it. This is critical! If the no one knows about it, no one will use it. If no one knows about it, it will produce no fear on the bad guys therefore it is no deterrent.

If anyone has contacts in both traditional and social media who can help, please ask them to get in touch with me.

Celebrity endorsement could give this a boost. Anyone?

I’m trying to get hold of NAMFREL, church groups and other organizations who already have people in place nationally. They can use this tool. We can train them to use it. Do we have contacts there?

Like all voluntary work, this is a choice you have to make without any form of reward, renumeration from me or anyone. If you don’t do it, it’s ok. If you do it, only you can feel that satisfaction that’s hard to explain to anyone but it doesn’t matter. You know when you feel it.

Anyways, that’s what I can think of right now. If you have any ideas, please share it. Spread the love baby!

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If there’s one thing the Maguindanao massacre has taught me it is that having the world as witness could be a deterrent to stop evil men from doing the evil deed.
My vision is to provide a facility so people can report what’s happening INSTANTLY as a preventive measure (a kid would not get cookies from a cookie jar if he knows Mom is watching) and as a trigger for action (when you know what IS HAPPENING (emphasis on the immediacy of info) you can act.)
Here are the things that I think needs to be done. Just a stream of thought so I may miss some. Do feel free to add. Let me know how anyone can participate:
  1. I’m working on getting a deal with Globe, Smart, Sun to provide free SMS/MMS facility for reporting. 80% of phones in the Philippines are still not internet ready. We need to be able to give them the facility to report for free.
  2. We can create syntax on twitter hash tags so we can easily automate the collection of tweets to mash to Google maps.
  3. I want to provide streaming video capability, again mashed to map. This will be critical especially during counting. The world has to be the witness to the actual counting and not just a select few to avoid “dagdag bawas.”
  4. Facebook app? It seems like Facebook is the social network du jour so let’s use it.
  5. Email reports? Email is still the most ubiquitous way to communicate in the web.
  6. I know it’s no longer fashionable but given the penetration of smart phones, we may still need to design a WAP specific User Interface.
  7. Hosting it on bigger, more scalable and faster data centers.
  8. Encourage our company’s (Chikka.Com) engineers to volunteer their time for this. Developers and techies out there, we need you.
Once we’ve built this, we then need to let everyone know it exist. We need to solicit the help of volunteers who are experts in media and communications. This will come to naught if no one knows about it. The bad guys won’t feel deterred. the good guys can’t act. We need as much help from as many areas: Media, Namfrel, Volunteer groups. Let’s spread the word like wildfire