This research is classified into four tasks of which each is portraying an understanding of how external and internal factors influences IS/IT strategy and design. The first task, evaluates different methods of enquiry from the perspectives of Greek philosophers who accorded results in different fields of life due to the fact that they were philosophical enough in the manner issues were viewed, approached and investigated. Nevertheless, the SWOT Analysis of the three selected methods of enquiry was appraised. The second task focuses on the PESTEL framework of the key issues of introducing or implementing the new technology. We therefore, selected e-voting system as our case study into the electoral process by viewing different multi-channel voting system to give individuals range of choice to vote the way that suit their lifestyle and preferences which is an idea of System Thinking; giving avenue for more than one way of approaching to solution to real-world situation. However, the third task triggers the likely impact of IT/IS on the local government and the analysis was drawn from the ‘effect/probability/action grids' to support our argument about e-voting system.
Finally, task four provides an overview of key issues that are linked to systems development focusing on SSM (feasibility, analysis and design aspects). We realize that Soft systems thinking uses the concept of system as a means of enquiry into the nature of any complex and confusing real-world situation of concern, it seeks to explore the ‘messy' problematic situations that arise in human activity and strive to learn from the different perceptions that exist in the minds of the different people involved in the situation and attempts to understand the wicked and fuzzy world of complex organizations. Also, we graphically represented the Rich Picture of multi-channel voting system to incorporate different stages, processes and participants involve in trying to develop and implement and improve our voting system and some inherent internal and external factors that are bound to affect the process. Finally, CATWOE Analysis was portrayed as an add mixture to the key concept (e-voting).
1.0 CHAPTER ONE
Different methods of enquiry (e.g analytic-deductive, systems thinking and inductive-consensual) their strengths, weaknesses and assumptions that have to be made when using these different modes of enquiry.
The majority of difficulties encountered with information systems as suggested in the past had occurred because those involved were not philosophical enough; and this task work is principally focused on several ways in which issues can be viewed and investigated and the idea is focused towards establishing the fact that there is no single approach to enquiry; for we obviously derive necessary knowledge, information concerning something, research, investigation, examination by means of enquiry.
However, when computer were first applied to business problems the focus was upon seemingly well defined transaction processing areas such as sales order processing, stock recording and payroll. Upon this fact, people adopted approaches drawn from clinical engineering in particular and emphasis was placed upon developing a life cycle approach to analysis, design and implementation. Moreover, as these early developments encountered major problems with delivery acceptable solution on time, within budgets and to user satisfaction, there was a growing awareness that we were not dealing merely with difficulties. However, all of these properties means that information system development requires new ways of thinking about complex problem situations rather than those based on the engineering paradigm. As technology improves further particularly with the rise of internet, application areas becomes more complex and less related to areas that already exists in some manual sense. This triggers the quest for finding retentive solution to real life situation, looking at information system development methods as a coherent collection of concepts, beliefs, values and principles supported by resources to help a system development team to perceive, generate, assess and carry out in a non-random way changes to the information system.
However, the essential interconnectedness of system lead us to the view that no single problem situation exists in isolation from any other rather the world is made up of a whole network of such problem situations that has been characterized as a mess by (Russel Ackoff: Best, p. 48, 1999, Wiley, New York). However, the discussion is drawn to illustrate the strength, weaknesses and limitations of the modes of enquiry, which trigger the fact that there is no all-embracing right answer – but all answers should relate the concepts of systems, emergence, ordering, informing, change and environment of economic, geo-political regions.
Upon this platform, we establish the need for new modes of enquiry and new approaches to system developments. In his classic book, The Design of Inquiry System, C. west Churchman (1971) identified five traditions of enquiry basic to western philosophy ascribed to Hegel (dialectic), Kant (Multiple Realities), Singer (Multiple Perspective), Leibniz (Deductive-Analytic), Locke (Inductive-consensual). These traditions were later incorporated as enquiry modes by Mitroff and Pondy (1974) and others and were then applied to be used in situation appropriate by individuals, organizations and agencies in public policy analysis and decision making. As Malhotra (1997) in his paper entitled “Knowledge management in Inquiry Organizations” proposes that ‘it is becoming increasing apparent that these inquiry systems have the capacity to accommodate the complexities inherent in today's ‘wicked environments' of discontinuous change and unpredictability…'. However, for the purposes of this task-work our methods of enquiry will concentrate on Inductive-Consensual, Analytic-deductive and innovative systems: System Thinking. We shall draw a hypothetical table to represent or portray their strength, weaknesses and any assumptions that have to be made when using them as well as representing Inductive-consensual and Analytic-Deductive enquiry in a diagram. Consider below:
However, having these diagrams approach in mind lets hypothetical represent the three selected methods of enquiry for the task work; portraying their strength, weaknesses and assumptions associated with them:
* It derives conclusion from a limited set of observations which, may be analogous, historical or multiple independently sourced.
* It presumes on one best answer for a problem and dismisses questions and concerns of aesthetics, ethics and values.
* Identified individual ideas and facts for each low level problem.
* Generalizing low level ideas and facts and induce a higher level proposition
* Relies on facts and expert opinion, seeks solutions that meet current needs; serious about getting concrete results, acts with efficiency and incisive correction, prefers data over theory
* Short-range goals
* Characterized by the ability to gain consensus and therefore needs to be mindful not to try too hard for consensus, denying others the right of agreement
* Setting hard objectives using expert opinion and cutting through issues to action
* Shares many difficulties and the fallacy that the definition of the problem itself is unproblematic
* It belief that there is always one single answer – a number or a truth – which can always be found if only we look hard enough
* It views the world as a formula
* Seeks the one best way, operates with models and formulas and is interested in scientific solutions in perspective and prefers data over theory and method.
* Get all the facts to ensure thoroughness
* Method-oriented and Logic and sequence to achieve goals
* Mindful of the importance of structure and logic despite people's preference.
* Curiosity in searching for the best way to achieve the vision through ordering and quantifying data, applying deductive logic, planning and using proven methods and attending to details
* The inputs are simple ideas or basic propositions that break a complex phenomenon down into its basic components
* The operator is typically a set of mathematical operations that takes numerical scores on each of the components and combine them into a single final output that expresses the best choice for the problem at hand
* It places extreme emphasis on logical consistency
* It breaks down human problems or issues into separate parts
* It have the greatest challenge for it requires that they develop some new ways of thinking that allows for going beyond the information given
* Shares many difficulties and the fallacy that the definition of the problem itself is unproblematic
* Logic is regarded as the most basic of all disciplines – every discipline and subject matter has to presuppose the prior existence of logic or correct reasoning in order to reason correctly
* It have had success in the physical science and engineering, the same cannot be said for their application to the social sciences.
* It has formed the basic for education that most educated people in western societies have received
* Grounded in the understanding of problem as mess
* Helps to make sense of complex or confusing situations
* It acknowledges connections between things and the different perceptions, priorities and needs of the people involved in a situation.
* It focuses on different aspects of the situation in turn, but within a framework that develops your awareness of interconnections and the effects these generate
* It perceives and learn about situations
* It acknowledges the individual in relation to others
* It gives sustainability and the environment
* It includes three different paradigms of thinking: the technical, the organizational or societal and personal or individual perspective
* It is a conceptual framework and serves to make clearer the full patterns of the problems, issues and situations that confront us
* It helps us see how to change them effectively
* It encompasses a large body of methods, tools and principles, all oriented to understanding the interrelatedness of forces and seeing them as part of a common process
* The fundamental concepts are the interconnectedness and system as a whole
* It emerged as a way of trying to think about such complex problems
* It incorporate hard and soft engineering process
* It emphasizes that the real problem is the definition of the problem itself
* It is time-consuming
* It requires strenuous exercise before arriving at a given conclusion.
* Entails a new way of looking at the world, a shift in thinking which is hard for many people
* It eschews the traditional hierarchical ordering of the sciences and professions
* The conceptual cornerstone that underlies all of the other learning disciplines
* It is therefore the cornerstone by which learning organizations are able to think innovatively about their world
* System thinking (hard engineering) is often criticized for having a series of solutions that are simply looking for problems to solve and (soft engineering) emphasizes a process of enquiry into the real nature of the problem at hard
However, for the purposes of this task, we will streamline our illustration to the implementation of System thinking in the real life scenario using e-voting as our case study. We shall be looking into seven steps into implementation of System thinking in life situations:
* Exploring the problem situation within the real-world frame of thinking: It is to get some range of ideas possible and hopefully relevant choices for its manifestation. Electronic voting (e-voting) is considered a means to further enhance and strengthen the democratic processes in modern information societies. The vision behind e-voting is not one of a sudden switch over to a single technology rather the vision is one of a phased move to multi-channel voting system in which voters are offered a range of means by which to cast their vote and choose the mechanisms that most suits them: either attending the polling station, using interactive digital television, internet voting, using SMS facility on mobile telephone or fixed line telephone.
* Expressing the problem situation: It is the physical layout, hierarchy, deployment illustrating the problem, tasks, elements of the environment, identify relevant themes, and develop a shared understanding of different perspectives. Basically, introducing new technology like e-voting is a complex undertaking and has many environmental factors to battle with. These environmental influences could be partly social, political, organizational and legal and partly behavioural.
* Root definition of relevant systems in the problem situation: It is defining what is relevant to the system and who is either affected by it or could affect it. Constructively implementing the mnemonic CATWOE analysis. However, government policy often assumes that new technologies hold the solution to many social problems and the introduction of new technologies to the electoral process offers the opportunity to make the practice of voting more efficient and flexible, providing wider opportunity for reform. Consequently, it may be better for e-voting to take place across a range of platform: electronically and manually, thereby reducing the risk of total disruption of the election. This proposal also has the benefit of increasing voter choice in the way in which they vote. Those voters who are the most vulnerable within the home are also likely to be the most socially disadvantaged in general – women, dependent children, dependent elderly, disabled people and so on.
* The construction of a conceptual model: It shows an attempt to understand the activities needed to bring about change and to conceptually construct a system as earlier on said about multi-channel access for individual choice and preferences.
* Comparing the conceptual model(s) with the real world problem situation: It highlight the differences between the actual situation and perceived reality. It allows changes that could bring about an improvement in the problem situation. Testing the technology in real situations; experimenting with the prototype in order to find out political, organizational, administrative, legal constraint and possibilities to the concept. Also, the introduction of new technology in government and public services results into changing relations between citizens, politicians and government.
* Determining desirable and feasible changes: It involves identifying and exploring changes that is systemically desirable and culturally feasible; change in structure, in procedures and in attitudes. Obviously, implementation of e-voting is technological innovation from the traditional voting system into electronic voting process that requires systemic processes for amazing result.
* Making changes to improve the situation: This is the implementation stage. This stage seeks to solidify commitment and responsibility, to formulate an action plan. Basically, e-voting is technically implemented in such a way that ensures adequate user requirements. Providing multi-channel access to voting to make it much more convenient and accessible for many people. In this way, e-voting offers the opportunity to enhance democracy in the given society. Ensuring that voters are not restricted to one preferred method but can choose the method of voting that most suits their lifestyle and preferences.
2.0 CHAPTER TWO
The PESTEL framework and the key issues that the local government may face in implementing the new technologies.
Basically, there are many factors in the environment that will effect the local government decisions in implementing the new technology (e-voting system) or introducing of information technology into the voting process to facilitate reliability, efficiency and accountability. These factors can be political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors depending on the need and demand of the environment. However, information system field is not different to most other areas of production activities; which tries to uphold the demand and need of environment, portraying the fact that unless we truly know what we need we will be unable to provide it, no matter how sophisticated our development methods implored; we would simply be producing the wrong thing and it would not matter how well we produced it – it would be unless. This triggers us into asking the question, how do we know what we need? O'Brien (1975) contribution in this effect shows the constituents elements of information systems as ‘… any organized combination of people, hardware, software, communications networks and data resources that collects, transform and disseminates information in an organization'. The fact still remains that introducing new technology into the environment obviously requires to battle against militating environmental factors mentioned above. Thereby given the required information system implementation development coherent collection of concepts, beliefs, values and principles supported by resources to help it have well perceived and generated assess to changes.
Recently, there have been major initiatives to ‘modernize' the voting process across the world. For instance, after the problem of the Florida 2000 presidential race in the US, significant funds were released for new voting equipment. Voting however, is the fundamental action of democracy. By casting a vote we hold previous politicians to account and express our hopes for the future. It is incredibly important that everyone legible can vote without interference, safe in the knowledge that it will be counted. Philip .J. Windley in his article titled ‘E-voting' added that for democracy to work, citizen must believe that their vote has been counted correctly and that the system can and will fill and correct mistakes. Relatively, these three issues: privacy, security and accuracy happen to be the heart of the e-voting debate. Although, some questions surrounding e-voting hinge on software errors, hardware malfunctions and even malicious tampering are unavoidable and as a consequence, systems that use software for preparing ballots, managing elections and counting votes should be built to mitigate these errors and should include processes that create audit trails and cross-checks. It is not a gainsaying of the fact that, software has caused many problems with elections. In addition to this, Fred Brooks (1987) argued that modern software systems are characterized by the properties of complexity, conformity, changeability and invisibility. By using the PESTEL framework, we can analyze different factors in an environment that will effect the implementation or introduction of new technology. This framework is a tool that can help an organization or establishment making strategies by helping them understand the external environment in which they operate now and will operate in the future. It is not concerned with the organizational internal environment or its strength and weaknesses rather it is a strategic planning technique that provides a useful framework for analyzing the environmental pressures, building visions of the organizational future and helps taking action that is doomed to failure for reasons beyond organizational control and helps to break free of unconscious assumptions and helps to quickly adapt to the realities of the new environment. Consider the key issues that may affect the implementation of new technologies:
Political Factors: This is the first PESTEL structure for achieving a maximum result in any given environment; it refers to government policy such as the degree of intervention in the economy, political decision, global, national, regional, local and community trends changes or events. Obviously, the overall cost of running election is a miniscule part of government expenditure and is certainly worth it to ensure the free and fair election of a legitimate government. Through the long history of democracy, we have learnt that in the pursuit of power some groups are willing to threaten voters to make sure they vote ‘the right way'. But by the advent of e-voting, threats and intimidation becomes useless. Politically, votes are a vital expression of the people's power which needs to be secret and restricted to only one per citizen. Due to this factor and more the politicians and other actors has been keen to introduce new technologies and techniques into the voting process to solve the problem of alarming rate of fraudulent activity into the voting systems. Such fraudulent activities like linking voters with their votes, tampering with audit logs, creating, deleting and modifying votes, impersonating legitimate voting machine to tallying authority, causing votes to be miscounted by tampering with configuration, accessing administrative privileges or closing polling station, voting multiple times using forged smartcard, modifying system configuration etc. Meanwhile, the limitations of the current technology make it impossible to have a political system that is secure, reliable, private and verifiable. It's just the nature of database computer hard disks and so on that is easy to track what people are doing. Furthermore, all the systems currently being examined for use by government are from commercial vendors and they are unwilling to divulge the workings or detailed construction of their hardware and software. The result is that if authorities buy this commercial system, they will be forced to continue paying the suppliers for support, maintenance and replacement parts. In other words, monopoly is brought into existence.
Economic Factors: This can be viewed from the perspective of economic involvement in e-voting implementation. However, the evidence is very unclear about whether e-voting is in fact cheaper in the long run although the method can help multilingual situations by reducing printing costs but there are many security risks and translation costs attached, when approached or place side-by-side with traditional voting. E-voting is massively expensive and prone to fraud. Some believes that the logistical problems associated like large scale fraud is reduced by e-voting yet it is arguable. Judy E. Scott “The FoxMeyer Drugs' Bankruptcy: Was it a failure of ERP” enumerated a lot of economic disaster due to inadequate understanding of the external circumstances and not aligning organizational strategy into conformity with PESTEL analysis surrounding the implementation of ERP system. The organization (FoxMeyer Drugs) was $5 million Company and the nation's forth largest distributor of pharmaceuticals who has the goal of using technology to increase productivity and efficiency. According to Christopher Cole, the Chief Operating Officer at pinnacle, the FoxMeyer was ‘not a failure of automation. It was not a failure of commercial software per se. it was a management failure' (Jesitus, 1997) management had unrealistic expectations; they expect technology to be a ‘magic bullet'. Consequently FoxMeyer was driven to bankruptcy in 1996 and the trustee of FoxMeyer announced in 1998 that he is suing SAP, the ERP vendor as well as Anderson consulting, its SAP integrator for ($500 million) each (Caldwell 1998, Stein 1998). This implies that there are high risks involved adopting new technologies, especially in a unique situation that vendors cannot adequately test prior to actual use. Michael Donovan (1998) added in his contribution of economic waste of newly technology implementation that companies have spent fortunes on information system only to find that business performance has not improved and this has created a higher level of fear, lawsuits, controversy about making such big mistake. However, when system fails to deliver, it's usually because management has not taken the time to structure the organization to take advantage of these systems. The purpose of information technology is to support and enable the business processes to enhance the company's strategic opportunities. Besides, no amount of advanced information technology can offset the problem of a flawed business or organization strategy and poorly performing business processes. Focus should be on business strategy and not just software selection and implementation. It is information technology understanding and skills that support the technology that improves business or organizational processes. To avoid the growing rate of economic waste in newly technology implementation, companies, establishment and organization should not be so preoccupied with other seemingly more important activities that information system is delegated to the IT department, the idea that this is strictly a technological project because software is involved is wrong and in fact is one of the leading causes of system failures causing massive economic waste.
Social / Environmental Factors: The development and introduction of new voting technologies generally is lacking serious evaluation. The role of a certain technology will be determined by the social and environmental context into which it is introduced. Technology is socially shaped or constructed by its user. The design of the technology should be a democratic process. The context of technology can have an impact on issues such as social identity, trust and digital division.
Social identity: The main difference between e-voting compared to standard voting is that it can be done in the privacy and security of one's own home rather than in the polling station in the community. One important implication of e-voting is that when one votes at home, isolated behind the computer terminal, a more individual level of identity are likely to become salient compared to when one votes in the community hall, surrounded by other people from different groups and backgrounds. Different voting contexts can influence behavioural relating to these identities and interest for strategic reasons,; being confronted with different groups of people at the polling station may make one feel more accountable to these audiences (e.g ethnic minorities, the poor) than when at home on one's own, or surrounded by one's family. This is particularly likely to affect voting behaviour when this is identifiable to audience that might disapprove. Examples of a high accountability context are votes that are conducted in public rather than by private ballot. Although e-voting may seem private, one of the concerns associated with this technology is whether it is indeed secure or open to ‘surveillance' by those administering the system. A factor that may cause E-voting to influence voting preference is the degree of social interaction and discussion around political topics prior to voting. Voting from the home increases the likelihood that choices will be discussed within a limited and homogenous group context, whereas voting in the community may open the voter up to disparate social influence from others.
Digital division: E-voting would affect the turnout of different demographic groups, defined by race, education, gender, age, partly affiliation or geographic location. Demographic groups with less familiarity with computers might find some types of electronic voting to be more difficult and intimidating. After all, voting from home or work is only possible if one has a computer and an internet connection. Besides having access to a computer and internet, one also needs to know how to work this technology. While internet access has been increasing for all groups, there are still significant gaps based on income, education race, ethnicity and age. Statistics on internet use and all sorts of research raise the concerns that internet voting will only increase access for a limited population group. There is a growing concern about the disparity of access for certain population groups. The internet, laptop computers, mobile phone networks and broadband links were supposed to help overcome the division between rich and poor and town and country. The social effects of technology has found that Some sectors of society are in danger of being entirely cut off from the benefits of technologies that keep people in touch. Making information easy to get at everywhere is not helping those in rural areas. Instead the study found that the biggest users of tele-working and mobile technologies are companies and individuals found in towns, cities and suburbs. While many companies are reaping the benefits of new technologies, other sectors of society are getting left out. (BBC News, 4 March 2002) also socio-economic factors particularly income, influence decisions on whether or not to vote. The study found that the high cost of going online lay at the root of the needed, with the poorest sections of society saying they simply could not afford the technology needed or the phone bills that going on the web could generate. The survey for the department for education showed that youngsters between 25 and 34 were the most voracious consumers of net technologies. The young are significant more likely to use the internet than the elderly. Internet voting is not considered by young people to be substantial reform within the political system and therefore will only marginally modify their behaviour. Many of those who do not use the internet regularly say the cost of buying a computer and paying high phone charges are the deterring factors. Besides, individuals with higher income, education and occupational status are significantly more likely to vote. Unequal access to technology, internet voting may expand turnout rates among those who are already predisposed to vote in elections.
Technological Factors: This refers to advent of new technologies which create new products and processes. Technology however can reduce costs, improve quality and lead to innovation. In addition, J.W Bryans et al added that e-voting has both potential advantages and risks. These systems can make the casting of vote more convenient and may therefore lead to improved turnout. Electronic recording and counting of votes could be faster, more accurate and less labour intensive. The main requirement of an election system depends on two categories: accuracy and ballot secrecy. He also added that ‘a complete guarantee that the result of an election reflects in all respects the voting intentions of the electorate, this seems an unrealistic goal in practice' illustrating the undermined societal fear, doubts about electoral process.
That not withstanding, electronic voting has spread through the US and the world without sufficient attention to reliability, security or transparency. It is obvious that applying technology to solve one problem may introduce other problems. E-voting systems were introduced to eliminate paper and fraudulent activities. The beauty of electronic system is that it will be scientific, quiet and reliable – massively reducing the need for scrutiny. We all know how hard fixing technology can be - in fact identifying the problem can be a challenging in itself – thus not only the chances for disrupting election also robbing citizens of their democratic right. Nevertheless, authorities take elections seriously and they have plans in place for all eventualities so that even if technology goes wrong alternatives will be in place to allow voting to continue. Consequent of the Florida 2000 presidential election, the inadequacies of widely used punch card voting systems have become well understood by the general population generally speaking, completely eliminating paper ballots from the voting process. The most fundamental problem with such a voting system is that the entire election hinges on the correctness, robustness and security of the software within the voting terminal should that code have security-relevant flaws, they might be exploitable either by unscrupulous voters or by malicious insiders. Such insiders include election officials, the developers of the voting system and the developers of the embedded operating system on which the voting system runs. The designs of a ‘good' voting systems, whether electronic or using traditional paper ballot or mechanical devices must satisfy a number of certain competing criteria.
Consequently, there are three primary methods proposed for making sure voters really are who they claimed to be: passwords or pin codes, access smartcards and biometrics. However, how do you get smartcards to every single voter and make sure the right card goes to the right person? The problem with biometrics is how do we populate a database with all the finger prints or retina scan etc and accurately associate them with the right personal information such as address and voting ward to fight fraudulent activities in electoral process. Security is about risk management, besides nothing can ever be made 100% secure but the current state of technology means that the cost involved in achieving an acceptable level of risks would be massive.
Legal Factors: The legal constraint on the implementation of remote electronic voting and make recommendations on how electoral law might be reformed to accommodate implementation which revolves around the following requirements for electronic voting media:
* Secure (accurate; only legitimate voters participate – only once; protected against fraud and mistakes)
* Protect privacy (the voter should remain anonymously)
* Enable accountability (it should be possible to proof that the outcomes are correct; process is transparent; results have to be repeatable - recounting)
* Economic (cheaper voting and polling than currently with paper based media including postal voting)
Public confidence in the manner in which ballots are counted is fundamental to the legitimacy of the electoral process. E-voting is likely to lead to changes in how the public maintains confidence in the integrity of elections. With electronic voting systems, public confidence in the elections relies on trust in technical experts instead of a transparent process. Trust in an e-voting system means having confidence in the machinery and infrastructure, rather than simply in the physical and administrative processes. Consequently, there are many ways to make e-voting more secure. Mechanisms that form the structure of security are: personal identification number (PIN) or password, encryption, digital signature, smart cards, biometrics identifiers (like fingerprints), or casting more than one vote where only the last one counts. The electoral laws still supersedes and bind the proceedings of electoral process.
Moreover, the issue of Data Protection Act should be appraised to protect individual personal data, information and details that were required during voting process.
3.0 CHAPTER THREE
The consequence analysis tool and the likely impact of IT/IS on the local government; the internal resources / competencies and capabilities of the local governments.
We are at the beginning of the information age revolution, which is changing societies all over the world. It changes the manufacturing and service industries. It changes the way companies do business. It changes the way people communicate and access information. It is also changing government itself: organization of government, its relationship with its citizens and the international co-operation between governments. The new technology helps strengthen representative democracy via the use of internet. An electoral voting system is more complex than other electoral transaction systems and the authentication mechanisms employed must be able to prevent ballot rigging or the treat of rigging. This may include the use of smart cards that allow a voter's identity to be verified whilst at the same time ensuring the privacy of the vote cast. The impacts of information technology are generally positive, especially regarding the enhancement of capabilities such as efficiency, effectiveness, and information quality. The impacts are more mixed on patterns of individual and group interactions and on orientations towards decision and action. The most negative effects are the impacts on values, such as privacy, legal security and job enhancement.
As technology evolves and people's experience and confidence about it usage develops. Although many individuals still expressed concerns over the security and privacy of e-voting and felt that substantial reassurance would need to be offered by the government prior to implementation. Establishing and maintaining public confidence in the security and privacy of the electoral systems appears too fundamental in achieving legitimacy for e-voting. However, the expansion of new information and communication technologies into every sphere of people's lives offers the opportunity to progressively overhaul electoral processes and to realize the benefits that new technologies can offer this component of democracy.. Modernization of the electoral process provide the opportunity to make voting practices more robust and flexible, reducing still further the opportunities for electoral fraud while at the same time, improving the ease with which elections can be implemented. The multi-channel access possibilities of e-voting as amazing impact of technology into electoral process and they include:
* The use of fixed line telephone from their homes to cast their vote
* The use of mobile phones to cast a ballot from any location that they feel like. SMS text voting using the short message service (SMS) facility on mobile telephones to cast a ballot
* The use of internet to cast vote from anywhere in the world for people working away from home or on holidays abroad
* Using interactive digital television (iDTV) facilities to cast their ballots via their televisions.
* Using the current system of postal voting
* Using the traditional activity of attending a polling station and casting their vote in person.
Other features around the election may also change
Instead of polling card, voters might receive PIN numbers or other forms of electronic authentication for use in e-voting. This method was necessitated due to alarming rate of fraudulent activities in election. It considers how crime and corruption in the electoral process can be minimized through the use of computerized voting procedures because each of these procedures creates risks of fraud, abuse and mistake and some of the alleged problems include multiple voting, voting in the names of deceased or absent individual, abuse of the postal voting system, and tampering with ballot papers – either by changing the marks on ballot papers, substituting fraudulent papers for legitimate ones, destroying papers, or adding additional papers to ballot boxes. However, below are the conditions for rating free and fair electoral process as some of the benefits of information technology and its limitations:
Timeliness: Computers were introduced into election specifically to enable data to be recorded and processed quickly and accurately. Accordingly, they have the capacity to record, analyze and report the outcome of an election involving many millions of votes in a matter of minutes.
Accessibility: A central practical difficulty, however, exists by reason of the need to provide every voter with access to a computer terminal and for voters to be trained in making use of the relevant technologies. If electronic voting completely replaced paper voting, the financial savings made by the government and politicians could be redirected to the establishment of voting terminals in remote locations in order to facilitate access, as well as to public education programs to offer assistance to those unfamiliar with computers.
Secrecy and Deliberation: However, voting using the internet at home could be carried out privately and allow for greater deliberation than occurs currently at some public polling stations, discourage selling of vote for financial reward. Voting in such circumstances could also under emphasis the importance of activity.
Accuracy and Security: By attending at a polling station in a public place, the risks of intimidation are reduced – although historical examples do exist of electors being compelled to vote in a particular way under threat of physical violence. If voting were conducted at home or at some other private location, the risks of intimidation could be exacerbated and one could even imagine voters being compelled to enter a password or present a finger for scanning under duress in order for their vote to be manipulated.
Authentication: The starting point in achieving authentication of voters is the accurate registration of individuals through the submission of evidence of identification. The case of electoral process lies at the heart of an efficient voting system. Identification of voters must take place at the time they cast their votes. However, parliaments now require members to use a smartcard to identify themselves before casting vote (House of representatives, 1994) the use of a personal identification number (PIN) or biometrics authentication system may prevent abuses of this nature from taking place, although for national elections the secure delivery of a PIN to electors presents expensive logistical problems similar to those that credit card issuers face when transmitting PINs to customers (Green 2000) The risks of abuse arise with each of these approaches, although together they provide for reasonable security.
Verifiability: One of the main concerns with electronic voting is the possibility that data may be manipulated once a vote has been registered. To achieve this outcome it will be necessary to avoid any infrastructure weaknesses, while at the same time ensuring that security protocols are adhered to. Also those who have expertise in electoral fraud need to work closely with the designers of electronic voting to ensure that the problems that have arisen and have been solved in the past do not remerge in the future and that any new risks are kept to a minimum.
The individual vote is all assets to be protected and the voter must be authorized and authenticated. Although, the introduction of e-voting systems raises the potential of moving from localized fraud and voting error to widespread fraud and voting error. These are some of the environmental factors that the new technology has to battle against in that introducing new technology is always a complex undertaking and has many different aspects. These aspects are partly social, political, organizational and legal and partly behavioural. Also, the introduction of new technology in government and public services resulted into changing relations between citizens, politicians and government. These e-voting experiments are taking place within the context of the government's commitment to e-enable all public services. Elections are not a public service but a democratic right, their inclusion within this target is important because it reflects the government's commitment to modernize democracy alongside public services.
Richard Allen MP at a workshop organized by the research team in December 2001, argued that: ‘for a democracy to command respect it must operate in the same way as people do everything else in their lives' increasingly, people use electronic means for conducting their lives, from telephone and internet banking to online shopping. Even when individuals do not make use of such facilities themselves, they are likely to come across electronic transactions as a part of every day life. Government policy assumes that new technologies hold the solution to many social problems. Therefore, the introduction of new technologies to the electoral process offers the opportunity to make the practice of voting more efficient and flexible, providing wider opportunity for reform. The e-voting system needs to avoid being vulnerable to single points of failure. It creates the opportunity to improve upon existing security arrangements and to reduce the risks of impersonating and other forms of electoral fraud. Besides, not all security risks can be guarded against. The most common security problems as a result of advent of technology are:
* Hacking: The internet is particularly vulnerable to hackers who may hack into a system to corrupt or alter votes or may add or remove votes from the system.
* Viruses and malware: Electronic systems are also vulnerable to planted disruptions. This is particularly true of all computerized voting systems where viruses may lie dormant until triggered by a particular event or date.
* Denial of service attacks: Elections are particularly time critical, denying access to a service for a particular period of time, therefore, might disenfranchise a large number of voters.
* System failure: This may occur either where a critical component of a system fails or where a system becomes overloaded.
The problem is not only making election secure, it is also convincing citizens that the system is secure because the main benefits of e-voting are in the flexibility that it may offer in terms of convenience and choice. The risk analysis of potential systems should not only concentrate upon the technical features of the system but should also address issues of public satisfaction and confidence. Citizens may become disenchanted with e-voting if they have problem in using the system, thereby adding to public apathy or indifference to elections. The public should be left in no doubt that e-voting is secure and free from abuse by third parties.
Besides, electronic voting has received much attention partly due to the electoral fiasco of the state of Florida during the US presidential election in November 2000. Such situation shakes the public confidence in democratic processes. As a consequence of this, funding initiatives have been set up by many governments worldwide, either to upgrade election equipment or to experiment with new voting methods. Electronic voting has the potential to not only modernize electoral processes but also to improve the interaction between citizens and their governments through e-participation platform based on information and communication technology. Below is the list of potential advantage of e-voting over traditional paper centered voting system as an improved on information technology:
* Increases the speed and accuracy of ballot tabulation
* Saves materials required for printing and distribution ballots
* Offer better accessibility for people with disabilities
* Offers a flexible ballot design that can be modified at the last minutes
* Provides multiple language support for the ballots
* Permit the access to more information regarding voting options.
* Prevents unintentional mistakes by voters (both in over voting and under voting)
There are many approaches to consequence analysis of which the grid showed below is just one example. However, the relationship of action to consequence and probability is something we are used to dealing with every day of our lives. Considering the internal and external process of the various departments involved in implementing the e-voting system into our electoral voting system, we should understand the different risk they are expose to as they painstakingly involve different technological strategies to overcome the internal and external consequences inherent with such task. Consider the diagram of analysis of ‘effect/probability/action grids' of e-voting system:
The issue is not the choice of analysis approach; rather it is the necessity for the analysis to be performed at an early enough stage (see the Rich Picture, CATWOE Analysis below showing different stages involve in having a realistic multi-channel voting system) to prevent negative consequences in the operational stages of implementation, abuse and failure as exemplified above; because once the potential consequences have been identified, their management becomes feasible. If they are not identified, managing them is impossible thereby giving much vacuum for too many risks.
4.0 CHAPTER FOUR
An overview of key issues that are directly linked to systems development and how the external and internal environment of the local government influences systems development; the initial stages of SSM (feasibility, analysis and design aspects).
An understanding of Soft System Methodology, Rich picture, and CATWOE Analysis will be evident in approaching this task work. However, SSM was initially developed over a number of years in the 1970s and 80s by Professor Peter Checkland and his colleagues at Lancaster University. To this effect, Peter Checkland applied the kind of rigorous analytical thinking that had characterized system engineering to these softer problems, and the result of this wish gave rise to the development of Soft System Methodology (SSM). SSM uses the concept of the system as a means of enquiry into the nature of any complex real-world situation of concern. Such a situation could be almost anything from the concern with applying or implementing e-voting system to our voting system to help solve the fraudulent electoral practices and manipulation associated with voting or the impact of new information technology to the local government system. SSM is used to identify a number of relevant systems of purposeful activity, action needed to improve the situation of concern and the results of such action then impacts upon the real-world situation of concern in order to improve it in some desirable fashion. Obviously, all of these activities continue in a never-ending cycle of enquiry, enhanced understanding and action, similar to the Kolb learning cycle. However, the basic shape of SSM was developed over a period of time into the now famous seven stage model that is the best known representation of the methodology as a whole.
However, Soft System Methodology (SSM) as seen above is a systems approach used for analysis and problem solving in any complex and messy situations and uses ‘system thinking' in a cycle of action research, learning and reflection to help understand the various perceptions that exist in the minds of different people involved in the situation; (see the Rich Picture below) especially those situations that are challenging to understand and difficult to act upon. This approach applicable to many domains, such as: change management, planning for health and medical systems, information systems planning, human resource management, analysis of logistics systems, and expert systems development. However, when applied to complex and messy real world problem, SSM enables the user to structure an argument in which multiple and different conflicting objectives, needs, purposes, interest, and values can be teased out and discussed. Obviously, study can commence at any stage (Checkland, 1999, pp. 162-183).
Moreover, in developing a rich picture and the objective is to learn about the structure, processes, perceptions and beliefs associated with the case study situation (multi-channel voting system). Obviously, a rich picture is a creative skill and portrays all the key players or participants involved in the process and present a structured view by putting into context the factors affecting the process of the case study (e-voting system). The idea of rich picture gives understanding and focus into the following areas and stages:
* Getting details of and selecting the prospective projects,
* Developing and maintaining required knowledge
* Developing and understanding the processes,
* Setting the criteria needed to assess the feasibility of making a bid and,
* Monitoring and controlling the concepts and estimate details.
Let's consider the diagram of rich picture below portraying different participant involves in the process and militating factors internal and external affecting the entire process of multi-channel voting system:
Furthermore, the overall approach of SSM is to show a number of interrelated parts that together provide a holistic way of looking at complex messy problem situations. Once the pictorial representation of the whole as seen above is presented, we then seek to express the problem situation through the approach known as CATWOE (Customer, Actors Transformation, Weltanschauung, Owners and Environment). These elements are helpful to construct a root definition of the particular systemic human purposeful activity that we are seeking to adopt involving all necessary criteria in place. Besides, the starting point for the analysis of any problem situation is the construction of a rich picture and there is no singly agreed notation or format for it approach. The aim therefore is not to produce a correct rich picture but to establish a shared understanding of the problem at hand with all the participants or stakeholders in the analysis process. The process of developing the picture has equal value to the picture itself. The rich picture should be continually added to as people think of more and more aspects of the problem situation.
In conclusion, so far we have strive to establish the fact that we derive necessary knowledge, information concerning something, research, investigation, examination by means of enquiry.
All in all, e-voting is considered a means to further enhance and strengthens the democratic process in modern information societies. Its ultimate vision is not one of a sudden switch over to a single technology rather it is one of a phased move to multi-channel voting system in which voters are offered a range of means by which to cast their vote and choose the mechanism most suitable for their lifestyle and preferences. Obviously, introducing new technology like e-voting per se is a complex undertaking and has many internal and external factors to battle with and these factors could be political, social, organizational, legal or behavioural. I personally suggest that voting should be conducted across a range of platform both electronically and manually thereby reducing the risk of total disruption of the election because the proposal has a benefit of increasing voters' choice and interest in the way in which they vote. Anyway, many individual still express concern over the security and privacy of e-voting and felt that substantial reassurance would need to be offered by government following the fact that nothing absolutely can be 100% secure; besides, security is about risk management.
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