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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, November 22, 2014
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By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2013 11:30am PT  

As it is said when it comes to voting technology: As California goes, so goes the nation. To that end, there is some disturbing news on the horizon from BlackBoxVoting.org as the Internet Voting virus threatens to spread to the Golden State.

If you're not familiar with the many insane dangers of this idea, and if the Academy Awards' recent nightmare wasn't enough, here's an article or two or three or four from the past year or two here which should do well to appropriately scare the hell out of you.

In the meantime, here's how BBV cuts to the chase --- and the core --- of the real concerns of Internet Voting, as the anti-democratic profiteering vultures descend into the state...

California Assemblyman Phil Ting has proposed AB 19, a bill to require the California Secretary of State to implement an Internet voting pilot project.

They tell us Internet voting is secure. It's not. It's not secure, and can't be made secure, but that's not even the point.

The point is it's not transparent. The whole premise in our Constitution is that we self-govern. To do that, the public must be able to see and authenticate essential processes, like who actually voted and the vote count, and that is not possible with Internet voting.

Internet voting transfers all control to whoever runs the server. (The server is just a computer that sits in a room --- and one Internet voting company, Scytl, has its server physically sitting in Spain.)

Internet voting gives the administrator complete control over the front end (who put the votes into the system) and the back end (the counting of the votes).

Internet voting is trying to come on with a vengeance, and not just in California. It is now imminent. Unless we are vigilant, many of us will be forced to vote online in 2014 and 2016. Lobbyists are at work to persuade your legislators to install Internet voting.

Political support has been secured from officials in several states. The governor of Hawaii has announced he wants Internet voting. Secretaries of State from Connecticut, West Virginia, Washington, and Oregon are already pushing online voting, and soon you'll hear about it near you. Federal bills promise cash to states that "expedite" their voting systems, with vague language as to what that means.

Because Americans are skeptical about Internet voting, politicians and reporters describe it as "smart phone voting" and "iPad voting." They also call it "convenience voting" but what they don't tell us is that, in exchange for convenience, we will lose the ability to self-govern.

To put this into blunt terms: It's not whether Internet Voting is or isn't secure. (It's not, but that's actually beside the point.) It's whether you, or anybody else, can ever know that it's secure. And the hard, cold, scientific fact is that you cannot.

More on "Ting's Thing" from BBV here...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Steve Schneider on 1/12/2013 1:15pm PT  

Last week we asked (mostly) satirically: "If Lincoln ends up winning this year’s Best Picture Oscar, how early in the night will Karl Rove admit it?"

Well, now, given the Academy's latest Titanic disaster, a certain Hollywood blogger would be within her rights to say, "TOLDJA!"

The Oscar nominations that were announced last Thursday provided clear evidence that the experiment with Internet Voting by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was exactly the disaster some members had expected --- and that the reason wasn't technological befuddlement on the part of older voters, as AMPAS had unpersuasively claimed. Rather, the problem was a simply crummy online voting system that stymied the ballot-casting efforts of even computer-savvy "youngsters" like documentarian Morgan Spurlock.

The nominations list is so devoid of internal consistency and logic that show-biz pundits are using terms like "baffling" to describe it. That's a far cry from the supposed cross-category bias toward edgier, more youthfully skewing pictures we were supposed to see after the Academy's old guard supposedly gave up on learning how to use the Internet. Instead, the lack of any pattern whatsoever to the noms shows that Internet Voting was every bit the nightmare for the Oscars that it has been for the American and even the Canadian elections systems as a whole, as The BRAD BLOG has detailed for many years.

But so far, it seems, no mainstream journalist or Academy member is willing to voice the unavoidable conclusion that this year's contest is now hopelessly tainted, and its results even more meaningless than usual. If your nominations basically represent a compendium of votes that were able to get past a firewall of interface and design ineptitude --- not to mention the votes of anybody else who might have inappropriately succeeded in entering and perverting the system --- legitimacy for this year's supposed winners is now largely gone with the wind.

Of course, Oscar results have never been overseeable or "verifiable" by the public. Unlike organizations like the National Society of Film Critics, the Academy doesn't reveal the number of votes received by each winner, nor does it even name the runners-up. It's always lacked the transparency required for legitimacy of any small "d" democratic "election". But under the old, paper-ballot-only system, at least Pricewaterhouse Coopers (the pedigreed professional-services firm that is AMPAS' official vote tabulator and certifier) could see with their own eyes who had won. We could either trust their accounting or not.

But now, not even they know who won or lost, since there's no way for them to verify the accuracy or completeness or integrity of the online vote by the time it got to them. Thus, nobody --- least of all the Academy --- will ever know who "won" the Oscars. Ever!

The calamitous insecurity of untransparent e-voting --- whether in person at the polls or via the Internet --- is something interested parties are loathe to acknowledge. That's why opportunistic companies like Everyone Counts --- which provided the Oscar voting software despite their rich history of gumming up the works in more important, governmental races --- get to fail ever upward.

If we as a society can't cry foul when a shady but well-connected software firm louses up something as comparatively inconsequential as the Academy Awards, how are we ever going to confront the reality of what they and their ilk are doing to our democracy?

Read my full story on this year's epic Oscar Internet Voting collapse, posted at Orlando Weekly, right here. It starts this way:

Aaaaand now it's official: We will never, ever know who really won this year's Oscars.

That's because we'll never know who was even nominated...

* * *

Steve Schneider is an Orlando-based media critic who writes about the intersection of popular culture and public policy. He holds a master's degree in Media, Culture & Communication from New York University. Read his blog, "Vision Thing", at Orlando Weekly and follow him on Twitter: @Schneider_Stv.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Steve Schneider on 1/7/2013 6:05am PT  

Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) had to extend its deadline for Oscar nominations, after outlets like The Hollywood Reporter spread the news of extensive difficulties with AMPAS' new online voting system.

Yes, Oscar has caught the dreaded Internet Voting disease, and it seems to be working out about as well as it did for Canada in 2012 and just slightly better (as far as we know) than it did for Washington D.C. back in 2010 or for Honolulu in 2009 (where the same company ran that particular Internet Voting disaster.)

From rejected passwords and missed deadlines to fears of system hacks and depressed participation, the whole thing has apparently been a colossal clusterfudge --- not to mention a chilling echo of the catastrophic insecurity of the American election system as a whole in the age of electronic balloting.

Of course, AMPAS should have known better when they hired the disastrous Everyone Counts outfit to run their Internet Voting scheme. But this would hardly be the first time the Academy swooned over the influence of a former Washington power broker. The revolving door between the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and Everyone Counts may finally be paying off for the Internet Voting democracy-be-damned company.

Making the situation even worse, AMPAS and its surrogates have attempted to recast the meltdown of their system as mere techno-confusion on the part of older Academy members, thus smearing anyone concerned for the legitimacy of this year's Oscar as a clueless adversary of "progress."

Sound familiar?

Watching this offensive and destructive meme take hold everywhere from Deadline Hollywood to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is a sobering reminder of how important it is to fight for paper balloting in every governmental contest in the nation, and how much P.R. firepower we'll have to overcome in the process.

Read my full story on the entire fine mess, posted at Orlando Weekly, right here. It starts this way:

If Lincoln ends up winning this year’s Best Picture Oscar, how early in the night will Karl Rove admit it?

* * *

UPDATE 1/12/13: It's official. The "baffling" nominations are now out and no one can ever know who really won this year's Oscars. Details now here...

* * *

Steve Schneider is an Orlando-based media critic who writes about the intersection of popular culture and public policy. He holds a master's degree in Media, Culture & Communication from New York University. Read his blog, "Vision Thing", at Orlando Weekly and follow him on Twitter: @Schneider_Stv.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Also allows ink for 'Internet Voting' voting shill, lobbyist...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2012 4:33pm PT  

Meanwhile, as the War Over Which Americans Get to Exercise Their Right to Vote rages on, concern about how the votes of those who do get to vote, will (or won't) be tabulated, goes largely unnoticed. Again.

USA Today takes a moment to mention that point in an unbylined editorial headlined 'Electronic voting is the real threat to elections'. Their headline may understate the very real concerns about access to the polls, because these two issues --- both access to the polls and accurate, transparent tabulation of ballots --- have always been two sides of the same coin.

Both issues must be assured for an election with anything close to integrity.

But, given the, necessarily, extraordinary focus on the first issue this year, access, it's nice that the paper has taken a moment to highlight just a few of the continuing causes of concern for the actual tabulation of votes. Nothing has gotten better since 2010 or 2008 or even 2004. We've covered all of the examples for reasons to be concerned that they point to in the editorial, of course, and many more, over the years here at The BRAD BLOG.

And, naturally, since the paper is still a corporate media outlet, they just had to "balance" their fairly decent, fact-based editorial with an additional "opposing view" editorial, filled with a bunch of misleading, dishonest bullshit about Internet Voting, of all things, from a corporate lobbyist hack...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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TONIGHT: Big Govt Cyber Spying with CISPA; The Fight to Vote; Secret Money Wins 2012; What 'Divided Nation?'; MUCH MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2012 2:35pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives from tonight's show below!]

Mike's got the night off, so we're back in tonight guest-hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show on your public airwaves, on the Internet (streaming links below) and on SiriusXM ch. 127!

As usual, we'll be BradCasting, LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight:

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (use code 55447 when asked). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fun show tonight! Hope you'll agree! All three "hours" are now posted below, commercial-free! Enjoy!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2012 8:05am PT  

No matter the strongest admonitions against it, for years, by virtually all computer science and security experts to offer an opinion on it --- ya know, the folks who actually know how this stuff works, or doesn't --- proponents of Internet Voting are relentless in their advocacy. Kind of how the proponents of polling place e-voting used to tell us that such schemes were tamper-proof, error-free and much more secure than paper.

No matter how many Internet Voting schemes fall flat on their face (voter participation plummeted 83% when Honolulu tried it), get entirely hacked (even by computers in Iran and China) or are taken down by a 10,000 computer denial of service attack (but that was in Canada, so no biggie, right?), some seem to care so little about transparent, oversee-able democracy and self-governance, that they are willing to risk entire elections and the verifiable votes of the citizenry in order to carry out such dangerous and ill-considered adventures.

And so, yet again, with all of those warnings ignored, we find another online election has been wholly compromised --- and now cancelled --- after it was discovered that a business school student hacked into it and stole hundreds of passwords and IDs, so that he could fix the results of the election...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2012 12:01am PT  

From The Gazette in Montreal...

OTTAWA — A large-scale cyber-attack involving more than 10,000 computers was responsible for the online polling problems during Saturday's NDP leadership vote, according to Scytl Canada, the company contracted by the party to conduct the vote.

While the attack in no way compromised the sanctity of the vote — in other words, no ballots cast by bona fide NDP members were added, subtracted or changed — Scytl indicated in a statement Tuesday that the attack was an attempt to crash or slow down websites by "saturating servers with bogus external communications requests that deny legitimate users access" — otherwise known as a distributed denial of service attack.

And we know the attack by 10,000 computers "in no way compromised the sanctity of the vote" how, exactly? Well, because they say so, silly!

We know Scytl's elections are secure because, as we noted in January when the Spanish-based company purchased S.O.E., the largest "election management company" in the U.S. (they do online results reporting, etc.), they told us so in their own press release announcing the acquisition. And they told us twice! They couldn't tell us they were secure unless they really were! Am I right, Sequoia Voting Systems?

Other than that --- oh, and other than this --- voting by Internet is a great idea! Am I right, Americans Elect and Michael Eisner?

The Gazette also goes on to note at the end of their coverage:

While voter turnout was low — only about half the NDP's 131,000 members voted in advance, online or from the convention floor — officials have insisted it wasn't related to the slowdown.

Oh, well, if officials insisted, then certainly they must be right about that.

"Democracy by Internet: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" TM

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Computer expert: 'Secure Internet Voting' is a bit like the phrase 'safe cigarettes'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/21/2012 8:56am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Brad Friedman has often compared the task of Election Integrity (EI) advocates to a game of Whac-A-Mole. One moment they expose an "it's the machines transparency, stupid" moment when the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touchscreens announced that the unemployed and virtually unknown Alvin Greene had somehow defeated the respected circuit judge and former state legislator Vic Rawl in the 2010 South Carolina Senate Democratic Primary. The next moment we learned that DC officials had planned a live experiment to use "an untested and unverifiable Internet Voting scheme on real voters, in a real election…" --- an experiment that Friedman described as "insane."

More than 16 months after that disastrous experiment came to a crashing halt following a spectacular hack, as initially reported by The BRAD BLOG, the PBS News Hour produced a short documentary, Internet Voting: Will Democracy or Hackers Win? (see video below), which touched upon the D.C. Internet Voting Hack.

The now-legendary hack was carried out by a team of white-hat hackers, led by Univ. of MI Computer Science Prof. J. Alex Halderman. Within hours after D.C.'s 2010 Internet Voting scheme was opened to the world for a hack test (just days before it was scheduled to go live for the real thing), Halderman and his team of U. of M. students found and exploited a vulnerability which gave his group almost total control of the server software, allowing them to rewrite every single ballot and even take over command of the security cameras inside the D.C. server room. Team Halderman not only acquired the ability to change votes and install the Univ. of MI fight song to be played at the end of every vote cast, but discovered and thwarted an intrusion attempt by Chinese and Iranian computers.

Disturbingly, the new PBS documentary also reveals that, despite the spectacular failure and warnings from virtually every computer science and security expert, election and Pentagon officials are still pressing forward with what MIT Prof. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Ronald L. Rivest describes, as seen in the short PBS report, as an "oxytopian" solution. "'Secure Internet voting,'" Rivest charges, "is a bit like the phrase 'safe cigarettes'"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Duncan Buell on 1/23/2012 1:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Duncan Buell

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina recently screened Patriocracy, a new film by Brian Malone, who attended the screening and participated in a question and answer event afterward. The film focuses on the question of whether the US political system is broken because politics have become too partisan and the unwillingness of polarized groups to compromise.

My primary motivation in writing this review stems from a segment of the film that featured Americans Elect COO Elliot Ackerman making the familiar and discredited argument that if we can bank and shop online we can vote online.

If one were doing a film about cures for cancer, and time were given to someone explaining theories of the arrangement of crystals around the patient, the science would be called into question. If one were doing a film about nuclear energy and time were given to someone explaining that the answer lay in extending the half life of uranium by a factor of four to six, the science would be called into question. If one were doing a film about the possible evils of the Citizens United decision of SCOTUS, and time were given to someone discussing how to have the House of Representatives solve the problem by passing a law, then the legal judgement would be called into question, and the judgement of the filmmaker would be called into question in permitting a bogus argument like that to be included in what was purported to be a legitimate film.

However, as is so often the case, the film did not find it necessary to call into question the science (or lack) of Internet security. So I asked Malone the question of who his computer security experts were, and what their credentials were, that would have led him to include a technical statement about Internet voting in his film about political matters...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2012 8:05am PT  

This distressing news was flagged for us by Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org late Friday...

SCYTL, the global leader in secure electronic voting technologies, announced today the acquisition of 100% of SOE Software, the leading software provider of election management solutions in the United States. The integration of these two software companies creates the industry leader in the election software market with a full range of solutions covering from Internet voting to election night reporting

And how do we know SCYTL's electronic (Internet!) "voting technologies" are "secure"? Well, they tell us so themselves -- twice --- in their press release, silly!

SCYTL is a technology company specializing in the development of secure electronic voting and election modernization solutions. Based in Barcelona and with offices in Baltimore, Toronto, New Delhi...[blah, blah, blah]

They couldn't just say it was "secure" if it wasn't! Right?!

In any case, here's a bit of the red flag Harris waved on Friday to help unpack what all of this actually means for the future of what's left of our small-d "democratic" elections...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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(Unless you don't read The BRAD BLOG)
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/15/2011 7:00am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Neither the recent claim made by anonymous hacker, Abhaxas, that he/she had hacked into Florida's e-voting database nor the efforts by FL election officials to minimize the breach of its system comes as a surprise to The BRAD BLOG.

In fact, minimization of the vulnerability following the reported hack calls to mind what Roger G. Johnston, Ph.D of the Argonne National Laboratory describes as the Arrogance Maxim:

The ease of defeating a security device or system is proportional to how confident/arrogant the designer, manufacturer, or user is about it, and to how often they use words like "impossible" or "tamper-proof".

One would think that Abhaxas had Johnson's Arrogance Maxim in mind. As reported by Doug Chapin of the University of MN, the anonymous hacktivist responded to the official denials by hacking into the FL voting system a second time; posting "a directory listing of the Florida database with the (sarcastic) observation 'Glad you cleaned up, pretty secure now guys'."

As an encore, Abhaxas then hacked into Montana's government website, where he/she exposed 16 databases.

While Chapin acknowledges the vulnerability exposed by the hack, once again, as is his habit over the years, Chapin draws the entirely wrong lessons in pointing to the need for better training and security procedures...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Startling testimony offered by the U. of Michigan computer science professor whose team penetrated D.C.'s 'pilot program' server for what was to have been a live election beginning in just days...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2010 6:05am PT  

A University of Michigan computer scientist and his team were not the only ones attempting to hack the Internet Vote scheme that Washington D.C. had planned to roll out for actual use with military and overseas voters in this November's mid-term election.

According to testimony given to a D.C. City Council committee last Friday by J. Alex Halderman, asst. professor of electrical engineering and computer science at University of Michigan, hackers from Iran and China were also attempting to access the very same network infrastructure, even as his own team of students had successfully done so, taking over the entirety of the Internet Voting system which had been opened for a first-of-its-kind live test.

[See our report last week on details of what had already been disclosed about Halderman's startling hack prior to last Friday's hearing.]

"While we were in control of these systems we observed other attack attempts originating from computers in Iran and China," Halderman testified. "These attackers were attempting to guess the same master password that we did. And since it was only four letters long, they would likely have soon succeeded."

In his stunning public testimony --- before a single member of the D.C. Board of Ethics and Elections (BoEE), and a nearly empty chamber --- Halderman explained how the team had, by the time they discovered their fellow intruders, already gained complete control of the system, it's encryption key and its passwords. The system was developed as part of an Internet Voting pilot program with the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation.

As The BRAD BLOG reported last week, Halderman's team was able to take over the system within 36 hours after it had gone live for testing. After having "found and exploited a vulnerability that gave [them] almost total control of the server software," his team was able to steal the encryption key needed to decode "secret" ballots; overwrite every single ballot cast on the test system; change the votes on those ballots to write-in candidates; discover who had already been voted for and the identities of the voters; install a script that would automatically change all votes cast in the future on the same system; install a backdoor to allow them to come back later; and then leave a "calling card" --- the University of Michigan fight song --- which was programmed to play in the voter's browser 15 seconds after each Internet ballot had been cast.

But the new disclosures offered before the committee on Friday, including the hack attempts by computers in China and Iran, may have been as explosive, if not more so, than the previous revelations. They certainly illustrate and underscore a grave national security threat present in electronic voting systems such as the one D.C. had planned to use, as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories computer scientist and cyber-security expert Dr. David Jefferson told me during an interview last Friday night on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show which I was guest hosting last week.

The hack of the system forced the D.C. election administrators to shut down their plans for the pilot program which was to have gone live in days, as encouraged and partially funded by the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which allocated millions of dollars for such Internet Voting pilot programs.

The revelations of the intrusion attempts from China and Iran, however, would not be the only new, previously unreported bombshells Halderman offered during his Friday testimony...

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University of Michigan's J. Alex Halderman fesses up...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2010 10:29pm PT  

As we posited in our coverage yesterday of D.C.'s Internet Voting scheme which was hacked with the University of Michigan fight song just days after experts had warned against the entire scheme, J. Alex Halderman, asst. professor of electronic engineering and computer science at the university, was, indeed, at the heart of the hack.

He details tonight that he and a small team of students were happy to participate in the test that D.C. election officials had announced, with just three days notice, inviting hackers to try and penetrate the system they planned to use this November, as developed with the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation.

Halderman writes in his explanation of how they did it:

Within 36 hours of the system going live, our team had found and exploited a vulnerability that gave us almost total control of the server software, including the ability to change votes and reveal voters’ secret ballots.

And if you think that's chilling, Halderman goes on to note that all cast ballots on the system were modified and overwritten with write-in votes, all passwords taken --- including the encryption key, which e-voting supporters constantly suggest will keep such systems safe --- before they went on to install a back door to let them view any votes cast later, after their attack, along with the names of voters and whom they voted for...

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Latest incident in long, growing list of e-vote hack events...
[UPDATED: Hacker fesses up, took total control of system]
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2010 12:27pm PT  

Last week we told you about D.C.'s intention of running an insane live experiment on live voters in a live election with an untested, wholly unverifiable, easily-manipulated Internet Voting scheme this November, and about just some of the computer security and election experts who have been desperately trying to warn them against it.

And now we find out that the very short planned pre-election test phase, in which hackers were invited to try to manipulate the system, has been abruptly aborted in the wake of a, um, disturbing (if not wholly unpredictable) development.

The failed system in D.C. was developed with the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation, an outfit that is working with election officials around the country to push Internet Voting everywhere, along with other computerized voting schemes. Simply because a system is "open source" does not mean it's secure, particularly when it relies on concealed vote counting, as all of their e-vote schemes do.

Below, along with our quick list of other recent known e-voting hack events, computer scientist Jeremy Epstein in "The Risks Digest," which describes itself as a "Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems," offers the quick timeline of recent developments in the District of Columbia's plan "against advice from many computer scientists, pursuing a trial of a prototype system for the November election."

The result, as seen below, in this latest assault on citizen-overseeable democracy is, of course, a stunning surprise to absolutely nobody other than perhaps the D.C. election officials interested in this horrific scheme and the profiteers who must have tricked them into believing that it was a secure and/or good idea [emphasis added]...

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As if U.S. elections aren't disastrous enough as is...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2010 5:18pm PT  

Along with the madness of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and Vote-by-Mail, Internet Voting is the other scheme/virus that makes my head explode --- as if the existing e-voting system we already use in the U.S. isn't unverifiable, unoverseeable and susceptible enough to malfeasance and malfunction as is.

So with the little patience I can muster to even mention this latest particular nightmare at all today, I'll defer to Washington Post's coverage yesterday --- sure to be ignored until it's too late ("Who could have foreseen it?!") --- of the experts' latest warnings against D.C.'s planned live democracy experiment of using an untested and unverifiable Internet Voting scheme on real voters, in a real election, beginning in just a few weeks.

The WaPo column includes this explanation of two letters sent to D.C. officials this week, urging them to take a different path...

The first missive [PDF] questions whether the digital vote by mail system is "voter-verifiable," as required under the city's new election laws. The voter has no way of confirming that the ballot he or she sent is the same one that is counted by elections officials, the letter argues.

The second letter [PDF] raises sharp concerns over the vulnerability to infiltration by hackers, calling the new system a "poorly conceived experiment" that "imperils the overall accuracy of every election on the ballot."

The letter continues: "Return of marked ballots over the Internet is something we simply don't know how to do safely. Exercises such as this are counterproductive, because they will provide a false sense of security to the [D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics], while the real problems lie undetected."

Four advil and three shots of vodka please.

* * *

UPDATE 10/4/10: Aaaaand...whaddaya know, D.C. Internet Vote scheme --- the one experts above were warning about --- gets hacked. Who could have forseen it?! Details here...

* * *

Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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