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By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2012 2:15pm PT  

Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.

"Several tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney's tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital," Bello and Fitrakis wrote. "A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O'Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election."

Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.

Hart's announcement of the deal describes H.I.G.'s role as as "co-investors", though the financial services firm which brokered the deal described it in their own announcement as a full-fledged acquisition: "Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital late last week. The deal caps off a 2+ year relationship with Hart! Congrats to both Hart and the HIG team….its going to be a great partnership!"

Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney's close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] --- and often 100% unverifiable --- voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. [Pakman's video is embedded below.]

When the story initially broke, I spoke about it on the radio with Fitrakis, but didn't comment on it at The BRAD BLOG for a number of reasons. One being the time we've been spending, during the same period, consumed by the continuing breaking story of the RNC/Romney consultant Nathan Sproul and his companies at the center of the national GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal which we've been covering in detail since it first broke several weeks ago. Secondly, and not to downplay this story, because it's a very good and important one, the fact is that, though the names of the corporate titans and companies are different, it is essentially the same story that we have been telling here, over and over again --- and warning about with hair afire --- at The BRAD BLOG for nearly a decade.

Moreover, I've been on the road all this week for a conference, with much less time online than usual. But since so many folks have picked up on the Romney/Bain/H.I.G./Hart Intercivic stories and have sent email and Twitter queries to me about it, allow me to very quickly share a few thoughts, on this, some of which I sent to a reporter who also raised this issue with me late this week...

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

ReddIt this story!



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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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

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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 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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