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Daily Digest: Do Sockpuppets Belong in Politics?

BY Joshua Sherman | Thursday, August 7 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Stop the citizen-presses! Decision ‘08, a competition launched earlier this year by MySpace, NBC News, and to find two citizen journalists to cover the national conventions has selected its winners. Matt Britten and Sara Pat Badgley were chosen by over 50,000 users with their video submissions that answered “How will you stand out in the crowd and get the scoop no one else can?” Matt Britten, who pulls an Eddie Murphy and plays every role in his video, tells us “I’m Matt Britten and I want Decision ’08 to send me to the convention so that I can ask the real questions that real Americans want answered and I’ll stand out in a crowd because as you can see I’ll be everywhere at once.” #

  • More Contests! Ten finalists have been selected by the Democratic and Republican National Convention Committees for the “Why are you a Democrat/Republican in 2008?” and the winners will attend their party’s upcoming Convention. People have submitted their videos and users can vote until August 13th. Finalists from the Republican contest range from a 13 year old to a Jedi Master and the Democrats range from a man from a community hit by home foreclosures to a war veteran. Make sure to vote! #

  • Pollworkers of the 21st Century: Pollworkers for Democracy, powered by CREDO Mobile, is an effort to recruit, train, and network 5,000 citizen pollworkers for the upcoming election (and beyond) in order to run a fair and accountable election. We here at techPresident are very impressed: how should we rethink and improve pollworkers of the 21st Century? So far they have recruited almost 2500 pollworkers and the site is a custom implementation of’s event tools. #

  • Cyber-Threat at the DNC: According to the Colorado Independent, security experts fear that the Democratic National Convention could face a cyber-attack this summer. With fifty thousand expected in attendance of the Convention, many will be on laptops that are not secure and face threats such as hackers “accessing delegates' credit card information to cutting off cell phone service in the convention sites, sending out fake news releases and planting porn in an unsuspecting politician's laptop.” “Rogue“ networks could be planted that could trick users into signing in and perhaps even voluntarily give away personal information. Ah, the lure of free wifi is mighty yet the wiser must turn from the Siren seductress. Nancy will be techPresident’s correspondent at the Convention, we wish her a safe cybertrip!#

The Candidates on the Web

  • New McCain Ad Somehow About McCain: John McCain releases yet another ad today called "Democrats Praising McCain" which features, you guessed it, Democrats praising McCain. Featuring Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Russ Feingold, even Barack Obama, it is the first ad in a while from the McCain campaign that is primarily about McCain. That is, of course, Hillary gets the last word: "I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House, and Senator Obama has a speech that he gave in 2002." That quote is from March of this year, which if you can remember that far back, was one of the ugliest months of the Democratic primary.#

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Twitter-Puppets: Any other day, a story about a man pretending he is Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t make news. But what if this man was pretending over Twitter? Blogger William Beutler raises suspicions over a tweet made by David All regarding the #dontgo protest and a nearly identical tweet posted only minutes earlier by a clearly fake or very confused “speakerpelosi.” This Twitterganger has erupted into Twitter scandal. To fill you in, the term that is catching on is “sockpuppetry,” but I think it’s unfair. If anything, All’s masquerading is definitely deserving of “sock-artiste” #

In Case You Missed It...

Micah Sifry writes about the hidden agenda of John McCain's "The One" video. Though it is defended as just being silly, Micah delves deeper and suggests that the ad is actually full of coded messages meant to convince evangelical voters that Obama is actually "literally, the anti-Christ." #