Republic of Theredonia
October 2020 is the Cybersecurity month, every Thursday we are releasing one of the winners of our Political Fiction Story contest that was part of the ELF Cybersecurity, blockchain and big data online event in May 2020.
It was a day like many others in the Republic of Theredonia when Simon woke up that morning. As he does every morning, he went for a run. The sun was shining and as he was running he saw all the posters and placards that had popped up around the neighborhood in the past few weeks. On light poles, on trees, in gardens, they were everywhere. Blue, green, red, yellow, orange, pink… each had a dominant color. On each of them you could see the picture of a seriously dressed person whose facial expressions was more or less friendly accompanied by its name and a slogan or catchphrase. These were campaign posters for the elections. Simon had grown accustomed to them and barely paid attention to them anymore.
Back home, after having had a shower and dressing up, Simon turned on the radio while fixing himself some breakfast. He was absentmindedly listening to the news when it hit him: the elections were today. In fact he hadn’t given much thought to them. He had his political preferences but he had stopped voting a few years ago. He simply didn’t really trust the system anymore. The politicians reneging on their promises or erasing them from memory all together, the hacking of the results… it had been too much for him.
He remembered the disastrous events of 10 years prior and how despite widespread issues with the electronic voting system and numerous inquiries showing the whole system had been hacked (though who was behind it could never be identified), the elections were not annulled and politics continue as usual. There had been massive protests but to no avail, the elected government didn’t care. He had not voted since then.
But this time, things were different. After many efforts and years of activism, NGOs, supported by a new generation of public leaders, had succeeded in getting the government to take the issue seriously and invest in cybersecurity and technology to make the election and the political system as a whole ready for the future. To restore trust in them, it had been decided to use the blockchain not only to run the elections but also to record all the electoral manifesto with the blockchain and to combine both with smart contracts to automatically implement policies according to the results of the elections.
Considering how much things had changed, Simon decided to vote again. Maybe his voice would matter this time. He didn’t understand much about blockchain or any of the technology used but he nevertheless took his phone out of his pocket and followed the instructions he had received a few days earlier to cast his vote.
That evening as he was awaiting the results in front of his computer, Simon was feeling hopeful that this was the start of a new political era. One in which citizens would be empowered and transparency and accountability prevail. Maybe it would be. But he could not help but wonder if all this technology would really solve anything or if it would just create new problems.
by Benjamin Fievet, IMS