Swearword recognition software.

The U.S.’s putatively public putatively ad-free National Public Radio is using voice recognition software to target its marketing, including after news items.

In addition to passively collecting information on the news listeners, allowing the public broadcaster and its partners to send related or unrelated ads to individual consumers, mobile phones and radios in certain U.S. and Japanese cars will now extend and prolong the ads if they hear certain exclamations, exhortations, ejaculations and/or requests for more information.

(SHIMPF vort   air KEN noongs shice soft vair.)


Mandatory internet contact established by products with their mothership company, that can’t be prevented by users.

(ON line TSVONG.)

Ständige Mitgliederversammlung

“Perpetual members meeting” online, a new system the German Pirate Party is discussing creating to make it easier for them to vote planks into their party platform, closing gaps in their still-too-small election program. Currently they and their “base democracy” goal seem bottlenecked because they only manage to work through and vote on substantial numbers of issues at face-to-face conventions, which only happen twice a year. Hundreds of proposals are submitted online but at most a few dozen can be discussed over a weekend meeting. A 24/7 permanent online meeting tool would not only enable more frequent voting on more issues but also let more people participate in discussion, another Pirate goal. Also the presumable automated history tracking possibilities and potential to reduce redundant effort sound interesting.

Pirates against the SMV criticize the loss of online anonymity necessary to reduce potential sock puppetry by hackers and sysadmins. Among proponents, the excellent Marina Weisband blogged that the Pirate party did promise its voters to be more permeable to their ideas, and this software structure would correct their failure to do so.

Update on 13 May 2013: At 58% yea, the SMV did not get the 2/3 majority vote required to pass.

(SHTEN diggah   MITT glee dah fer ZOM loong.)


A software app available online since 2002 (and offline since 2004) from the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, BPB) to help people understand and select from among the multiple political parties’ platforms. Voters answer ca. 30 questions about their political views and are then shown which party platforms most closely match their thoughts and feelings. Based on “StemWijzer” software from the Netherlands that was modified by Politikfabrik, the Wahl-O-Mat software was used 9 million times between 2002 and 2009, for the federal Bundestag parliamentary/chancellor elections, some but not all state elections and recently the European parliamentary elections. Users can search the archive for historical versions of the Wahl-O-Mat software, to see how it changed as the parties’ positions changed over time. Apparently there’s a similar app available for USA elections at

When answering Wahl-O-Mat questions, you can choose “Agree,” “Neutral” or “Disagree,” or skip the question without responding. You can choose to have some questions be counted twice, indicating their topics are more important to you. At the end of the survey, you must select up to eight political parties that will be evaluated for you. No more than eight parties will be evaluated. This and other issues have generated healthy debate about the app over the years.

The Federal Agency for Civic Education (BPB) is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year; it was founded to support West Germany’s new democratic government after the Nazi era and appears to be a good political resource for school students.

(VALL oh matt.)


“Book of petitions.” On 11 Nov 2012 German Pirate Party members voted online through a catalog of over 1400 proposals that had been submitted as prospective party platform planks. The topics ran the gamut, not unexpectedly. Spiegel-Online wrote that the party is hoping to “distill” a program from this process, and that the worst that could happen would be if the top ~50 suggestions were for minor issues rather than major GPP points such as electronic privacy and copyright. It is hoped this will also take care of “white areas of the map” for which the GPP has not had enough of a position before now, e.g. “employment, social and economic policy, electricity prices and building new housing.”

das Liquid-Feedback

Free open-source software intended to support das Delegated-Voting. Wikipedia says that in addition to helping “find decisions” and “find opinions,” this software can help efficiently channelize different competencies about a topic.

Update on 17 Dec 2012: According to Oliver Wenzlaff’s 2012 book Piratenkommunikation, the software is now being used by Pirate parties in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Brazil, and the German Pirates have encouraged other German political parties to use it with some success in municipal SPD groups and FDP discussion. Wenzlaff writes that it has been called “das Perpetuum mobile der Partizipation,” participation’s perpetual motion machine.

Update on 10 May 2013: the Liquid-Feedback section of the German Pirate Party’s website:

(Doss likvid FEEDBECK.)

Blog at