I may be one of the greatest fans of CEO, Karnataka, website. I visit the site almost daily, looking for new information, visible and hidden. The site gets updated without warning and leaving no clue about the latest changes. Seeking information from the site is like engaging a moving aerial target. Too many parameters changing randomly and simultaneously. Last evening I found some strange feature in some of the PDF files published by the CEO where records are modified by deleting information. In part AC1570077, nine people had changed their age to 0 from a range of 29 to 102 years. They also lost their relatives.
Now, going back in time and also losing relatives is a serious matter. I wanted to cross-check with the PDF file on my favourite CEO, Karnataka, website. To my surprise, the site looked and felt very different. To my shock, most of the information from the site was gone. The final voter list as of 25 Jul 2012, various documents published by EC and CEO, K, details of past election results … and such useful information is not on the site now. The proud feature of “search your name in the voter list” is gone and so is the non-functional online registration feature.
Till recently the site said that it was maintained by CMC, India. Now it is maintained by the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka himself. The landing page also states that the site was last updated on 02 August 2010. Like the voters went back in time when their records were modified, the website also seems to go back in time. I hope that we do not reach the pre-independence days, in which case we do not need the EC or CEO. The website won’t be relevant then.
One shining sentence stays on the site – “We seek the active cooperation of all the electors of Karnataka for setting up a truly citizen friendly system. We also seek your suggestions for improving the system and increasing public satisfaction.” Word ‘suggestions’ is bold on the site. I have sent more than 15 emails with suggestions to the CEO, K, during the past month. He has been very kind to respond to one of them, stating that he is not responsible for the variances between Assembly rolls and BBMP rolls. Now I have sent him a mail suggesting that he restores the site to the latest state last seen on the site and then adds features and information.
As CMC boasted that they maintained CEO, K, site, I tried for four days to talk to someone from CMC. At last I could talk to someone who claimed to be responsible to maintain the site, but was not answerable to errors, omissions and violations of EC’s guidelines. He kindly suggested that I give feedback to the CEO. Now as the site does not refer to CMC, the company is out of the system.
Infosuicide is an act of disengaging from the Internet by deleting publicly available information. The CEO, K, has removed most of the useful features and information from his website and has half-killed the site. I do not know if the CEO, K, site is in the danger of being murdered or it is committing a suicide. Is the translucent system becoming fully opaque?
Long live democracy! Let us be proud of our election machinery.