07.29.21

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The OSI’s Defunct Elections (Privacy Breach), Conflict of Interest (Nicholson), and Other Lingering Problems

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OSI privacy issue

OSI privacy issues. I don’t think we’re supposed to see the voters’ data (publicly accessible here as the front end or the corresponding .json file).

Summary: The above, together with an email from the OSI below, serves to show they’re re-running a bad election and — yet worse! — there appears to be a conflict of interest implicating the OSI’s sole member of staff!

THE OSI is in a state of disarray following the abrupt departure of its sole member of staff one year ago. Coordination is poor, the agenda has shifted in a negative way/direction (like attacks on the FSF), and this is what its interim manager said in a message:

As an Individual Member of the Open Source Initiative who joined by March 4th, you are eligible to vote in the re-run Open Source Initiative’s 2021 Board of Directors election. This email includes important information about the election and voting process.

CANDIDATES:

This year TWO (2) Individual Member seats are open. You may view the candidate profiles/bios here:

https://wiki.opensource.org/bin/Main/OSI%20Board%20of%20Directors/Board%20Member%20Elections/2021%20Individual%20and%20Affiliate%20Elections/

VOTING:

Elections for OSI Directors are held according to Approval Voting
- see Wikipedia for more information on Approval Voting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting

Each voter may “approve of” (i.e., “vote for”) any number of candidates, from none (0) to all eleven (11). The winners of the election will be the two candidates who receive the most votes from the voting Individual Members

IMPORTANT!!!

To cast a vote, you will be led through the following steps.

1. Log into Helios (your credentials are included below).

2. Select (“approve”) your preferred candidate(s).

3. Review/Confirm your ballot (i.e. who you voted for), then “Submit” your ballot.

4. CAST YOUR BALLOT: PLEASE NOTE, YOU MUST ALSO “CAST YOUR BALLOT” on the screen appearing after you submit your ballot.

IF YOU FAIL TO CLICK THE “CAST YOUR BALLOT” BUTTON YOUR VOTE WILL NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE FINAL TALLY.

IMPORTANT DATES:
* July 26, 2021 (11:00 am PDT): Elections open
* August 6, 2021 (4:59 pm PDT): Elections close
* August 9, 2021 (11:00 am PDT): : Run-off elections open (if needed)
* August 13, 2021 (5:00 pm PDT): Run-off elections close
* August 23, 2021: New Board Directors seated
* First meeting August 24 and 25, 2021

QUESTIONS:

If you have any questions feel free to contact Deb Nicholson at d.nicholson@opensource.org

Election URL: https://vote.heliosvoting.org/helios/e/JulyIndividual2021/vote

Have lessons been learned from the last time around?

We’re not too sure.

The OSI elections… again seem to have a security/privacy issue, compromising the integrity of the whole process. As one source told us (see screenshot, links etc. at the top), issues linger on “and then there’s this privacy concern.”

“The OSI elections… again seem to have a security/privacy issue, compromising the integrity of the whole process.”“sjvn hasn’t voted yet,” the source noted. Are we supposed to even know that? “Shows all members and whether they voted or not to the general public…”

This is bad enough in its own right, especially given prior events and context (compromised election).

“However,” our source added, “I saw the OSI elections are currently being… reheld. So, not sure because I did not document who was going for elections but… I noticed Salt there. He has a long standing relationship with Nicholson, the Interim General Manager. So, Salt running for a position where he has history with the “manager” is odd, but we are well aware of the cronyism in the past. What really struck me was his bio, where he discusses paid positions for Executive Director and staff.”

To quote:

Why I am running

The OSI is a leading voice when it comes to the conversation surrounding free/libre/open culture and values. It is currently at a point of inflection, transitioning from an (almost) entirely volunteer-driven organization, to one with an Executive Director and paid staff.

Yes, “paid staff.” Like a company. That would more or less confirm what the OSI has become. It diverts more than half of its funds into Microsoft GitHub promotion, i.e. proprietary software. Is this the future of OSI?

“That would more or less confirm what the OSI has become. It diverts more than half of its funds into Microsoft GitHub promotion, i.e. proprietary software.”As our source noted: “This could get interesting!”

The cronyism at the EPO comes to mind (Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos stuffing or staffing up the management with friends of theirs, not qualified people).

We shall patiently watch the next steps.

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