Where’s the free e-democracy project?

The free e-democracy project’s website (free-project.org) has been abosrbed into my personal website, no content has been lost. The free
project was created to provide a forum to encourage participation in developing Free Software Internet voting. Since the decision, in 2002, to stop developing the software and instead campaign against e-voting’s introduction the project was just me.

It felt a little odd to write and appear under the free project’s banner, seeing as it was only me. So I’ve finally decided to be open about that merging the free project’s site into my personal one.

If you’re interested in the GNU.FREE Internet voting software it is still available via Archive.org (links below), but is unsupported. The Free Software Foundation also maintain full archives of GNU.FREE releases but I feel that it is in keeping with the Free Software ethos to maintain the complete documentation (which FSF don’t have) online also.

For historical reasons I include the project’s aims below, I support them, but as me instead of as ‘the project’.

Our Aims

The project’s history in developing Internet Voting software has given us a unique position of understanding regarding the difficulties associated
with implementing technology in vital areas such as voting and government.

We aim to be a positive force providing constructive criticism and exciting proposals for e-government with the following priorities in mind:

  • Responsible Technology
    We strongly encourage the use of technology to enhance the delivery of government services and
    citizens’ engagement in the democratic process as long as it meets the core goals of security, privacy, reliability and verifiability.
  • Free Software
    We believe that Free Software has a huge moral and technical case for being used in government and will strongly
    advocate its diffusion.
  • Appropriate Use
    Technology is alluring, and we are heavy users. But we want to ensure that technology is being implemented in
    an appropriate way and that resources wouldn’t be better spent in different ways to improve the quality of life for citizens.
  • Core Values
    We will advocate these aims while remaining non-party political and independently funded. We aim to provide an
    honest and open voice in the e-government field which can work with any participants, when we agree, and work to make our opinions heard when
    we don’t.

The Project’s History

The project was initially founded to provide a structure to support and advocate the development of the GNU.FREE Internet Voting suite. This
was (and still is as far as we know) the only Free Software Internet Voting package designed for legally binding elections and not little web-based
polls. The project has since refocussed onto the aims above, as the process of developing GNU.FREE highlighted the difficulties inherent in
technologising government and democracy processes.

GNU.FREE was initially developed as part of a joint project at the University of Warwick Department
of Computer Science and the Warwick Business School. The project was examining the impact of the Information Revolution on
activism and the political process.

One major impact that people have been predicting for years is electronic voting, but during Jason’s research it became apparent that all the
current implementations were pretty flakey and also commercial. Jason felt this was an unacceptable state of affairs so he set about making a system
that would be useful with today’s technology and could be released under the General Public License. GNU.FREE is the result.

More details on his research and also copies of the papers produced as a result of the research are available in the
writings section. These papers include the detailed original technical design with UML diagrams.

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