More than half of the countries in the world today is democratic https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/14/more-than-half-of-countries-are-democratic/, while the origins of democracy date back to ancient Greece and local communities in Indiahttps://www.history.com/news/what-is-the-worlds-oldest-democracy. The oldest of modern democracies is that of the United States, dating back to a time before 1800 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/08/countries-are-the-worlds-oldest-democracies. So as it can be seen, sources of inspiration can be found in many places and at different times in history.
Some of the main models for us are Switzerland (because of its emphasis on direct democracy), Estonia (i.e. a country where widespread computerization allows online voting), and Singapore (because of its technocracy elements).
The ideal form of government in the complex reality of the 21st century is indicated by Parag Khanna, who calls it a “direct technocracy”, one in which experts rule, constantly consulting their decisions with the general publichttps://www.paragkhanna.com/book/technocracy-in-america-rise-of-the-info-state/.
Parag Khanna is an American of Indian origin who was educated at Georgetown University and the London School of Economicshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parag_Khanna. How experts and citizens should interact, however, lends itself to an in-depth analysis that I hope to have the opportunity to do in a future post.
The inclusion of Singapore in our inspiration may seem surprising, to say the least. According to the Demoralization Index, an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore is a flawed democracyhttps://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wska%C5%BAnik_demokracji. Nevertheless, the use of expert knowledge and experience can strongly support improving the quality of lawmaking. The country’s efficient and transparent legal system has enabled tremendous growth in the country over the years https://www.guidemesingapore.com/business-guides/immigration/get-to-know-singapore/introduction-to-singapores-legal-system. Singapore is also one of the safest countries in the worldhttps://www.numbeo.com/crime/in/Singapore.
We want to follow Singapore only to some extent, because it is an illiberal democracyhttps://kulturaliberalna.pl/2015/03/24/anna-grzywacz-nieliberalna-demokracja-singapur/. Lee Kuan Yew himself, the first Prime Minister of this countryhttps://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Kuan_Yew, put prosperity first and only in the second place the development of democracy. He also pointed out that freedom is not conducive to social harmony. Human rights are violated in Singapore, the death penalty and flogging are carried out, and there is censorshiphttps://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prawa_cz%C5%82owieka_w_Singapurze. Hence, human rights, which are very important to us, are violated.
The example of Estonia, on the other hand, provides an insight into how the global network can be used in the development of democracy. In the 2019 Euro-elections, 885,000 people were eligible to vote, 332,000 cast their vote, while I-voters (i.e. those voting online) numbered 155,000, as many as 46.7%https://przegladbaltycki.pl/14550,estonia-glosuje-przez-internet-jak-wygladaja-wybory-online.html
The code for the Estonian voting application is publicly available on GitHubhttps://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/07/estonia-publishes-its-e-voting-source-code-on-github/https://github.com/vvk-ehk/ivxv. Such access to the source code allows for more transparency, as well as gives independent security experts a chance to audit the solution by analyzing the code, which positively affects the security of the solutionhttps://www.infoworld.com/article/2985242/why-is-open-source-software-more-secure.html Hence, as a Foundation, we would like to make our portal available on the same open-source basis.
It would also seem that the extremely rapid development of blockchain, i.e. decentralized and distributed databaseshttps://www.gpwinfostrefa.pl/czym-jest-blockchain-wszystko-co-trzeba-wiedziec/https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain, would be possible to use for online voting. However, specialists from MIT, one of the most prestigious technical universities in the world, spoke against this solution in their articlehttps://www.csail.mit.edu/news/mit-experts-no-dont-use-blockchain-vote.
For I-voting to be possible also in Poland, universal access to the Internet is needed. According to the GUS, about 90% of households in Poland have access to broadband Internethttps://www.telepolis.pl/wiadomosci/prawo-finanse-statystyki/gus-xszerokopasmowy-internet-90-procent-gospodarstw-d-mowych-w-polsce. It is worth noting that I-voting is not the only way of voting in Estonia, so it could also be an auxiliary form of voting in Poland.
The number of people who can operate a computer and use the Internet is also important. Data of the EU statistical office Eurostat indicate that as many as 36% of Poles live outside the digital worldhttps://archiwum.rp.pl/artykul/1252078-Cyfrowy-analfabetyzm–w-Polsce-ma-sie-dobrze.html We can see here, as the Foundation, the necessity to increase efforts in the field of information technology education among the society.
The problem is not only digital exclusion, but also modern illiteracy. According to studies by international organizations PISA and OECD, 70% of Poles do not understand what they read or understand it to a small extent, which is quite a frightening indicatorhttps://portal.librus.pl/rodzina/artykuly/nie-rozumiemy-instrukcji-ulotek-i-umow-czy-w-polsce-odradza-sie-analfabetyzm. Hence, our proposal for democracy includes not only direct democracy, but also technocracy, i.e. the rule of experts who are not only not secondarily and functionally illiterate, but also have adequate knowledge and experience in their specialties.
On our portal, however, we would like to focus, at least in the initial phase of its existence, on strengthening the role of public consultation in democracy in Poland. For that, there is no need for an official I-vote, because it is an auxiliary form of democracy. More on this will be in one of the next posts.
Work on the portal will begin after the registration of the Foundation, and the implementation will be carried out in several stages. The first will be UX Research, which is the acquisition of relevant information, mainly through in-depth interviews with experts. The second will be UX Design, i.e. creating an interactive prototype of our application. Next, it will be necessary to write the source code of the portal, preferably in collaboration with volunteers, i.e. programmers involved in open source projects. Finally, it will be necessary to deploy the application to the cloud, its maintenance and promotion.