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‘Revoke Article 50’ petition crashes UK parliament website

A PETITION against Brexit has gone viral, so much so that it has repeatedly crashed the Parliamentary website.

For those outside the UK, the House of Commons has an online portal for petitions. Those over 10,000 will garner a government response, while petitions of over 100,000 will be ‘considered’ for debate in The House.

Before prime minister Teresa ‘Cyberdine’ May’s address to the nation on Wednesday evening, the petition stood at around 20,000, but within an hour had shot up to 140,000.

After spreading by social media overnight, the groundswell has grown exponentially and at time of writing, the petition demanding that the government revoke Article 50, thus ending Brexit as if it never happened, stands (at time of writing on Thursday lunchtime) at 837,000.

However, the popularity of the petition has led to outages on the government website, and although some have questioned if there may be dark forces at work, the truth is likely a lot more straight forward.

The number of signatures is tracked on the site in real-time and it makes for fascinating viewing. The problem with that is that it causes the website to “call” the server every 20 seconds.

That means that everyone viewing the total rising is slowing the site down and causing error messages and in some cases a full shutdown with a ‘502 Bad Gateway’ error.

It’s a demonstration of digital democracy in action, but also its limitations – if this was an actual vote, and people weren’t able to get on the site, it would be considered a scandal.

In this case, it’s largely symbolic (though if, as it seems, it gets over a million, it’ll be hard to ignore) but it demonstrates the massive infrastructure needed to bring democracy online.

If you want to avoid being part of the problem, we’ve suggested that you sign (if you’re inclined to), then surf away, and take a moment to post to Twitter what the total was as you signed, using the hashtag #A50total. Bosh – you’re part of the solution, not part of the problem. Unlike some people. μ

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Source : Inquirer

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