Your password belongs to you, not a political party

John
John Gushue
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If Brad Cabana thought that the requirements for the Tory leadership in Newfoundland and Labrador were something else, get a load of what’s on the table on the other side of the political spectrum and the other side of the country.

In British Columbia, the NDP doesn’t just want 50 signatures, but 250, and, at $15,000, considerably more money as a deposit than has been required here.

But that’s not what’s been getting a lot of attention. The NDP wants its leadership rivals to let the party deep into their digital lives. Their Facebook accounts, their blogs, their Twitter feeds … the NDP is expecting to get not just the addresses, but the passwords.

The same goes, incidentally, for any username and password that the person may use, anywhere, for whatever reason. Sure, political parties have always vetted their top candidates. Potential leaders have always undergone considerable scrutiny, which is neither cheap nor simple to carry out.

The NDP, which has been embarrassed over the years by things like federal candidate Dana Larsen’s unapologetic marijuana smoking and disclosure of another candidate’s salacious Facebook pictures, is essentially making its leadership candidates make things easier by demanding that they surrender their private lives.

It’s one thing to ask candidates (one of whom, not coincidentally, is Larsen) to give the addresses of, say, their Facebook pages, but it’s quite another to ask for passwords. In fact, it’s outrageous. What concerns me is that other political parties may adopt this kind of strategy, and possibly not just for leadership candidates. If this demand stands, it’s quite possible it could drift into other arenas, including employers.

I have no problem with candidates identifying their social media platforms, just as much as I would expect that anything written or posted anywhere might well become fodder at some future point. (Yes, this includes you, profanity-loving, party-pic-posting college student.)

But I also always tell people to never give their passwords to anyone. And that includes — it especially includes — political parties.

Elsewhere this week

WordSquared

wordsquared.com

Imagine a game of Scrabble in which the board extends on and on and on, and you don’t play one or two opponents but countless numbers, and you have “lives” to keep going after you run out of tile-swapping options. Well, you get an idea of WordSquared, an imaginative and quick-moving game that takes advantage of the word power of people all over the interwebs.

Triggerpit

triggerpit.com

Eye-popping pictures from space, high-definition portfolios of Spanish architecture, phenomena of nature … they’re all here.

Triggerpit is updated every few days with caches of top-shelf photography. Bookmark it for regular checks.

Real Estate Dictionary

www.sutton.com/dictionary

Do you know your foreclosures from your curable depreciation? This is a handy glossary of words and short definitions prepared by the Sutton realtor franchise. If you’re getting ready for a spring launch into the market, get started on the terms you’ll need to know.

Bitterwallet

www.bitterwallet.com

From across the ocean comes Bitterwallet, a consumer-oriented blog that has a strong U.K. focus but which nonetheless may have a transatlantic appeal.

After all, many of the items and trends that are reported here are international, even though the pointers to daily discounts may seem, well, pointless. But that sometimes-snarky tone? I quite like it.

North is just perspective justpaste.it/north

Finally, a lesson in geography, and so much more. What we think we know about the world is limited by perspective; this is a great way to remind ourselves to look at things with a fresh eye.

John Gushue is an online editor

with CBC News in St. John’s.

Blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Tumblr: johngushue.tumblr.com.

Organizations: NDP, Tory, CBC News

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, U.K.

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