×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

157 comments

Honestly (2, Insightful)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190606)

What options do you have to protect your self from Van eck phreaking? Lead casing? Foil voting boxes? Honest replies welcome.

Re:Honestly (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190618)

Condoms.

Yours in failed democracy.

K. Trout.

Re:Honestly (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190622)

Copper mesh or metal plating on the case tied to the ground. Chokes on all connections. If touchscreen, you could be screwed since it might not like a copper mesh but if it isn't covered it becomes an emitter.

Re:Honestly (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190962)

In addition to a Faraday cage as you suggest, the NSA recommends scrambling the least significant bit of the image to increase the difficulty of descrambling.

Re:Honestly (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192164)

There are two pictures in wikipedia. [wikipedia.org] I've been voting on these since I was 16, there's no touchscreen, just a grayscale LCD and a numeric keypad with braille marks and aditional keys to confirm, cancel or choose NOTA (none of the above), aka "votar em branco" (in Brazil voting is mandatory).

Re:Honestly (2, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192492)

Good pictures. It looks like a newer version could be made to limit the emissions quite nicely. It might also be possible to retrofit the existing machines with shielding including a false front to extend the keypad buttons (but not the switches) through the shield.

At the busiest polling places it probably wouldn't be as much problem as many people would be using many identical machines at once. It would be hard to know who did what.

A tone generator connected to a transmitter might be able to simply jam the signals as well saving a redesign.

Re:Honestly (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190626)

It's simple. just throw out the person with the radar dish, oscilliscope, and notepad.

Re:Honestly (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191864)

Exactly so.

The equipment to carry out this snooping is easily spotted, and more easily foiled.

With more than one voting station in the room, said eaves dropper could never distinguish one vote from the other, and could certainly not CHANGE the results.

You would be better able to guess how persons voted by the color of their tie. http://www.tie-necktie-video.com/tie-color.html [tie-necktie-video.com]

Re:Honestly (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192618)

The equipment to carry out this snooping is easily spotted, and more easily foiled.

mmm... let's not rely on that. More sophisticated and less bulk solutions may arise in the future, and with the potential to tamper with the electoral process, it's possible we might see some serious effort going into creating such solutions.

and could certainly not CHANGE the results.

The concern is that you wouldn't need to change anything. "Vote for me or I break your legs. I will know how you vote."

Re:Honestly (2, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192438)

You could also view votes with a video camera in the ceiling and it would also give you a picture of the top of the person's head to help with identification. This would also work to reveal paper ballots as well as electronic machines. Think of the children! You could also ask people how they voted when they left the polling place and most people would just tell you! Some would lie but only because you were ugly. In other news, most people don't vote; those who do vote are uninformed; and the only votes that really count is the money that comes from corporations. I know it's Sunday but it's raining here and I don't have anything better to do than read this drivel.

(Note to moderators... I'm going for funny here but feel free to mark as 'stupid'.)

Re:Honestly (4, Interesting)

robbak (775424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190674)

Several ideas. Of course, use LCDs, as the CRT circuitry is the bad one. Shield the data connections so they don't radiate too much. Make the connections that transmit unencrypted data short. Use low-contrast fonts, so the sharp edges do not cause large voltage (and therefore EMI) spikes. Randomise the low bits of data shown on the screen, so you create obfuscating noise.

Maybe you have to go as far as have a white noise transmitter to mask what you cannot elimiate. Plenty of room to move. Good on them for having such a contest - it flushed out all the 'Ooh, I didn't think of that' problems.

Re:Honestly (3, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190980)

Of course, use LCDs, as the CRT circuitry is the bad one.

Wikipedia would disagree [wikipedia.org] with an annoying PDF [cam.ac.uk].

Re:Honestly (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191692)

Actually, the same site that PDF came from says the biggest source from LCDs is the video cable, especially if the signal is all digital. This would be an improvement over a CRT because the CRT will shares the video cable problem.

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/emsec/softtempest-faq.html [cam.ac.uk]
My experience so far has been that with LCDs, the video cable is the most significant source of radiated information leakage. Where an analogue video cable (with 15-pin VGA connector) is used, low-pass filtered fonts have the same benefits as with CRTs. Where a purely digital video cable is used (DVI-D, laptop-internal displays with FPD/LVDS links, etc.) only the last step, namely randomizing the least-significant bits, should be implemented.

Where the video signal is entirely encoded in digital form, the low-pass filtered step will not have the desired effect. In fact, it can actually increase the differences between the signal generated by individual characters, and thereby make automatic radio character recognition more reliable.

I suspect there is already an encrypted standard for digital monitor signals so implementing that, even if you have a leaky connection, should probably thwart most attempts to intercept. Then considering that the video images during voting are fairly static, you could probably set up extra circuitry where you don't have to continually transmit the entire screen ever x times a second, just what changes, and only when it changes. Or you could even transmit parts of the screen out of order.

But just switching to LCD and focusing on securing the connection would be an improvement over CRT.

Re:Honestly (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191164)

Low-contrast fonts are probably right out, since you don't want to disenfranchise old folks and others with vision problems.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30191706)

Low-contrast fonts are probably right out, since you don't want to disenfranchise old folks and others with vision problems.

but do we really want their votes to be counted? when you only go outside to vote and yell at kids (damn kids on the lawn!), deciding who makes public policy should be off the table.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192310)

Dude, you're posting on Slashdot. Most of us don't even go outside to vote, and don't care if there are kids on our parents' lawn.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192080)

How about using a method of voting that is fraud proof, costs almost nothing, and gives instant results at the end of the voting without any need for manual counting?

The Robinson Voting Method.

http://paul-robinson.us/index.php?blog=5&title=the_robinson_method_a_really_simple_way_&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Re:Honestly (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190690)

Easy. Take the machine, hollow them out, put a board in and use their shell as a guard from prying eyes for pen&paper voting. The manufacturers of the machines get the money and we get secure and anonymous voting.

Re:Honestly (2, Informative)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190730)

Not much really. While it is possible to effectively protect a device from such snooping it is very expensive due to the testing and handling requirements. I don't see it on the link but I think there is a commercial Tempest standard.

http://www.eskimo.com/~joelm/tempestintro.html [eskimo.com]

The page has good info and you can try the anti-Tempest fonts for a grin. It's based on the paper also referenced on that page.

Fonts where? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191254)

The anti-TEMPEST fonts seem to have been withdrawn:

Q: Where can I download low-pass filtered Soft Tempest fonts

Unfortunately, the existing font display mechanics in operating systems does not make it possible to implement this protection technique simply by installing a new font file.

For this reason, I am not providing any filtered font files.

Re:Honestly (1)

jambarama (784670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190756)

Not only that, but no device will ever be "perfectly safe." That phrase doesn't appear in TFA, it shouldn't have been put in the summary. If someone has to resort to Van Eck phreaking just to eavesdrop on polling because an open hacking competition yielded no vulnerabilities, it sounds pretty darn safe. Publicizing the vulnerability is still a good thing, maybe someone will be able to come up with a reasonable defense, but it doesn't sound like a showstopper to me.

Re:Honestly (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191162)

The reasonable defense is a simple enclosure with a door - line the enclosure and door with tempest. Each voter closes the door while they vote.

Encrypted link back to head office, jobs done.

Re:Honestly (3, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191622)

Exactly. It's pretty safe. This shows that a random citizen is unlikely to give an election to Mickey Mouse on a whim.

Instead it would take someone with significant knowledge and even serious funding to sway an election. Probably not just a someone, but even an organization.

So the only way this could ever effect elections would be if there were an organization or group of conspiring individuals with significant monetary resources - AND for that group of people to feel that swaying an election would be in their interest - AND for that group of people to then be so immoral as to decide to do so.

Clearly such a confluence of conditions is so wildly improbable that we can effectively rule out its possibility.

Re:Honestly (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191794)

Right. Of course these machines are vulnerable to Van Eck phreaking. Pretty much everything with a CRT and a lot of LCDs are vulnerable. That's barely more of a true security flaw than the fact that the machines are vulnerable to hiding a camera in the poling booth.

Cryptonomicon (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190820)

What options do you have to protect your self from Van eck phreaking? Lead casing? Foil voting boxes?

Honest replies welcome.

Put rubbish on the screen and send all your actual output through the caps lock LED with xled.

Not very useful outside in the real world, I know.

Re:Honestly (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190860)

LCD screens are also sensitive... so I'd say maybe... Monochrome 640x480 LED Matrix and custom video chips.... or "Split-Flap type display" as seen here http://www.salient.com.au/products-splitflap.htm [salient.com.au] ... maybe some sort of adapted nixie tubes as seen here : http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/calculator_displays.html#ColdCathode [vintagecalculators.com]

Re:Honestly (1)

AnotherBrian (319405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191444)

Split-flap displays make a little click when they change characters. Given some of the known words sequences that will be displayed, variations in the sound of each click, and variations in the timing due to the addressing of the characters, I'm sure complete displays could be reconstructed.

Re:Honestly (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191018)

The NSA Tempest guidelines are probably sufficient.

Of course, the requirements are potentially made weaker by what you're eavesdropping. Tempest is written assuming that eavesdropping is a problem, but that's not true with voting -- it's only a problem if you are then able to associate votes with individuals.

Re:Honestly (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192326)

Reading through the comments, it stroke me the same. Van Eck phreaking can't be a problem because it provides literally the same information as exit polls.

... it's only a problem if you are then able to associate votes with individuals.

What again is not a problem if one votes in densely populated area: emission from many voting machines would mix making it hard to differentiate a vote on a single machine.

It might be the problem with VIPs. But for the case one can really go extra mile and install proper shielding.

Re:Honestly (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192336)

emission from many voting machines would mix making it hard to differentiate a vote on a single machine.

Stupid idea #523: equip the voting machine with say two extra displays on the back and make them show some obfuscation video sequence so that it would be hard (if feasible at all) to tell what the hell is going on on the first main screen.

Re:Honestly (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192358)

some obfuscation video sequence

Or better yet the voting machine might emulate on the auxiliary displays the process of user voting for a random option.

Even if information can be still gathered, it would be heavily watered down by the fake voting information from the extra displays.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30191094)

Encryption. Same thing as your web browser. Treat the monitor and the PC like Alice and Bob. From the linked Wikipedia source in the article summary [#4]

In both cases, the video cable used to connect the display panel with the
graphics controller turned out to be the primary source of the leaking signal.

Re:Honestly (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191594)

Randomize the image for each voting.

This will make it a lot harder to decide the selection for each individual voter since the image will be different for each voter.

So - yes you may be able to recognize that a voted did make a selection but you won't know what the selection really was unless you have some very expensive equipment.

And as a voter I wouldn't be too worried about that kind of eavesdropping. Who besides the authorities would really be interested in the vote of an individual person bad enough to use the Van Eck phreaking method to see which option that was selected? There are easier methods - like hidden cameras.

And also - the Van Eck phreaking method won't impact the actual vote, so you can't change the outcome of the election using that.

Re:Honestly (1)

StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191700)

a: Visit your local feed store.

b: Buy 100 meters of chicken wire.

c: Wrap voting booths.

I am of course being somewhat sarcastic. But not much. If you ground a wire cage as described you'd be fine. The question I'm hazy about is what frequencies are being scanned. You may need something with a finer mesh than chicken wire. Now that I actually consider it, this might also just reduce the range of the scan, rather than eliminate the possibility. Any EE's care to enlighten?

Re:Honestly (1)

fgrieu (596228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191968)

> What options do you have to protect your self from Van eck phreaking?

One option to consider seriously is: paper ballot inserted, in a voting booth protected by opaque curtain, into an opaque paper envelope, which is then publicly dropped into a transparent urn, which is left under public view during the voting, and publicly shaked before the counting process.

That's how 90% of the votes are cast in France for decades [the "transparent" bit was added some 45 years ago]. Not only is it secure against Van Eck phreaking before its invention, it has great resilience against many kinds of fraud, and most voters are able to understand and check the process.

You still have to guard against quite a few things, including
* unsuitably opaque envelopes;
* bulletins printed on paper of different color/size/material [even if the envelope is opaque, it is usually not sealed, and sometime some portion of the bulletin (hopefully the back side, if the bulletin is folded) may be glanced at thru the opening; also the weight/stiffness of the bulletin may be revealing]
* hidden cameras in the voting booth; including those built into cellphones held by the voter [because the voter could be trying to prove what (s)he voted [in order to sell her/his vote or avoid retaliation if s/he did not vote as instructed].

Actually, in some locations much closer to you than half the circumference of planet earth, it may happen that voters are threatened to be beaten/killed is they do not vote as instructed; and maybe, on election day, a few of those who voted could be beaten publicly (often: regardless of what they actually voted, or based on their perceived opinion), in order to make the threat credible to those who did not vote yet. In these circumstances, the voters must be able to really trust the secrecy of their vote.

François Grieu

Re:Honestly (1)

greyc (709363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192666)

hidden cameras in the voting booth; including those built into cellphones held by the voter [because the voter could be trying to prove what (s)he voted [in order to sell her/his vote or avoid retaliation if s/he did not vote as instructed].

Trivial to fix: Hand out as many ballots to each voter as they ask for, but only allow them to drop one envelope into the urn. They can make as many fake votes as they want, and photograph them however they like, but there's no way for them to prove they really dropped whatever they photographed into the urn, as opposed to throwing it away and filling out another ballot with their real vote.

Re:Honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192086)

Farady cage around the screen if it is fine enough then even if the screen is of the touch veriety it should cause no problem
and decent quality screened leads or you could go one better and purposley radiate hi levels of crap at the right frequencys so that any little ouik trying to listen just gets crap i am sure that with a little bit of thought instead of blind panic it can be solved.

Re:Honestly (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192352)

If i read the article correctly he is Van ecking the keyboard, so randomizing the button->candidate mapping should be enough. However for Van ecking you build a Faraday cage around the device (a pita that may not be possible for voting booths you need to get in/out of), or use active electronic countermeasures, this is not 100% safe, as your basically engaging in a race of creating random noise, vs filtering it, but that is a race that the jammers can generally win so 99.999%, in addition as the detectors will have to use antennas of a certain length, it may be possible to use scanners to detect listening devices (that is a race you probably can't win, but it may be enough to scare people away from trying to do this for real.

Re:Honestly (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192630)

What options do you have to protect your self from Van eck phreaking?

As far as elections go, the best protection against Van eck phreaking is the paper ballot.

When you have poll-workers from each political party and lots of poll-watchers, it provides fair elections and really scales very well. The only thing that scales well when you have electronic voting is the ability to perpetrate fraud.

Whew, that was a close one... (4, Insightful)

robwgibbons (1455507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190640)

"Listening in" and actually breaking the security of the machine are two entirely different things. What's the most someone could do with this exploit? Basically it just allows for a more accurate exit-poll. As far as I see it, the machine's security has still yet to be bested.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190788)

Cut the power lines to any polling stations that aren't going in favor of your candidate. Or stage a fight outside, forcing police to intervene (and keeping the polling station closed for an hour or two). The line gets longer and longer, people are getting hot and tired, eventually they'll start going home. No fancy super-duper-20-foot-hacking skills needed.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190918)

1 - The machines have batteries.

2 - In Brazil, voting is mandatory, so no one is going home just because of the line. There is almost always a huge line.

Not saying that there is no scenario to disrupt the election. But not these two.

And also, to do something like you say, one would need to "listen" to many machines and to disrupt several that are not in your favour. It would be pretty difficult to hide.

I guess the most "promising" way of tampering with the elections would be trying to mess with the final counting - when they total all the polling stations.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

acheron12 (1268924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191076)

You don't need Van Eck phreaking for that. Mugabe reportedly cooked the Zimbabwean election by closing polling stations early in areas known to support his rivals. Seemed to work well enough for him - and that was traditional paper ballot voting fraud, no voting machines required.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (4, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190792)

What's the most someone could do with this exploit? Basically it just allows for a more accurate exit-poll.

Basically.. all of the reasons you want voting to be done anonymously apply here.

If you can couple the emissions at the location of the machine with the emissions from a particular user - say, their mobile phone's signature - then you can go back to forcing people to vote for X and make sure that they do, roughing them up as an example to the others you told to vote for X if you detected a vote for Y instead, without a need to plant something on them or leaving any trace.

In theory, anyway.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191180)

I remain skeptical. There are frequently dozens of people waiting to cast their vote in the room where the machine is and a dozens of rooms in schools that serve as election posts. I can't think of a way to filter one machine from another then match a vote caught with that technique with a person. Worse if you have to record and decode it afterwards.

No technology will prevent that (4, Insightful)

lwoggardner (825111) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191184)

Not to say that secrecy isn't important, but once it requires a certain level of technology to eavesdrop then surely you just pick some random people and rough them up anyway telling the people you are intimidating that you have this "magic" eavesdropping technology.

Re:No technology will prevent that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192690)

Let's get serious. In any country where an election is supposed to be fair then intimidation of voters would be immediately reported. In order to significantly change results it would have to be widespread in properly democratic countries (so not the USA, but most other countries). It would be far easier and there would be much less of a chance of detection to brainwash (or intimidate) engineers working at the results tallying centre and those involved with ensuring the results were fair. But there is a far easier method still - you just do some racial/social profiling and remove the people who will vote for your opposition from the electoral role. This has been used successfully in the US on many occasions to win elections, and it doesn't matter whether you use paper or digital voting methods.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190804)


What's the most someone could do with this exploit?

Uhh.. find out who someone voted for? All you need is two people, one in the polling place and someone else with one of these devices. If I really have to try to convince you of the value of secret votes, I give up.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191690)

If I really have to try to convince you of the value of secret votes, I give up.

I guess I'm broken. I'd rather have my open vote count, than my private vote lost. Currently, we only get the latter.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192260)

As someone who grew up in a country, where "Open Voting" was the norm and using the voting cabin was being frowned upon I tell you: You have no clue.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192534)

I guess you're the one who has no clue. As you never lived in a country where voting for the "wrong" person could get you killed.
And you can't imagine that this is not even the only example of why secret voting is good.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192672)

You are barking up the wrong tree. I am all for secret voting. It was the grand parent who was saying:

I guess I'm broken. I'd rather have my open vote count, than my private vote lost.

There is no point in counting open votes, because they have no value at all. If you run into troubles for not voting publicly, this is equivalent to running into trouble for voting for the wrong person.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192718)

Seriously I agree with this fellow. In most countries, secret ballot was/is useful because people could be persecuted by the government for voting for the other fellow. If open voting is the norm, where there is a running total on the screen, and at the end of the day, all we do is total the running scores, then we have security by openness. You would actually have the public checking, millions of time as their votes are cast, that nothing strange was happening with their votes. Of course, this requires that people voting choices be respected, which is something law enforcement can probably guarante nowadays.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190816)

exactly, this is hardly news and besides shouldn't they point out that ALL e-voting machines are subject to this very same exploit? (unless they have proven they cannot be of course!)

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (2, Insightful)

coppro (1143801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190832)

The issue is one of anonymity. Someone could (comparatively) easily phreak a machine when a specific person walks into the polling booth so that they could determine that person's vote. The integrity of the results is not compromised, however; there is no threat of vote-stuffing or fraud.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191030)

Yes there is. Once you can find out what specific people are voting, you can threaten them to vote for your candidate, "or else", and know exactly who gets to have an "unfortunate accident".

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190978)

Use it as feedback to calibrate a separate vote rigging operation. If your guy wins by 20% an investigation may be triggered. If he wins by 2% you may be in the clear. So how do you gauge the real vote, while there is still time to cast face votes?

Broken "secrecy" (1)

doug141 (863552) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191114)

Perhaps you read too quickly. "Secrecy," not "security." There are plenty of responses explaining the importance of secret ballots.

Re:Whew, that was a close one... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192554)

As long as you didn't vote unamericanly I guess you don't have to worry...

Physical Security (4, Interesting)

tetsukaze (1635797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190656)

So the cheap devices he used only worked inches away. A more powerful device might work up to 20 meters away. Now, I assume a more powerful antennae is going to mean a bigger one. Isn't this going to stand out? I would hope that there is someone in charge that would notice a foot long antennae being pointed at voting areas. You can secure the machine itself, but if you don't have real people doing their part, it doesn't matter how secure your voting machine is.

Re:Physical Security (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190718)

If an attacker were able to access the voting location enough to install an unnoticeable antenna, I'd be more concerned with small cameras. Even a large antenna in a nearby building would require somebody watching to see who was using which voting machine, in order to pose any real threat.

Re:Physical Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30191862)

Outside Broadcast Van - just pretend to be from the local TV-station.

I'm still not even at this step yet (1, Redundant)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190700)

I'm not yet at "how do we get e-voting secure?". I'm still puzzled by the question "why the f. do we need it?"

Re:I'm still not even at this step yet (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190794)

Would you like supporters of 'the major', beef/soy barons and priests 'transporting' your vote over a few days?
In some parts of the world they do learn about democracy after right-wing military dictatorships.
In others they just trust election solutions provided by an ATM maker.
When their boss is exposed on wikipedia, they go back in using the company IP's and try to "Soviet" out the references to the CEO's fund-raising.

Re:I'm still not even at this step yet (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191150)

Easier for the disabled. Easier to support multiple languages. Easier to have duplicate copies so you can't be surprised and "find" a box of ballots in a warehouse later. Less ambiguity in regards to intention (see Minnesota's Senate race.)

Re:I'm still not even at this step yet (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191486)

Because it's more convenient and the count should be more reliable. If it's secure, that should be enough.

Re:I'm still not even at this step yet (2, Interesting)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191586)

Among the others, enabling a non-FPTP system.

If anyone isn't aware of how FPTP has hosed democracy, they should start here [wikipedia.org].

The primary concern I recognize is that FPTP collapses your system into a two-party system and makes third parties non-viable. Just try voting for Nader or Kucinich.

Re:I'm still not even at this step yet (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192504)

You don't need electronic voting to establish a non-FPTP system. Non-FPTP works fine in european states with paper and pencil voting.

E-paper (3, Interesting)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190706)

Besides all the shielding options, perhaps this is a good use for E-paper displays? The persistent nature of the display would minimize the constant refreshing. The slow screen response would be unlikely to be an issue with a ballot.

This happened with the Dutch in 2006 (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190764)

As discussed here in 2006, the Dutch had to modify their voting machines back in 2006 due to exactly this sort of attack. http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/10/14/1641239 [slashdot.org]

Re:This happened with the Dutch in 2006 (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191084)

That's only part of the story.

The voting machines were vulnerable to more than just eavesdropping, although eavesdropping was the official story from the government and also what most of the press was about.

However, the voting machines have since been banned. The latest elections were held with paper and pencil. It's good that way.

Now if people would only understand this ...

Re:This happened with the Dutch in 2006 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192626)

In most countries in the world, paper voting (although not impossible, of course) is troublesome and, consequently, prone to "errors" and rigging during collect and transportation of the votes.

Remember, for instance, that in countries the size of Brazil and India it is much more complicated to count the votes of the population than in a country like The Netherlands or most US states.

For example, India has a population of more then 1.2 billion people. The whole European Union only has little less than 500 million people. Germany, it's biggest country only has about 80 million. In the US, the most populous state (California) only has 36.7 million.

Also, India and Brazil have lots of remote places. In Brazil, its two biggest states (Amazonas and Para) each come close to the size of Alaska (~17% of the US area, which is almost 3 times the size of Texas). Amazonas state (~92% of the area of Alaska) has many places only reachable by boat or helicopter, and it takes days to get there by boat.

Just to illustrate: Alaska has more concentrated population with a lower overall density (about 680k people, density 0.4/km2); while Amazonas has more than 3.5 million people (density 5 times the one of Alaska) with its population more spread through its area. Para is more than twice the size of Texas, and has 7 million people spread on this area.

Another big issue that favours e-voting is language. India alone has 29 languages natively spoken by more than one million people each. Even if only from a logistics point of view, e-voting is fully justified.

Of course these are only two countries, but most of the same rationale applies to Indonesia, or many other nations (specially developing ones).

It could be big... (2, Interesting)

JazzyMusicMan (1012801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30190874)

If we could somehow reach a level where e-voting was secure, think of the possibilities. The people might actually be heard! Now whether you think that is a good thing or not, I leave as an exercise for the reader. But what I'm trying to say is, imagine voting from your home computer on issues that matter to you. No longer will your representatives be able to hand wave about what their constituency wants, heck, you might not even need representatives.

Radiation limitation through verse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190950)

At last, an excuse to use "election day" and "Faraday" in a rhyming couplet!

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30190996)

I know a cheaper way. Install a frigging video camera, because then you can at least also see who went into the voting booth to vote against your favorite presidente.

Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (1)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191130)

Ok.. this is been around for a while and in fact could even work for paper voting...
I'm sure someone could use strategically disposed microphones to detect the position of the "X" on the paper..
Until someone starts changing the results of elections (which will always be possible given "the right" flapping of a butterfly's wings) I won't be bothered. If your country really is free (something that Brazil is good at) there is no problem telling everybody who you voted on..
Vote's anonymity only makes it easier to fake elections.

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (4, Insightful)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191358)

If your country really is free (something that Brazil is good at) there is no problem telling everybody who you voted on..
Vote's anonymity only makes it easier to fake elections.

Don't be silly.
Secret ballot is one of the cornerstones of democracy.

In a secret ballot, you don't get bribed to vote for a particular person because you can
always say you voted for him while voting for him.
Likewise, about getting pressured about voting for someone.

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191364)

In a secret ballot, you don't get bribed to vote for a particular person because you can
always say you voted for him while voting for him .
Likewise, about getting pressured about voting for someone.

Meant to write - "while voting for someone else".

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30191724)

My father tells a story from WWII (this apparently happened in the quite small town that he grew up in). It seems that a soldier serving overseas had told his wife who to vote for. She apparently wrote back to her husband and assured him that she would vote for the candidate that he had asked/told her to vote for. The only problem was that when the votes were counted at the polling station that she voted at, her husband's candidate received zero votes. Oops!

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191792)

Vote coercion can't happen on effective scales.

How much cost and danger is involved with coercing a single vote?

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192638)

you haven't been outside of the west, have you?

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192756)

In most countries in the world, not much cost and not much danger for the one coercing. For the coerced, a lot of danger.

You can look at some examples in Africa where people got heir hands chopped off for voting for the wrong candidate in many many elections in different countries. More recently, look at Afghanistan.

Regarding cost. When people are starving, practically anything will get them to vote for you. Same for very poor people. I've personally seen people go vote for a candidate because he gave them a pair of sandals.

But, ok, remain in your dream world where everywhere it's an effective democracy with no corruption; and nobody is harassed or even called "un-patriotic" for disagreeing with the ones in power.

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (1)

s52d (1049172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191820)

Don't be silly.
Secret ballot is one of the cornerstones of democracy.

In a secret ballot, you don't get bribed to vote for a particular person because you can
always say you voted for him while voting for him.

That is exactly why mobiles with camera are not allowed while voting.
When bribed, you have to show a picture how you voted, or send MMS, to provide proof of your voting.

While it is possible to make your vote invalid afterwards, for most people this is quite effective.

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (2, Interesting)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192446)

There is no "REAL" anonymous vote since the sums of votes in a voting station is publicly available...
You bribe half city; then check (on the publicly available channels) how many votes you got there... if you got less than expected... someone cheated and you "don't pay".

If your idea is not to bribe a huge amount of persons we don't care.

Bribe is another problem.. and can't really be solved by the voting machine itself.

Re:Van Eck Phreacking will always exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192556)

Being a Brazilian myself (but luckily relocated to Canada) I have to disagree with your "really free country" statement.

Brazil has a long history of abuse of power called voto de cabresto[1] and coronelismo [2] and although history books are willing to dismiss that as something from the past, it's still a common practice [3].

Of course, it's much more common just to give the voter a pair of shoes and a bag of potatoes in exchanges for his/her vote but the ones who may try to resist to such control maybe threatened to obey, since they vote is not really secret.

[1] http://www.tse.jus.br/internet/institucional/glossario-eleitoral/termos/voto_cabresto.htm
[2] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronelismo
[3] http://educacao.uol.com.br/atualidades/voto-de-cabresto.jhtm

You are all thinking way too hard about this (2, Funny)

Spazed (1013981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191280)

Van Eck according to wikipedia: "Van Eck phreaking is the process of eavesdropping on the contents of a CRT and LCD display by detecting its electromagnetic emissions" So basically screen looking on Halo is Van Eck Phreaking. You are all doing it as you read this comment unless you printed it out.

As a person in the infosec field (4, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191454)

This is why I love the Canadian method: paper with circles, make an "X" in the circle you want, fold the paper and put it in the ballot box. Good luck hacking that on a large scale (what with scrutineers from multiple parties watching the election and the count and each other, plus the people there as independent scrutineers watching everyone else), and monitoring it (little cardboard voting booth on a table, voila, privacy. The only argument I could imagine is finger prints on the ballots, but you can wear gloves if you want.

Re:As a person in the infosec field (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191920)

This is why I love the Canadian method: paper with circles, make an "X" in the circle you want, fold the paper and put it in the ballot box.

Yes, except I personally think that having to write a number is better. If somebody is unable to do that, it's probably for the better... (blind and other disabled people need an assistant anyway).

Re:As a person in the infosec field (1)

paul08 (1644763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192710)

Ah just like the Zimbabwean system works fine until you beat up the people counting the bits of paper.

Dumb question... (2, Insightful)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191540)

Why does the electronic voting machine have to be a touch screen? Why not a list of the options with buttons with an LED in them that light up when you press the button? The list could be on a separate display next to the buttons but nothing changes therefore the 'van eck phreaker' would only get the data on the screen, not the option picked... but I have no knowledge of this sort of stuff.

Maybe some places do that, but where I live we do vote by mail.

Re:Dumb question... (2, Informative)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191748)

North Carolina used to use a system like that, a long time ago. (I remember my parents taking me with them when they voted, I got to help my mom submit her ballot, it must have been back in '96). However, the main draw of e-voting is accessibility: the ability to have high contrast and/or large size fonts, computer reading the ballot out loud, etc. This isn't possible with the equipment you describe.

LED (1)

asCii88 (1017788) | more than 4 years ago | (#30191964)

I would suggest using a LED monochrome low-def display, after all, there is not much to be displayed, and make the selection buttons, hard buttons... but that might compromise the machines some other way.

Jealousy all around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30192612)

You know, it is pretty clear most of comments around Brazil's e-Voting machines are pure jealousy. Believe or not, they DO work and they ARE safe. People complaining about eavesdropping, hacking and manipulation have really no idea about how easy is to replace a bag full of voting papers with another exactly equal bag full of already manipulated voting papers. Yeah, then if you do believe replacing a voting bag is hard, why should replacing a results file, the voting application or the entire machine is that easy?

Truth is, there is NO single bullet-proof, 100% safe system. Anyone can be manipulated, just like machines. And the humans are way more ea$y manipulated than the machines.

To shorten things, e-Voting machines are here obeying computer rule #1: Ease human tasks. Why to hire 1000 people and have them spending 30 hours/each counting votes, if you can update a database and have results done (sometimes) in less than 2 hours?

Again, what Brazil is proving is, computers can be trusted. People, however, will never be.

On a different note, (1)

sega01 (937364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30192650)

Isn't Google Translator amazing? The translation was *very* readable. I don't know about accuracy since I don't know Portuguese, but the English output was incredible. I'm really impressed.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...