WRITTEN ON October 25th, 2006 BY Richard S AND STORED IN Online Maps, Political engagement

Half hearing a garbled radio report, then half reading a garbled article, I thought that Google was replacing Peter Snow and Gallup etc. In fact, Google has simply added a new information layer which users can superimpose on Google Earth maps, to provide some information and links for the 2006 USA elections.

However, how would we feel if Google went further and superimposed on their maps: eg. Opinion Poll results; results of detailed polling about particular political issues; or even the real-time results of “exit polls” while voting was still open?…

We’ve become accustomed to newspapers and traditional broadcasters publishing increasing numbers of opinion polls; sometimes to record people’s views, sometimes apparently to bolster opinion or to influence other people or governments. Some countries (eg. France?) ban the publication of politically sensitive opinion polls immediately before elections.

(Clay Bennett, www.csmonitor.com)
The world has moved on: First it was foreign controlled satellite channels; now, many people get their information and views from the Internet; This part of the Internet is dominated by huge USA companies. Google recently filed the USA federal paperwork necessary to be a Political Action Committee (PAC), allowing it to raise money for USA political candidates and causes.

Should the UK start to consider how to ensure the integrity of UK elections and politics against undue influences from overseas?

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