Today I received a fundraising e-mail from ActBlue, the funding clearinghouse for national progressive Democratic candidates which sometimes collaborates with Daily Kos. It was dynamite. I have quoted it here in its entirety to give the reader the correct context:
"The GOP proved once again that they don't have the tech chops to compete with
"They rolled out a new feature (one we’ve had for 6 months) and it wasn’t PCI
compliant. What’s that mean? Well, it’s not secure. Donor’s credit cards could
get hacked. And it took us bringing it to their attention to get it fixed and
secure. Anything that risks undermining confidence in making political
contributions is bad for everyone.
"Security is our #1 priority here at ActBlue. You and millions of others of
people trust us, and we take that very seriously.
"Thanks to the support of thousands of donors just like you, we’ve built the
biggest, most advanced, and most secure fundraising system in the country. But
we’re never satisfied.
"The engineering team at ActBlue, which I'm proud to lead, has committed to an
ambitious development timeline for 2014 and the only way we can hit it is with
"Can you chip in $5 a month to make sure we have the resources we need to staff
up, expand our server capacity, and, most importantly, continue spending
significant resources to guarantee we have the most secure system possible?
"ActBlue is independently audited every year to confirm that our security is top
notch. I’m never nervous when they come, because unlike the GOP we don't take
any shortcuts when it comes to security. Security is a moving target, and we're
constantly working to stay cutting edge.
"Our team is extremely talented. We’re small, but together we’ve build a system
that’s helped securely raise over $440 million in just 9 years. And here’s what
we’ve got on tap for next year:
"Expand our capacity to 50,000 contributions an hour
- Upgrade our testing and analytics capacity to aid thousands of data driven
campaigns and organizations
- Continue to invest heavily in security to thwart attempted hacking attacks
- Innovate new and easier ways to donate to your favorite campaigns
"The only way we can move forward is if we hit our end of the year fundraising
goal. We need 1,000 donors to step up right now and commit to supporting ActBlue
in 2014. Can we count on your support?
"From all of us at ActBlue, thanks.
-Nate, Braulio, Decklin, Chris, Matt, and Bill, the ActBlue Technical Services
Follow me below the fold for my take on this.
This has happened repeatedly in other venues - stories like this are commonplace. It's getting so Republicans can't keep up with the zeitgeist regarding information technology.
I'm probably the last person who understands this very well. I'm 62 years old but a little bit more tech-savvy than many my age. In 1979, a management guy siad in a training I attended, "Computers will make our lives better." I'm a Luddite at heart and believed then and still believe now he was lying.
Even so, I'm tickled when these things happen.
What comes to mind, though, is why do these things keep happening?
Well, think of the voters - or more correctly, the interests - that Republican policies represent. If there is one guy who personfies the guy the Republican operatives stand for, it's the clueless and petty pointy-haired boss in the comic strip "Dilbert." I remember one from the 90s which exemplified where he's coming from: he told Dilbert he has his secretary print off his e-mails so he can read them.
The traditional hierarchical business model that that guy (does he even have a name?) and the Republicans stand for is not congruent with modern technology and communications. In short, technology-wise, they are to the technology world what the old Empires were to the dissolution of European colonialism at the end of World War II. They still at that time - and now - believed in Kipling's "White Man's Burden," that nonwhite people were not capable of governing themselves. They were wrong then and they're wrong now.
To them "security" means chasing commie spies or petty criminals like Mickey Mouse's "Beagle Boys" (mildly nefarious second story dog-men wearing opera masks that the Mouse routinely outwitted). Time has passed them by.
My take is this stuff is going to keep on happening. At least I hope so.