Hacking Online Polls

To: Carl Clifford <>, Russell Woodford <>
Subject: Hacking Online Polls
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 23:05:46 +1100
If someone did do some automated voting, how come the percentages barely 
changed?  All I can think of is that a No voter was doing it, and a Yes voter 
was doing a bit in return to even it back up every few hours.

The Oaks Day debacle was when the overhead wires on the train line to 
Flemington Racecourse came down last Oaks Day, leaving 1000s of spectators to 
either walk or fight over taxis.  When you consider how many of them would be 
half drunk and wearing high heels, it was pretty amusing for the rest of us.

Peter Shute

From:   On 
Behalf Of Carl Clifford 
Sent: Saturday, 28 February 2009 10:31 PM
To: Russell Woodford
Cc: Birding-Aus Aus
Subject: Hacking Online Polls


You are correct, I was not advocating hacking, I was giving examples
of how easy it is to hack on line polls such as the Age's, though I
must admit that the temptation to hack the yes vote by several million
votes was tempting, so as to make the yes vote look rather dodgy. I
believe the Age poll on duck shooting had closed before I posted the
hack links, or it certainly seemed to have been when I checked it on
it yesterday. The only poll open then was about something called "Oaks
Day Debacle" Is that some tree planting thing that went wrong?

Actually, going by some of the posts on B-A, I must be one of the few
on the list to have only voted once.


Carl Clifford

On 28/02/2009, at 8:36 PM, Russell Woodford wrote:

I don't think Carl or anyone else was suggesting that anyone should
hack the duck hunting poll on The Age website!  What we're saying is
that online polls are fraught with problems - even those that are
scripted to disallow a second vote from the same computer can be
hacked by anyone with scripting knowledge. One way of making these
polls a little more verifiable is requiring every voter to leave a
name and comment - at least that makes it difficult to generate
multiple votes from one source, though not impossible.

I maintain my original belief that the poll result was hacked to give
a high pro-hunting vote. But the hunting lobby could just as easily
claim that the 40% of anti-hunting votes were hacked and that there is
a far smaller voice against duck hunting. Who knows?

Russell Woodford

Birding-Aus List Owner

Geelong   Victoria   Australia


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