27 Sep 2003 raph   » (Master)

The Final Solution

You might be an anti-spam kook if you have discoverd the final, ultimate solution to the spam problem (FUSSP). I scored shockingly high on the test. Of course, I realize that using a trust metric to defeat spam, while probably effective, won't be easy.

Electronic voting

Something is seriously rotten in the land of electronic voting. Consider:

  • Rebecca Mercuri was thrown out of a meeting of the IACREOT (International Association of Clerks, Records, Election Officials, and Treasurers) a couple of months ago for voicing criticism of the electronic voting machines being sold.
  • A group of researchers pulished a searing criticism of Diebold's touchscreen voting machines. These machines are a total joke in terms of security - they're based on Microsoft Access, so everything, even the audit logs, can easily be tampered with. Further, their use of crypto is spotty and contains amateurish mistakes such as reusing IV's in CBC mode. Diebold's response is lame, simply ignoring many of the points scored in the original paper.
  • The State of Maryland, on the verge of buying lots of Diebold machines, commissioned an "independent" study of the machines from SAIC (another cog in the military-industrial machine), which identified "several high-risk vulnerabilities" and concludes that the system is not compliant with Maryland's standards. The somewhat unbelievable response from the president of Diebold is: "The thorough system assessment conducted by SAIC verifies that the Diebold voting station provides an unprecedented level of election security."
  • The chief executive of Diebold is also working for the Bush campaign, and, in a recent fund raising letter, wrote that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
  • Even though Diebold is emerging as the owner of the most smoking gun, the other election machine vendors aren't coming across as being much better.
  • Diebold successfully takes down blackboxvoting.org by issuing a DMCA notice to their ISP, based solely on links posted at the site.
  • Leaked memos clearly indicate that Diebold routinely violates election guidelines, among other things by using versions of their software other than those certified.
  • In spite of all this, the state of Maryland is going forward with the Diebold contract.

This is a big story, I think. Even the mainstream press is starting to cover it. If there are any people reading this in Maryland who are good smart cards, just put in a million votes for the Green candidates. That ought to wake up the powers that be, and maybe the winner can do some good in the meantime.

It's also clear that we can do some good by raising a stink. The IEEE was all set to approve incredibly weak standards for electronic voting machines, but in response to the EFF's action alert, they actually sent it back to the drawing board.

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