Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tweeting the Election

Since I was in Ukraine for the election I wanted to be involved in the election anyway I could. I tired to register to become an observer but by the time my emails arrived to the right organizations it was too late to register me. Then my adviser told me about the Maidan Project a local NGO in Kharkiv that monitors election fraud and I asked them what I could do to help! We thought it would be good to inform people about all the fraud reports in English and thought that their Twitter handle @sitemaidan would be a good place to post the reports. Here is the story they posted in the website about me!

I went to their office on election day and I took the fraud reports submitted by normal average Ukrainians and translated them from Russian and Ukrainian into English. I also sent our general information about the election. Everything was going fine until around 4:30 pm when the site where people submitted the fraud reports suffered a DDoS attack. We soon learned that this attack was also directed at the opposition political parties and the other Ukrainian organizations who monitored election fraud. They did this so people couldn't submit reports and the biggest part of the attack was aimed at the Ukrainian version of the site. Maidan Project had been attacked twice before so they were ready for it and worked all day to get the site back up. Meanwhile people continue to submit reports via phone, skype, gmail chat, and facebook and we continue to tweet them. They also tried to hack our twitter feed but we were able to circumvent it thanks to my husband's quick thinking so we used a different twitter related site to submit the reports. We had to switch IP addresses a bunch of times but eventually things on the site were back up and running. The other organizations did not fare as well and were not back by the end of election day. It was pouring so I left the office around 10 pm but continued my reports until 11 pm. All is all I was glad to help out a local NGO, it was a good experience, and definitely much more exciting than watching the results come in on the news!  This is a picture of me at the Maidan Project office after a long election day!

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