Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs – True Voice
The E.A.B. system’s True Voice module makes it much easier to manipulate call-in shows, letters to editors and blog comments. True Voice is of course connected to the Tracker system and the Reach system. The True Voice module itself is split into various submodules which allow the easy manipulation of opinions. First it has a detailed database of the contact points for every media outlet both email, post and text number and can send opinions to all of these outlets automatically.
The True Voice application can randomly generate hundreds of opinions ranging from semi-neutral to very pro-candidate and pro-party. An easy drop down list allows you to generate opinions on specific topics but an AI like engine can also take a human typed opinion and from it create dozens of opinions along the same lines but rewritten to be practically unique. It can do this for text messages, for emails and for letters to the editor which are printed out and posted. The module generates fake names and locations but it also relies on real email addresses so that if a media outlet replies, they will not be told the email account does not existing. The True Voice system will rely on gmail, yahoo, Hotmail, eircom.net and iol.ie addresses. It is intelligent enough to not use the same email address when sending opinions to news outlets again and again. Meaning the Last Word won’t see John from Sligo emailing in every second day.
The SMS module:
It is scarily easy to fake text messages from anyone. The SMS protocol is as insecure as the email system. As a result True Voice randomly generates mobile numbers which look valid and send messages from these numbers to the various call-in shows on Irish radio and TV. For some shows that send an auto-reply, a bank of numbers of real numbers are instead used. These numbers are taken from sim cards purchased from all 3 mobile phone companies from dozens of outlets around the country.
The Email module:
Like the SMS module, this takes the autogenerated opinions and sends them into the call-in shows as opinion. In addition this sends letters to the editor of all the print publications.
The Voice module:
Using new phone technology, this system will ring volunteers through an automated system, will explain what the show is about and what opinions are needed and then will give the option of connecting to the show or declining the invite to give an opinion. “Press 1 to connect to Right Hook or press 2 to decline”.
The Web module:
Something like the text module but instead for leaving blog comments and also comments on discussion forums. The Tracker module will alert the system as to what blogs and discussion forums are currently discussing your candidate. Since those wiley bloggers are a clever lot, the web modules will have a list of IPs/proxies that can be used so as not to bring suspicion to the automated system. The web module will have a database of discussion sites available as well as up to half a dozen usernames which can be used on that each site. While opinions are autogenerated, it will still need a human to press the publish button here to ensure that what is being posted appears to be natural and is being posted in the most appropriate area.
This is Part 3 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.
All this computerized mumbo jumbo for just influencing voters is not really proper election rigging. Skullduggery is the answer that has stood the test of time. What follows is satire, or an illustration of how it might be done, understand that I am not inciting you to commit a crime.
Intimidation: Persuade other credible candidates not to run.
Personation: The dead arise and vote for me, sometimes the living too without realizing it. How many student digs or nursing homes have piles of letters addressed to long-gone tenants? New registrations need a garda stamp, but if people already registered then moved or died…
Registration: Launch a bogus door-to-door drive to register voters in areas likely to vote for your opponent, then bin the registration forms.
Transfers: Send a letter porporting to come from other candidates asking their voters to give their second preferences to you, do this the day before the election so that by the time they realize, it will be too late… .
Infiltrate ballot stations or count centre: Make a few ballot boxes disappear from your opponent’s districts. This kind of thing must happen all the time but you never hear anything about it unless there is a very tight recount. The instinct of the officials will be to hush this up. The last thing they need is is to delay announcing the result on TV pending an enquiry into their own incompetence.
Infiltrate post office: Make some postal votes disappear, best yet because it won’t show up in a discrepancy between exit polls and actual results. Better yet the demographic of postal voters is easy to guess in Ireland. Mainly elderly and infirm I would say, so if that demographic wont support you…
Smear: Persuade unpopular or corrupt businessmen to associate with your opponents, or donate to their campaigns, then gather evidence and leak it to the press prior to the vote.
Create confusion: persuade a candidate with the same name, or a very similar name, as your opponent to stand, some people will vote incorrectly by mistake, or better yet spoil their ballot.
Disrupt opponents get out the vote campaign: Parties arrange help for their more isolated or infirm supporters to get to the polls. also for loyal college students, or city based voters, to travel back to the villages to vote. Suppose their phone lines were jammed by some inconsiderate people, requesting lifts from non-existent locations, or who don’t hang up, on voting day ?
Change your name: the ballot is listed alphabetically so make sure you are at the top. Voters are lazy and after they register their first preference or two they often just put a few numbers, from top to bottom, down the ballot. Note that none of the candidates elected in either Cork North Central or Cork South Central had a name beginning with a letter lower than ‘O’ in the alphabet (O’Flynn who just squeaked in). The Fine Gaelers: Allen, Clune and Coveney never got below ‘C’. Mulley is listed below even McGrath and Martin!
Infiltrate ballot stations or count centre: Make a few ballot boxes disappear from your opponentâ€™s districts. This kind of thing must happen all the time but you never hear anything about it unless there is a very tight recount. The instinct of the officials will be to hush this up. The last thing they need is is to delay announcing the result on TV pending an enquiry into their own incompetence.
Making ballot boxes disappear in Ireland would be difficult because it would require the collusion of competing parties. Not all of them have the resources to put personation agents at every polling box on the day of voting, but they do have alist of the numbers and polling stations of every box, and the seals are broken, and the box and the papers emptied onto the table in front of them. There was a count (in Kildare, methinks, but I could be wrong) where the officials did not realise they had missed a box, but the party hacks at the count spotted the error and demanded a search for it. (It was found under a pile of opened boxes.)