(Or At Least Claim They Will)
Refuse to Provide Source Code for Secret Voting Machine Software to State
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2005, 11:39pm PT  

In North Carolina, Diebold had been attempting to get a special court order allowing them to get around NC's law requiring that Voting Machine Companies hand over their source code for their secret software to be kept in escrow in the event of a problem later. North Carolina has had many recently, including the complete loss of some 4500+ votes in Cartaret County during the Nov. '04 Presidential Election which led to a Re-Vote in the county.

Thanks to efforts by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the court has now ruled against Diebold's requested dispensation from state law. Now Diebold claims they are going to have to get out of the state entirely. Glad to hear it. If it's true. Other Voting Machine Companies have complied with the law, apparently, so what's Diebold's problem? Do they have something they wish to hide in that source code?

We may never know...AP reports:

"We will obviously have no alternative but withdraw from the process," said Doug Hanna, a Raleigh-based lawyer representing North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold.
...
That's not possible for Diebold's machines, which use Microsoft Windows, Hanna said. The company does not have the right to provide Microsoft's code, he said, adding it would be impossible to provide the names of every programmer who worked on Windows. (MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

The State Board of Elections has told potential suppliers to provide code for all available software and explain why some is unavailable. That's not enough of an assurance for Diebold

You'll pardon me, but I'm a bit of a computer programmer myself, and I understand the difference between providing source code that one has written versus source code for an entire operating system (like Windows) and/or third-party tools which are used to perform various generic tasks called by the program itself.

If Diebold had nothing to hide or fear, they would simply turn over their full source code to the state to be put into escrow, with the explanation that they do not have the access to (or legal permission to provide, even if they did) the source code to copyrighted third-party software. The state of North Carolina wasn't asking for that as far as I can tell, and an open admission to that --- as allowed by the state law --- should more than have covered Diebold from any liabilities concerning that third-party software.

That said, I'm glad to hear of their apparent threats to pull out of North Carolina entirely. And with that, I hope every other state in the union will immediately apply the same requirement in their state and let Diebold get back to the business of making ATM machines with open software which provides a paper record of every transaction. Apparently, they're quite good at that.

UPDATE: Jamie at IntoxiNation has more along the same lines...