News Corporation demands a re-count
An official investigation will scrutinise Kevin Rudd’s petition calling for a media royal commission after it emerged that more than 1000 names were fake, and some of the signatories were paid for and generated overseas…
An investigation by The Australian into the petition, which Mr Rudd instigated as an attack on News Corp, has also revealed the document is littered with fake and absurd names, including “Nacho cheese”, “Jesus Christ” and “this sucks”. Many of those were generated offshore, easily sidestepping parliamentary measures set up to prevent fraud.
A world-renowned cyber security expert said signatories included “computer-generated bots”. He said a full digital audit was required to determine the extent of fraudulent activity in the parliamentary e-petition system.
Ken O’Dowd, the House of Representatives’ petitions committee chairman, said his committee would investigate the fake signatories in the petition.
As much as I’d like to use this story to mock Rudd’s bizarre campaign to ban all media entities that criticise the Labor Party in general and him specifically, a thousand fake names is not a substantive portion of the 500,000 signatures garnered. Melbourne podcaster Nicholas Smith paid a Bangladeshi to generate them to demonstrate that an official government website and process were easily manipulated from abroad. Except it wasn’t all that easy and the product Smith purchased wasn’t good enough to survive the most cursory scrutiny. If an illiterate foreigner ever submits 500,000 fake but believable names and thereby alters the agenda of Parliament, well yes – that would be a worry.
I’m more concerned about Victoria Police rounding up fake sex abuse accusations and ADF officials canvassing Afghans about ‘war crimes’ than I am about two smart-arses in Melbourne and Bangladesh.