Citi Vice President and Tech Guy from QQ Solutions Post a Bit Too Much on Social Media?

It’s a daily occurrence in social media for people to post, criticize, threaten and conspire.  The sweeping epidemic of negativity still surprises me, even though it shouldn’t and I wonder what motivates people to do it.   Does anyone think about how leaving a permanent legacy of their name, photo and venom for everyone to see will affect their reputation? Last week I was involved in a dispute with a dog rescue in North Carolina. The rescue posted her version of events of course twisting details to garner sympathy.  She then blocked me from posting remarks.  As you can predict, I was barraged with a ton of hater posts.

Looking through a few of them, I was interested some of the more threatening posts. Who were these people who spewed hatred and their willingness to come after me?   Usually the most damning posts come from Trolls, people with fake identities and live for the moment to damn others but not all.  People who didn’t know me, would never meet me and I would never meet them swarming like locusts wanting to cause damage. A couple of guys post caught my eye.  They were conspiring about different ways they could come after me. One suggested legal action initially, then the second started talking about “other ways” to bring me down. They debated a forced take down of my website, threats to my hosting provider, then other ways to take me down nudge, nudge, wink, wink. And one of them said they could help because of the work they do. They reminded me of two  gorillas pounding their chests to assert their position as kings of the jungle.

I wondered who they were and clicked on their profiles.  And what did I find? A Vice President of Citi Bank and a tech guy with insurance software provider QQ Solutions.

Ken Cronin’s FB profile tells me he works for Citi and his LinkedIn Profile lists his title as Vice President, Learning Technology and Architecture. I do a double take. What the heck is this guy doing getting involved and posting where he should not be?  Most financial institutions have really strict social media policies and employee codes of conduct.  In a nutshell they say that regardless of whether an employee is on company time or personal time they always represent the corporation. And nowhere is that more prevalent than with members of senior management.  So here we have a Citi Vice President conspiring with another guy to try and force the take down of my website and implying that there are other ways to get at me.  He is also taking a technology degree at present which may be funded by the bank. So is he using that bank funded education to hack or shame me?  Interesting question on where the ethical boundaries lie in this situation. As I scrolled down the public portion of his Facebook page,  I came across this post of his.

Now I see where Ken Cronin gets it….an inability to keep his comments to himself despite of where he works.   There have been other bad taste social media posts that have cost people their jobs.  The infamous Justine Sacco who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white!  The PR firm Justine worked for fired her before she landed in Johannesburg.

Earlier this year stockbroker Rayhan Qadar was fired from the firm Hargreaves Lansdown who stated they found his comment unacceptable. Qadar tweeted  ‘Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off lol’ Qadar was joking but his superiors didn’t find it funny at all.

Austin Rodden is much lower hanging fruit on his corporate family tree.   The company he works for provides software for the insurance industry…hmmm a big portion of my clientele as well.  What would they think about an employee of QQ Solutions thinking of taking tech revenge against a party they don’t know?  In most cases it should raise the hackles of any client.  If this is something he might do to a person he doesn’t know, how do we know a guy like him wouldn’t try to cause a client harm if his mood struck him that way?

When are we going to find our filters on social media? To think before we post, to mind our own business…or is that just not the nature of the beast? In so many ways it is great to that everybody has a voice. It serves to break down barriers, conquer geography and create communities.  And then there is the sheer idiocy of the endless hatred and rants that never seem to end.  As a friend of mine says “The Internet is like a woman, she never forgets and she never forgives”.

Tips:

Think before you post: you may think you are clever but your company might not.

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Oscar Pistorius: What his words reveal – Part III

In Part I and II, we looked at the statement given by Oscar Pistorius at his bail hearing.  We examined his language describing the beginning of events on February 14, 2013.  The way a subject describes events assists the interviewer in formulating questions to establish truthful, deceptive and sensitive parts of the statement.  We cannot judge a person’s words by our own sense of logic, we must adapt to that of the subject. Let’s continue with another portion of his story.

I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding.

He already told us that he “told Reeva to call the police, why is he asking her to do it again? He doesn’t know if Reeva already called them.  He continues to say that “Reeva did not respond”. He didn’t tell us the first time he mentioned it that Reeva didn’t respond then.

We also have Pistorius tell us that he “fired shots” at the toilet door. So, the intruders know he has a gun but he is too scared to turn on a light still.  He also mentions being scared and we discussed in a previous post that emotions at the peak of the story are associated with deceptive statements.

When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.

 

This is an interesting paragraph. He “reached the bed” in a room where he was still too scared to turn on the light.    He then goes on to state that it “dawned on him” that Reeva could be in the bathroom.  This is a very nonchalant way to realize you might have shot your own girlfriend. The other thing to take into consideration is why Reeva may have locked the bathroom door.  Is it because she was afraid of Pistorius and trying to get away from him?

Remember Pistorius telling us previously he had limited mobility on his stumps?  Now he is telling us he rushed back to the bedroom, opened the balcony door and screamed for help. He had told Reeva to call the police…why did he scream on the balcony?

I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must then have turned on the lights. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door.

This is also very interesting.  He does a fair amount of running back and forth in this segment.  He also tells us he “thinks” he turned on the light at this point.  People would remember if they did something in the dark or in the light.  It would have made running back and forth easier if he could see.  These become classic examples in statements where a person is making up the sequence of events.

In the interview it is also important to ask him about the sequence of events when he says that some panels broke off on the door and that he found the key on the floor. Where exactly was that key?

 Reeva was slumped over but alive. I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone the ambulance. I phoned Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door. I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down Stander arrived. A doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms.

Let’s look closely at what Pistorius is telling us happened here. Remember how he kept telling Reeva to call police? He tells us he “battled” (what does that mean?) to get Reeva out of the toilet. Then all of a sudden he calls Johan Stander to call the ambulance.  Why didn’t he just call the ambulance himself? Then he has time to make another call to Netcare. He says that he “tried” to render assistance.   Why did he use the word tried? Either he did or he didn’t render assistance.  Which is it?

It would be interesting to note what height the bullet holes were.  Pistorius said that he fired the shots before he put his prosthetic legs on.  One of the things to do is look at the height of the bullet holes to see if that part of what he claims is true.

The verdict given by Judge Masipa was that Pistorius was not guilty of premeditated murder but that of culpable homicide.  The sentencing trial of Oscar Pistorius continued today.

For more information and training please go to http://www.interveritas.com

The SCAN technique (Scientific Content Analysis) is a methodology used to examine truthful and deceptive points in language.  The technique uses a consistent formula in the analysis of linguistic patterns in individuals.  Therefore, regardless of the subject’s education, profession or cultural background, the same consistent measures are used to measure the subjects’ words.  SCAN is used in the analysis of statements written by the subject, interview transcripts, and oral interviews

CJ Adams: Missing and Found – What now?

CJ Adams is a friend of mine. She went missing from Boise, Idaho after a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. On Thursday, her mother posted on FB that she was gone and asked her to come home. She was found on Saturday morning in Clara, Mississippi.

The most crucial time in locating a missing person is the first 48 hours. But in this case just like so many others, the police told family that they couldn’t issue a missing person’s report until those 48 hours had passed.

CJ had been on medical treatment, left home without clothes, without her medication and without her service dog Harry. Already those realities gave all the signs that things were not normal.  In the first 24 hours gone, she had also used her debit card twice to purchase gas in Wyoming. Was CJ on the road alone or did someone get her card and her vehicle? Questions nobody could answer at that point.

The police in Boise told her family that they had to wait 48 hours before issuing the missing persons report.  They also stated there was no criminal activity so no need to rush. I’d really like to know who surmised that conclusion? I have worked on a few missing persons cases in my time and grand statements like this irk me.  There was no evidence to suggest anything to the contrary either. The police also told her husband to cancel her debit card to entice her to contact home. When I heard that my heart sank. That debit card was a lifeline and the only thing we had that could inform us in real time where it was being used and where she might be headed.   Too many people think we live in a world of real time CSI and that pinging her phone would just miraculously tell everyone where she was.  Well policing doesn’t work like that. Boise police would have to go to her cell phone provider and get a warrant to access her information and whereabouts.

At that point five of us decided to do what we could to help find CJ. Naomi, Jude, Trudi, Lisa and I started our campaign. We posted notices on Facebook, talked to her mom, asked friends in Boise to go over to the house, posted on twitter, contacted trucker organizations and put up a help find link on my website. We tried to predict a couple of driving routes and contacted police departments along those routes, emailed media and spread the word whatever way we could. Within hours there were so many others offering support and resources.

For the most part media wasn’t that interested in the story at that time. The Idaho Statesman sent us an email where they said the police downplayed the disappearance and said there was no criminal activity  so this disappearance was being treated like many others…”a dime a dozen”.  The Statesman’s business reporter interviewed her husband and wrote what I perceive to be a scathing piece…of course with much taken out of context.   His report of her being found was even more defamatory.  Six years ago, CJ suffered severe head trauma in a white water rafting accident.

I’m writing this now as I watched a few media outlets report on CJ winding up in Clara Mississippi with a ton of misinformation. What you don’t know is since she was found CJ has spent the past few days in a no name hospital in Mississippi where the nurses have not even given her the courtesy of a shower.  Her family is on their way to get her and a friend of ours went to visit her.

I also need to stop and think how devastating this could be to any family in the United States. The astronomical medical bills, a stay in a hospital that might not be covered by  insurance and the unknown medical reason that would cause this type of amnesia. The irreparable harm caused by a rookie journalist who cared more about sensation than good reporting labelled it a mental breakdown. It’s now time to stand up and help.

I want to acknowledge two unknown truckers that helped CJ in her journey. They gave her a safe place to sleep for the night and the next day they nestled her truck in between theirs and guided her to Mississippi. She remembers your help and is grateful.

To our group of five who embraced this journey of finding CJ and all of the others who helped out, I salute you.  Without the dedication and persistence of people working to help CJ and praying for her safety, who knows what could have happened. I am proud to know you all and am thrilled you are my friends. Thank you Naomi, Lisa, Jude and Trudi.

~Nejolla~

PS Where would we be without our dachshunds?

 

Oscar Pistorius: What His Words Reveal – Part II

In Part I, we looked at the statement given by Oscar Pistorius at his bail hearing.  We examined his language describing the beginning of events on February 14, 2013.  The way a subject describes events assists the interviewer in formulating questions to establish truthful, deceptive and sensitive parts of the statement.  We cannot judge a person’s words by our own sense of logic, we must adapt to that of the subject. Let’s continue with another portion of his story.

During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom. I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladders outside. Although I did not have my prosthetic legs on I have mobility on my stumps. I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on.

Let’s first examine the emotions Pistorius claims to have by looking at how we react in situations. Which is the most realistic scenario?

Scenario I

A car has gone through a red light and is coming straight at you.  You swerve, you concentrate on averting an accident. 10 blocks later you start to shake realizing how close you had come to being hit.

Scenario II  

A car has gone through a red light and is coming straight at you. You stop and say to yourself. “I’m so scared”, then you swerve to avert a collision.

The events in scenario I are more realistic.  Adrenaline and survival instincts kick in and people concentrate on that rather than thinking about what their emotions are at the time. Pistorius said “I felt a sense of terror washing over me.” Emotions in a truthful statement do not occur at the peak of the story, they occur after the incident.  The incident itself is so overwhelming that the subject immediately goes into survival mode.  When a deceptive subject inserts emotions at the peak of the incident  it is an indicator that they are deceptive and are bolstering their story.

Then he states “I was too scared to turn the light on”. This also occurs at the peak of the incident and unreliable. What is even more interesting to observe is that darkness usually adds to the stress of the incident & most people would turn the light on.

Pistorius also interrupts the flow of the story to announce his prosthetics were off. People will interrupt the flow of their statement prop up their story with unnecessary information. Whether his prosthetics were on or off at this time is immaterial to the events occurring in his statement at this very time.

On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed.

The words ” on my way” indicate more of a casual movement rather than the sense of urgency where he had stated he “felt a sense of terror” earlier. He also goes on to talk about the dark again. He also says “words to the effect” which means that he is not citing what he actually said he is rephrasing.

He then continues that it was dark & he thought Reeva was in bed. What he is doing is using the darkness and linking to the earlier words “I was too scared to turn on the light” to justify why he didn’t know where Reeva was.

Also, if he was on the balcony closing things up and heard something in the bathroom why didn’t he check first if Reeva was in there?  Automatically he went into “feeling as sense of terror”.

It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps.

Again we have emotions occurring at the peak of the story and now he is filled with “terror and fear” Also why would Pistorius feel trapped if his bedroom door was locked? For most people the locked door would be a sense of comfort creating a bigger barrier between himself and the alleged intruders.

Now he is also stating that he has “limited mobility on his stumps” where earlier he had told us he had mobility on his stumps.  Which is it?  Either you do or you don’t.

In Part III we will explore the language surround the firing of the gun.

For more information and training please go to http://www.interveritas.com

The SCAN technique (Scientific Content Analysis) is a methodology used to examine truthful and deceptive points in language.  The technique uses a consistent formula in the analysis of linguistic patterns in individuals.  Therefore, regardless of the subject’s education, profession or cultural background, the same consistent measures are used to measure the subjects’ words.  SCAN is used in the analysis of statements written by the subject, interview transcripts, and oral interviews

Oscar Pistorius: What his words reveal – Part I

On Friday September 12, Oscar Pistorius was charged with negligent homicide in the death of his girlfriend Reena Steenkamp. Judge Thokozile Masipa said prosecutors did not show beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius was guilty of premeditated murder but she stated that culpable homicide was a reasonable conclusion to the events of Feb. 14, 2013.

I received a transcript of the statement given by Pistorius at his bail hearing on 19 February 2013. We will explore the language in his statement using the SCAN methodology to further explore how words define truthful, deceptive and sensitive responses.

When we ask the subject for a statement, the only thing we ask is what happened? Any deviation or embellishment from what happened is what is assessed by the interviewer. It is generally stated that when recalling events people respond using the most efficient language possible. Any embellishments give us indicators of what types of questions to ask in order to establish what really happened.

“On the 13th of February 2013 Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we rather spend the evening at home.”

The use of “would have” vs. “Reeva went out with her friends” calls into question if this is what actually happened that night. “Would have” is often used when the event didn’t happen as the subject reports it. The interviewer should ask at this point “what did Reeva actually do that night?”

Here is one scenario. Reeva was supposed to go out with her friends but didn’t which would explain the “would have” Pistorius went out with his friends and “then” Reeva called him and asked him to come back home for a quiet dinner. The interviewer must ask the question to gain clarification of what the subject stated.

“I agreed and we were content to havhe a quiet dinner together at home.”

When someone states that they agreed – it means that they initially disagreed or weighed the two options. In this case words like “agreed” and “decided” indicate to us that the  subject contemplated two options. Agreed also means that the subject could have initially disagreed.  The interviewer should ask “I understand that and Reeva discussed whether or not to have dinner at home that night, please tell me more about that discussion.

“By about 22h00 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine’s Day but asked me only to open it the next day.”

This segment is loaded with linguistic triggers. He goes from telling us they are going to have a quiet dinner at home and now tells us it is about 22h00. This indicates that there is information missing from his statement between the time of dinner and being in the bedroom.

He then tells us his prosthetic legs are off. Why? It interrupts the flow of the question “what happened?” We see traits like this happening when someone is setting up to bolster the story later on and that the prosthetic legs are going to have something to do with it.

Then he goes on to state that “we were deeply in love”. Again, we consider that to be an interruption to the question “what happened”. It is out of context to add that detail at this point in the statement. We are not asking the subject to prove how he felt about her – only what happened that night.

The SCAN technique (Scientific Content Analysis) is a methodology used to examine truthful and deceptive points in language.  The technique uses a consistent formula in the analysis of linguistic patterns in individuals.  Therefore, regardless of the subject’s education, profession or cultural background, the same consistent measures are used to measure the subjects’ words.  SCAN is used in the analysis of statements written by the subject, interview transcripts, and oral interviews

Asked to retweet #PINgate: Should Albertans stand up and be counted?

I was asked to retweet this blog initially published after the leadership election in September, 2014.

I thought long and hard about divulging the phone call I had from an MLA while working at a polling station on Saturday. With all of the controversy and criticism floating around the election, I couldn’t keep it quiet. There are so many stories floating around that I wish more people would share them.

I was preparing case studies for a client in the US and got the idea to write the blog because of the political scandal that had rocked Illinois a few years ago. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Obama’s Senate seat, among other things. He is serving 14 years behind bars for corruption, including the soliciting of bribes for political appointments. I’m going back to to teach another course in ethics and think I will have their brilliant audit minds come up with suggestions on how this election could be audited.

The election result is what it is. We have a new Premier designate. I will also say that I did support another candidate, but this blog is not about that. It’s not sour grapes, it’s about the experience and the resultant effects on all Albertans, not just PC members. Will this election process and denying people the right to vote have a lingering effect on an election in 2016?

The spread of votes was so vast that it is highly impossible for the result to be what it was. Having two sitting MLA’s who were Ministers of several portfolios during their tenure, it’s hard to believe that they would not have had more support than what the numbers indicated.  It was akin to a public flogging. Let’s face it, elections are heated and emotional events for some. It both unites and divides people. But when the vote is cast and the results come in, the party goes back to build a stronger base. Or so we hope. I think we got a glimpse of a fractured party when the elected winner opted not to have the other two candidates on stage with him. Now, using the low numbers as an excuse not to give Cabinet positions to the other candidates sends a strong punishing message. But democracy doesn’t exist if there isn’t competition.

Do all PC members have the right to vote for their leader? The answer is yes – as long as the member is legitimate and the intent to vote is there as well.  Did all the members have their chance to vote? The answer is no. Is there a way to find out how many couldn’t? Yes there probably is.  Let’s explore answers to these questions.

How  many memberships did PC Alberta have prior to the announcement of the election? (I think it was around 15,000. I don’t know where I got that number but it has been floating in the back of my mind).

How many memberships were sold during the campaign?

Of that number how many people got to vote? (we know 23,000)

Based on the number of total memberships sold, how many didn’t get to vote?

If the result is what I think it is, we would find that several thousand Albertans did not have the opportunity to vote, for one reason or another.

How does Elections Alberta and the verification process work?

I think most of us thought that we were automatically registered with Elections Alberta. That turned out to be not true. If there was any discrepancy between the way your name was registered with them and with PC Alberta, you could have been denied voting rights. For example if you are registered as Joe B Snird with Elections Alberta and just Joe Snird with PC Alberta, technically you could be disqualified. Other things like address changes could have affected this as well.

Because of the electronic vote, it should be easy to do an audit of the membership numbers that were issued PINs. Usually candidates are given a block of memberships to sell. The numbers could easily be traced and audited to see if a certain number of PINs was issued to any one group over another. Will we ever know?…probably not.

Will those who couldn’t vote forgive and forget about this experience by the time the next election rolls around?  Will PC Alberta lose supporters? Will this spur a growth in opposition parties?

There has  to be a will to be ethical. If that will doesn’t exist, or other goals are made priorities, might takes over from right. It’s like a mantra we’ve learned from Survivor. The tribe has spoken.

Who got the PIN? Votes, views and ethics

As much as I complained about the difficulty in voting in PC Alberta’s leadership election, I decided I would do something about it.  I volunteered to work at a polling station to help Albertans vote on Saturday.

We were to assist people who arrived at the polling station from verifying their memberships, taking them to receive their pin number and walking them through the computerized log in and voting process. It was good to see many enthusiastic, if not computer wary Albertans make their way in to vote.  The biggest challenge that afternoon was how difficult it was for elderly voters try to use the mouse.  Both the faded and small print on the computer and using the mouse proved to be huge challenges for some voters.  It also didn’t help that the elevator up to the third level at the Expo Centre was out of order.  We heard stories that one man was trapped in the elevator for 30 minutes and then he had to be taken down in the freight elevator.

We were also helping people retrieve their pin numbers when they phoned in on the help line. You could almost hear an audible sigh of relief from people when we called and said we were calling to help them get their pin. For the most part we were able to help, but there were times when people were turned down because their information didn’t match Elections Alberta. One man told me he was a council member in Drayton Valley and he was stunned that his name was not registered with Elections Alberta.  We were to inform people to please register or update their files and then encourage people to vote for the 2nd ballot on September 20. There was no opportunity for them to vote in this election.  By now, we’ve heard all of these stories constantly reported in the press.

But this is where it takes a detour. I was handed a stack of pin numbers and asked to return the call of one MLA who had requested them.  I was told that an exception was made in this case and we were to pass the PIN numbers on to him. We had turned down many earlier voters who were calling in to get pin numbers for their spouses or their children.  Our instructions were that we had to speak to the eligible voter in order to hand them their pins.

I called the MLA, left a message for him and waited for a return call.  He called me back and I read the numbers back to him. Once I was done he said that he had a couple more.  As many of you know, I analyze language for a living. For many of us, a couple would mean two – but in reality it rarely ever does. I had already given out at least 13 pin numbers to this man.

He told me he had more and read back another 7 names and membership numbers. His requests were processed and while I was waiting to read him the numbers, I heard him tell someone “get me more names, get me more names”. When I heard that, I thought that giving him any additional PIN numbers was wrong.  I asked that he call the office and put in another request but that I couldn’t help him any longer.  So who actually voted from that stack of pin numbers? Was it the member?  I doubt it!  Or was it the enthusiastic MLA or a volunteer that entered votes  for those phantom members?

Does this violate any code of ethics? Is it right for an MLA to have the voting rules broken for them to help members vote? It depends. It depends if the help request is legit or not.

I told the woman who gave me the stack of PINs that he gave me another list of names and membership numbers and that he yelled to someone else to bring him more that he could read out to me. She shook her head and told me I did the right thing and said “this is a complete gong show”. I really believe that the polling stations and additional manpower on the phones was really helping those vote who couldn’t earlier. But this last call really called to question the ethics of bending the rules for MLAs or anyone else

If every MLA called in with a list of members and their membership numbers like this man had – how many favoured voters were receiving their voting information while others weren’t? As I mentioned in my previous blog, we will never know. How many memberships were sold during this leadership race?  How is it that voter turnout was only 23,000 – less than one third voter turnout from 2011. Is it because people couldn’t vote? Didn’t care about the vote? Or, weren’t given the opportunity to vote?

Candidates have moved on, a winner declared and that’s life in politics.  I have one major question.  Will this MLA and others be rewarded for collecting member pin numbers?  Or will this behaviour be deemed unethical?

 

PC Alberta where’s the Party?

This leadership race, more than any other, perplexes me. I’m still confused how the overwhelming majority of MLAs backed one candidate as the heir apparent in this leadership race. What did everybody else know that I didn’t?

Of course it boils down to one thing.  He is the guy that “the party” wants. And it seems the regular voting Albertan is NOT ‘the party”. So, if our elected officials were told who to support and they in turn tell their constituent members which way to vote, it calls into question the fundamental basis of democracy. If that was the tactic, then be up front, most Albertans are able to handle the truth.

Rumors abound of dirty tactics, backroom deals and free memberships doled out by a candidate rather than purchased by engaged voters. MLA  Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Service Alberta & Prentice Campaign co-chair, admitted in the Edmonton Journal on August 29 “There’s a lot of mudslinging, and a lot of rumours, and a lot of behind-the-scenes deal-making that’s going on between people right now, because it’s a leadership race.” What kind of deal making? It’s got to be good if all but six MLAs back one candidate.

This is the first time I’ve thought that we are going to experience some real election fraud or vote rigging in Alberta. A voting system that some party insiders have admitted was never tested before the digital polls opened this morning. Was that intentional or not?

Hundreds upon hundreds of eligible voters are still without their pin numbers.  A 1-800 help phone line that rings perpetually busy. Or, if you are one of the lucky ones, it will ring, pick up eventually and you will be told the mailbox is full.  Long time party members have had to phone and beg for PIN numbers because one wasn’t sent unless you asked for it. The instructions online are confusing and not clear. The bottom line is an election process where due diligence and transparency doesn’t seem to exist.

But there’s another hoop you have to jump through too. The PC Alberta website tells you that you must be registered with Elections Alberta to be considered an eligible voter. Many people claimed that PC Alberta informed them they were ineligible to vote.  Katherine Smith @kikkiplanet tweeted earlier today that one campaign informed her that 45% of their members were rendered ineligible to vote and disqualified.

I wanted to make sure I was eligible. Friends told me they found out they were not registered even though they had lived at their homes for several years.  I looked up the elections Alberta website and decided to register myself.  I was required to input a barely readable number found on the bottom of my driver’s license. My mom is 90 years old and has never missed a vote in all the years she’s lived in Alberta. She doesn’t drive so she wasn’t able to fill anything out online. I called Elections Alberta and was told “If anyone has ever voted before in a provincial election, their name would be registered with Elections Alberta.” Based on this, how could 45% of one campaign’s member base be rendered ineligible?

At least at a live election people have to come in and vote in person. Their credentials are checked, they are physically handed a ballot, they walk into the voting booth and they cast their vote. During the ballot count volunteers from each campaign observe the count to make sure ballots are counted correctly.Everybody has an idea of how the campaign is going in their polling stations.

In this instance the votes disappear into a dark abyss and we will never know who got to vote and who didn’t. We won’t know if members of one campaign were favoured over another and we won’t know if this election was fair.   I hesitate to think of any Putin-esque tactics at play in this province of ours.

 

 

What’s on your Facebook wall?

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What have you revealed about yourself online? Staying safe on line is important for everyone and no matter who you are or where you are, there are thieves waiting to steal information about you.

Last night on Facebook I noticed a post float down my wall which disturbed me greatly. It was probably posted with no bad intent but disturbed me for the questions it asked.

I have been astounded at some of the things that I have found out through Facebook about all my dog owner Facebook friends!  I hope you all will let me and others get to know you better.  You guys are really smart, have great jobs, and educated!! Hope to get to know many of you better!

If you will play along, and I will start. Tell:
1 What your name is
2 What your kennel name is
3 What kind of work you do
4 What your husband or wife’s name is
5 What kind of work they do
6 What state/country you live in
7 Do you have children/grandchildren?

But the biggest issue with this post was that it was public.  That means there anyone from anywhere can see that post and its responses.  No privacy filters set whatsoever. I was astonished to see that within 2 hours of her posting this that 18 people had given up their information.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

I cautioned my friends from posting a reply because her wall was not private and the information requested could be used against them in malicious ways – not necessarily by the person posting it but the world she made it available to

The woman requested the info replied to my post and fessed up to asking the questions.  She said that she didn’t want people to be “paranoid”.   You should be paranoid about what floats out about you on the internet.  So, DON’T POST IT!

To try and emphasize how important it is to protect privacy, I sent her a private message and showed her what I found out about her within five minutes.

  • Her birthday and her husband’s birthdate
  • Her private email address
  • Where she worked, what position and for how long.
  • Her home address
  • The approximate value of their home
  • That there was an email address attributed to her husband that was pimpmonkey@popularemail.com (a tad embarrassing at the age of 50+)
  • Two telephone numbers one home, one mobile
  • Children’s names

The next morning she told me that what I found was impressive but that she had a high profile on the internet because of her employer.  So I googled her name and decided to check out what was high profile.  Ok so first I get the LinkedIn profile = no big deal most working professionals put something up. Then a web address of her employer and her kennel web page.  That is not high profile in the traditional sense yet the personal data can make you high profile to the thief that is building a data file on you. Birthdates? Home addresses? Property values?  She should have been a bit more concerned than flipping me off with her high profile label. On any profile personal information is too much information.

Posting this information on Facebook is the same as writing all of your vital statistics and information down on a piece of paper and then posting it on the bulletin board at your local grocery store.   Do you really think that is ok?