Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Diebold machines openable by minibar key!

If this is true, then it's pretty frickin' mind-blowing. Well, actually it's not that surprising anymore. But in any decent Democracy it would be mind-blowing:
The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.
(Emphasis in the original, HT: lamertstrether on Daily Kos.) I agree with this commenter on Kos (via Corrente):
Princeton needs to release the software they used to change the vote. Widespread access to this would end all e-voting immediately.
I think this would be a good solution. Or better yet, as a form of civil disobedience someone should actually hack a real election. They should create an absurd result, such as making the communist, or a joke write-in candidate like "E. Leckshin Steeler" win. That would make headlines all over the country, and get this debate out of the theoretical and into the real. This reminds me of times when people had trouble getting Mirosoft to fix security flaws. Sometimes, the only way to get Microsoft to deal with a security flaw in Windows is to publish the flaw or exploit the flaw yourself. Then they are forced to deal with it.

Now normally I'm all in favor of using new technology, but until electronic voting is much more secure, I can't be in favor of it. With financial tranactions, it's easier to catch fraud because the person who lost money is always going to find out and raise the red flag. With votes, there's no way to do this. Ideally, we should have the ability to individually verify that our vote was counted the way we want.

Paper ballots can be messed with too, but it's much easier for one security break to affect an entire system with electronic voting. And the fraud can be done much more surreptitiously. I don't expect voting security to be perfect, but it's got to be better than it is. Now we know these machines are both physically and electronically. (If you haven't heard about this story yet, I urge you to follow the link.)

I have stayed away from the procedural voting issues before, but there's just too much evidence of too much shenanigans not to make it an issue.


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