Digital Manipulation of Democracy



Event 2 in Victorian Fabians Spring Series, "Digitisation and Democracy".

SPEAKERS: Stilgherrian and Vanessa Teague


Intensive manipulative techniques are being applied to democracy, voting processes and voting behaviours and public political sentiment. Since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, there has been much more interest about the extent to which digitisation and big data is being used by narrow sectional interests to manipulate and capture political power. 

In mature democracies we have developed a suite of checks and balances which help to mitigate some of the more egregious tiltings of the democratic playing field. But are there effects of digitisation and the structures that support it, that because of its newness, pervasiveness and power, we are particularly ill defended against?

Who are the new power brokers? How is your vote affected? How is Australia affected?

Come to our next Fabians event to join in the discussion.


Stigherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and broadcaster who covers the politics of the internet and the way it’s changing power relationships at every level of society. He’s particularly interested in security, privacy, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust.

He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide range of media and technology work that’s included ABC Radio, magazines and online media. He survived the first dotcom boom.

Stilgherrian currently writes for ZDNet, Crikey and others, produces the podcasts Corrupted Nerds and The 9pm Edict, is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and in his own words, tweets far too prolifically.


Vanessa Teague is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Information Systems at at The University of Melbourne.

She is also a brilliant and legitimate hacker who has demonstrated that virtually no encrypted system is secure. At the same time she has a passionate commitment to people’s ownership of their own data and to democracy.

She has been invited to appear before several parliamentary inquiries into elections at the state and federal level, to answer questions on electronic voting. She opposes electronic voting on security grounds, and she is very involved in the debates over big data.


  • September 27, 2017 at 6pm – 9pm
  • Melbourne Multicultural Hub
    506 Elizabeth St
    Melbourne, Victoria 3000
    Google map and directions
  • 56 people are going
  • Julia Thornton

David Davies Felicity Farmer Maggie Sefton Brendan Forster Abdullah Mohammad Simon Berman Dan Tosello Bill Lodwick Wajib Ali Darren Rexter Travis Hughes john power Ian Howie Richard Gould Ted Benjamin Robyn Gerhard Sandie Szawlowski David Power Roman Jade Sam Harrison Jasvinder Sidhu Trevor Kerr Alex Muir Craig Read Tristan Krautz Henry Walshaw Kat Szuminska Claire Wilkinson Tash Coffey @jabolotai Jacinta Richardson Wolf Cocklin Min X Leanne x Tim Bell

Will you come?