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Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested In India

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the curiosity-killed-the-cat dept.

Government 188

whatajoke writes "Hari Prasad, a security researcher in India who had demonstrated the vulnerability of electronic voting machines used in all elections in India, was arrested by the police on charges of stealing an electronic voting machine. The election commission of India has maintained that EVM are non-hackable. The election commission had previously provided access to the device to the security researchers for a day and asked for a hack in only that time."

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chop his hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334362)

off. thief.

governments (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334376)

It doesn't matter where you are, there is a government there, some are worse than others, but all of them have evolved into similar structures with the relationship between a citizen and government of a country is very abusive, and the government is the one doing the abuse.

Name a country, any country, there are people there abused their governments, it is what it is. Feels like terrorism against governments is the only meaningful life pursuit at this point.

Re:governments (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#33334428)

Yeah, or maybe he really stole a voting machine. Shouldn't people usually be arrested for doing that?

Re:governments (3, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | about 4 years ago | (#33334558)

According to http://www.indiaevm.org/ [indiaevm.org] , the voting machine studied was "provided by an anonymous source". So it may have been stolen, though apparently by someone else. He might be guilty of something, but it would be receiving stolen property, not theft. Or maybe the source had legitimate access to the machine. It is also not clear whether the machine was returned.

Re: according to the article (4, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#33334688)

"The arrest was made on the flimsy charge of 'theft of EVM' used for vulnerability demonstration by Hari Prasad and a team of security researchers that included Alex Halderman, professor of computer science, University of Michigan and Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher from Netherlands along with a team of their colleagues".

For more info see http://www.youtube.com/user/ropgonggrijp [youtube.com]

Hack-tic times.

Re: according to the article (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 4 years ago | (#33335084)

Repeating that paragraph doesn't contribute anything as far as I can tell to the details of how they obtained the machine. What's your point?

Re: according to the article (4, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#33335344)

The answer to your question lies on page two of your own link.
http://www.indiaevm.org/qa.html [indiaevm.org]

Q: How did you get the EVM you studied?
A: It was provided by a source who has asked to remain anonymous.

My point was that he had been charged with theft for refusing to reveal a source.
If you click the link I provided you'll hear an interview with the scientist in question, by telephone, after his arrest.

Re: according to the article (0, Flamebait)

belmolis (702863) | about 4 years ago | (#33336042)

In other words, the passage you repeated contributed no new information, as I suspected. And now you repeat the information I provided. Weird.

Re: according to the article (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | about 4 years ago | (#33335354)

So, they had an EVM, not provided by the government when the government owns every EVM. "No officer, I didn't steal it, I was just holding it for a friend." Pfft.

Re: according to the article (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#33335464)

Ah yes, the old "Guilty until proven Innocent beyond any reasonable doubt" aka "Shut up, Peasant".
You wouldn't happen to be in Law Enforcement?
What part of "Provided by an anonymous source for scientific purposes" equates to "No officer, I didn't steal it, I was just holding it for a friend"?
As an aside, governments don't own anything, they're just taking care of stuff for the real owners, their bosses. Which would be "We, The People" (hypothetically anyway ; ).

Re: according to the article (3, Insightful)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | about 4 years ago | (#33335576)

While you're correct as a matter of principle, the legal theory of "innocent until proven guilty" (while self-evident) is only valid (again, from a legal point of view) in the United States (which is why I'm glad I live here now - the justice system sucks balls in India). I assure you that things are quite excellent in the US when you compare it to the rest of the world.

A blanket shout-out to everyone in this thread - this is a different country we're talking about. Check your US-centric legal opinions at the door before posting ;)

Re: according to the article (4, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#33335844)

No, the legal theory of "innocent until proven guilty" stems from ancient (pre-Roman) times, and is in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 11).
If you're interested http://www.talkleft.com/story/2003/01/12/153/23800 [talkleft.com]
ps I'm Dutch ; ).

Re: according to the article (1)

Sanat (702) | about 4 years ago | (#33335888)

Thanks for your comments... they are appreciated. There is a lot of room for improvement in the ole USA but having lived all over the world from China to Australia... I agree with you... there is a lot right with the USA too when compared to most other systems around the world.

Re: according to the article (3, Insightful)

bane2571 (1024309) | about 4 years ago | (#33336574)

"Provided by an anonymous source for scientific purposes"

So their "friend" provided them with something they had no legal right/reason to have and they were holding it when the officer arrested them.

Seems like a pretty accurate example of "I was just holding it" to me.

Re: according to the article (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 4 years ago | (#33335462)

So the person who wrote the article called it flimsy. I'm not sure that qualifies as an explanation of where the machine came from.

Re:governments (4, Informative)

OFnow (1098151) | about 4 years ago | (#33335324)

Yeah, or maybe he really stole a voting machine.

The article says it was given to a group of researchers for a day, who found nasty defects
and the politicians did not like that. Nothing suggests the machine was not
returned after a day. Retroactively the grant of the machine is now
considered theft. One suspects the intent is to discredit the research.

Re:governments (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 years ago | (#33334430)

Pontifications...

Dude, he STOLE the machine.

Re:governments (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334702)

You can't steal a machine.

Re:governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334936)

They steal your heart.

Re:governments (3, Informative)

wickedskaman (1105337) | about 4 years ago | (#33334998)

No. You can't rape a machine. You can definitely steal one.
</BSGreference>

Re:governments (1)

johnhp (1807490) | about 4 years ago | (#33334448)

Domestic terrorism against a typical government wouldn't do a thing to improve it. If anything it might cause retribution against the people.

Re:governments (5, Insightful)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | about 4 years ago | (#33334506)

It's more do do with, way too few people wanting to hold their elected officials accountable.

So those few who do, are easy to eliminate.

Take your own country USA for example, as an Indian, I can't help but laugh when I see people being used as mere pawns in the bi-partisanship circus. The right and the left both are equally suckered in to believing that the other side is evil, and will be the end of your country if given a chance to govern. Very few realize that both are sides of the same coin. Same BS sold in different flavor.

Re:governments (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334516)

I am not an American and never lived in the US though I have visited a few places there, just saying.

Re:governments (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334556)

You are an asshole for assuming that anyone you find here is American.

Re:governments (2, Interesting)

Yaa 101 (664725) | about 4 years ago | (#33335442)

Officials in most parts of Asia are prepared to hire a killer to murder the one that make them lose face, that is what is going on here, he is lucky to be alive today.

Losing face is the thing that provokes most anger in especially Asian countries.

Oh yes... I do agree with your insight regarding the US.

Disgusting Moderation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334520)

Its beyond offensive and disgusting that any post that defends and advocates terrorism like the above does is moderated insightful.

The moderators should be ashamed of themselves here.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334576)

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

AFAIC fighting governments in any way is fighting against oppression for freedom.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334896)

Fighting governments in any way is beneficial for freedom? That's terribly simplistic and downright false.

Would you consider fighting a democratically elected, egalitarian government, in order to replace it with a tribalistic theocracy, to be fighting for freedom??

Would you consider working to bring down a government, which then gets replaced by a multitude of corrupt fiefdoms with the local rulers deciding the fate of anyone they don't like, to be fighting for freedom??

The world is not black and white, it's not ones and zeroes and short boolean expressions. Every action has consequences that even the smartest of us cannot predict.

Hell, I'm the first guy to follow the entire Bill Of Rights to the letter, and I'm not even American, but you have to realize that the only thing more oppressive than an oppressive government, is a complete lack of government, when the powerful are given complete free reign over the rest.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334942)

If history teaches anything is that all governments eventually become unbearable and then they are replaced by a violent event of some sort. This has happened enough time for us to draw the correct conclusion, which is that people cannot set up a good government that will remain good forever.

I bet on eons of history being more right than you are.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335252)

people cannot set up a good government that will remain good forever

You are right about that. However, there have been hundreds of revolutions. How many of those have set up good governments? I can only name one: The American Revolution. All others have only replaced a bad government with another one. The French revolutions, the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the subsequent civil war, the numerous Marxist revolutions and Juntas in Central and South America etc etc have all accomplished only more oppression.

Good government is always an evolutionary process. Western Europe and North America are a clear example of this, and the sorry state of the rest of the world only proves the point.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (3, Insightful)

bane2571 (1024309) | about 4 years ago | (#33335394)

Many revolutions set up Good Government, it was only after a period of time that they became Bad Government. The only real measure is of fitness is how long it took. You're living in the waning times of the US government, it has been going down hill ever since it was founded. The same is true for every government.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335614)

Please name one other revolution that set up a good government? A revolution that sets up a _seemingly_ good government that in short order ends up rotting is still a bad revolution.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (1)

brasselv (1471265) | about 4 years ago | (#33336308)

You're living in the waning times of the US government, it has been going down hill ever since it was founded.

Wait a second. Maybe there were some good moments and some bad ones, in the last two centuries.

But in many key dimensions it has indeed become a more perfect Union over time.

(Unless of course you consider a "white males club" to be your ideal government, I believe you don't.)

Re:Disgusting Moderation (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | about 4 years ago | (#33336624)

I was using hyperbole, trying to imply that any government is destined to fail. I wasn't saying it isn't better now than it may have been at some point, what I was trying to say is that the actions that are being taken now, whether they seem good or bad will lead to eventual ruination.

Re:Disgusting Moderation (2, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33335434)

If anything, US and Europe is showing the signs of the once OK governments becoming unbearable. Sure, revolutions change government and rarely set up ones that are better, the reason is that revolutionaries themselves make for terrible peace time governments, the revolutionaries should take down one government and replace it with a new one that is NOT part of the revolutionaries. Of-course this is a rarity.

However, all the governments that exist today are all going to be replace probably within the next 50 years.

Get a grip. (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33334692)

Its beyond offensive and disgusting that any post that defends and advocates terrorism like the above does is moderated insightful.

The moderators should be ashamed of themselves here.

Who's advocating terrorism?

This is what was said:

Feels like terrorism against governments is the only meaningful life pursuit at this point.

Notice the "Feels" part? The poster was expressing feelings of outrage and his frustration with his inability to stop Governments from abusing their power. He was expressing the frustration that Democracies or Republics still do not prevent a Government from abusing its citizens. No matter how we vote or who we vote for, what letters we write that fall on deaf ears, or protest and get our asses kicked by the cops, it seems as though, we the little people get shit on. People who are trying to show how possible finagling of the voting process gets done and hopefully prevent some of those injustices end up being victims of the powers that be.

I'm sure with events in the present and past, many of us had fantasies of disintegrating Congress (See "Mars Attacks!"). Would we do it? No. The only thing we can do is express our outrage and impotence with regards to controlling a government.

The rich and powerful have been doing this since time began. They manipulate the populace with jingoism, bogus issues to distract us, and in the background, they're taking their power to boost their own pathetic (much wealthier) little life.

Re:Get a grip. (3, Interesting)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about 4 years ago | (#33335772)

Its beyond offensive and disgusting that any post that defends and advocates terrorism like the above does is moderated insightful.

The moderators should be ashamed of themselves here.

Who's advocating terrorism?

The founding fathers for one:

"Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants."
— Thomas Jefferson

Re:governments (4, Insightful)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 4 years ago | (#33334580)

What do you propose, exactly, as the goal to be achieved by wanton acts of violence? As long as you have government, you will have abuses. That is the nature of the beast - deciding how power is distributed and whose rights come first. You always end up trampling on someone, either by design or by accident.

As for having no government... I can't really grasp what that would mean. Government is the entity with the power to make others bend to its will. I have a hard time seeing a group of people of any appreciable size where such an entity does not arise.

Re:governments (0, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334602)

What do you propose, exactly, as the goal to be achieved by wanton acts of violence?

- satisfaction.

As for having no government... I can't really grasp what that would mean. Government is the entity with the power to make others bend to its will. I have a hard time seeing a group of people of any appreciable size where such an entity does not arise

- clearly, that's why life is a struggle.

Re:governments (2, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 4 years ago | (#33334686)

I think the key is to always have a fresh, young government. That's one possible way to help keep the level of corruption low, creating a new government every so often (say 20 years or so). Our 200+ year old system has long since overstayed its welcome, becoming impossibly corrupt and ineffective at meeting the needs of the people.

Re:governments (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334706)

Yes, but have you ever heard of any government just giving up its powers? That is completely unheard of, that's the trillion dollar reason why there were so many revolutions all over the world, civil wars, so called 'terrorists' etc., understand, they all were fighting the machine one way or another.

Lately the masses have been brainwashed so much, they completely don't understand this, but think back through some of the revolutions and civil wars... you know, many kings had their heads chopped off...

Re:governments (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 4 years ago | (#33335742)

Yes exactly my point, I was agreeing with you. I believe government should step down or be overthrown periodically, as did several of this nation's founders.

Re:governments (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 years ago | (#33336314)

Yes, but have you ever heard of any government just giving up its powers? That is completely unheard of, that's the trillion dollar reason why there were so many revolutions all over the world, civil wars, so called 'terrorists' etc., understand, they all were fighting the machine one way or another.

Turkey had a military coup in 1980 and the ruling junta put out a Constitution for public referendum.
After it was ratified, the Generals organized a general election and stepped aside.

Of course, the Generals pretty much got to dictate who was allowed to run for office,
which makes it a shitty example of a government giving up its powers, but it's an example nonetheless.

Re:governments (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | about 4 years ago | (#33336256)

Tell that to South America...

Re:governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335214)

This may sound like a flip response, but I'm quite serious. People have an inherent motivation to see fairness done (at least as far as their own welfare is concerned). This drive varies in strength from person to person, but in many people is so strong that they are willing to actually do harm to themselves if it means they can punish the people they feel have wronged them.

When I say drive or motivation, I mean something very similar to the drive to eat, to have sex, to drink water. Just as doing these things is a "reward in itself" and makes the person feel better, exacting revenge for perceived slights can be pleasurable for many people. So as long as you have people that feel aggrieved, you'll have people trying to punish those they deem responsible.

We could get into why this has evolutionary value, but it's straight forward enough that I don't think it's necessary.

Re:governments (2, Funny)

grelmar (1823402) | about 4 years ago | (#33334834)

You're IP has been noted and the Men In Black will be visiting shortly.

Re:governments (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33334860)

Thanks, I'll be waiting for them here.

Re:governments (3, Insightful)

5pp000 (873881) | about 4 years ago | (#33335076)

Flamebait? Come on, mods. You can find very similar statements in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Like this one: "The tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of tyrants."

Re:governments (5, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33335132)

You think Jefferson would be electable in the USA today? I think not.

Re:governments (1)

5pp000 (873881) | about 4 years ago | (#33335170)

Everyone's jumping on the fact that the GP seems to be advocating terrorism. But though he didn't express himself well, I don't think for a moment he actually wants to commit or even encourage terrorist acts. He's simply observing, as indeed Jefferson did, that concentrations of power tend toward tyranny. That's why we have the Constitutional separation of powers: to put bounds on each branch of government so that it can't take over.

I'm not advocating terrorism either; and I'd go so far as to suggest that it was Jefferson's hope that the system of government he and his cohorts had invented would give the citizens sufficient oversight of their government as to make violent revolution unnecessary in the future. Still, I daresay he was aware of the possibility that it might not work.

Re:governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335488)

You are, unfortunately, half right. Repeat the same thought, substituting as appropriate "corporation" for "government", put the two together, and you have the current human situation in most of the developed and a whole lot of the underdeveloped world. Two forces that should be in opposition are now united in one common goal--the stripping from actual human beings of that which is ours, be that rights, liberties, dignity, property, and of course our future.

Re:governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335630)

I have a hard time seeing a group of people of any appreciable size where such an entity does not arise.

We call that anarchy. It's not a very successful plan.

Slashdot Moderation (0, Offtopic)

skywire (469351) | about 4 years ago | (#33335882)

The fact that at the moment the parent post is modded Flamebait shows what an utter joke the moderation system is.

Security Theater, Act 230982394 (4, Funny)

Takeel (155086) | about 4 years ago | (#33334442)

Surely this will increase the security of electronic voting in India.

Re:Security Theater, Act 230982394 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33336416)

Of course it will. At least publicly.

Oops... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33334444)

It looks like somebody may have violated the time-honored "never embarrass overconfident idiots, however tempting it is" rule...

Who's making these hackable machines? (5, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | about 4 years ago | (#33334466)

I keep reading story after story of how easily hackable these machines are and my only question is why do they keep making easily hackable machines? Who are the geniuses making a voting machine that can be hacked? Why aren't they contacting these professors and researchers while they're creating the machine and say "Hey you're good at hacking. We're trying to create a voting machine that can not be hacked, can you help us?"

I just don't understand, it's like building a car that explodes at the slightest impact [wikipedia.org] and then arresting people that expose it. Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (5, Interesting)

grim4593 (947789) | about 4 years ago | (#33334508)

Maybe, just MAYBE the companies want the machines to be able to be hacked by the Right People. So when word gets out that these machines have flaws that anyone with the right tools and knowledge can control it makes things harder for the company, and those Right People get miffed.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (1)

dissy (172727) | about 4 years ago | (#33334792)

I just don't understand, it's like building a car that explodes at the slightest impact and then arresting people that expose it. Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?

I dunno.. they already have all the infrastructure in place to arrest people.

They don't seem like they are very set up to make secure voting machines.
Even if they were, I don't see any reason to believe that is one of their stated goals anyway.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | about 4 years ago | (#33335448)

Allowing secret ballots (No one except you knows who you voted for) and ballots that can't be cheated on is nigh impossible. It can't be done even for paper ballots, so why should a machine with thousands of parts involved be able to do it? The only difference with electronic ballots is because people can not see and understand the processes that go on inside them, it is easier for a smaller group of people to alter them without being caught. If someone is molesting paper ballots in some way, it is obvious to anyone who sees it. If someone molests voting machines in some way, it will be undetectable to anyone but a trained expert with prolonged access to the machine.

You can't make a piece of electronics that can't be modified by someone who has physical access to it. You can make it more difficult then it is on modern machines (where it is almost excruciatingly simple) but you still have the problem. At least with paper ballots, the number of people that must be involved to cause large scale manipulation is much larger, and thus much more likely to be caught. Electronic voting machines are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. They aren't any more efficient then paper ballots, their only benefit is they can give results very quickly, which is a benefit to the news media, not anyone else. Does it really matter if it takes an extra day to determine who won an election?

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (2, Interesting)

Krahar (1655029) | about 4 years ago | (#33334914)

Security is hard and electronic voting machines are not a mature product. Give it 50 years and probably electronic voting machine security will have improved.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about 4 years ago | (#33334934)

Yeah, and why do operating systems have exploits in them? People who write operating systems should contact security researchers and tell them to work for free and find all the exploits.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (3, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | about 4 years ago | (#33334938)

Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?

Why would they need a voting machine ?

There are several major problems with voting machines in India:
  1) you cannot double-check the vote, thus cheating is easy, even if you have secure machines.
  2) a lot of people in India don't know how to read, and simple tasks like voting with a computer is impossible for them.
  3) machines need electricity. In India, there can be an outage at any time of the day.

Before using expensive voting machines, India's governement should concentrate on improving the infrastructures, like water, electricity and roads.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335692)

I salute your logic dude :)

>> 1) you cannot double-check the vote, thus cheating is easy, even if you have secure machines.

Yes, you can double check. Infact check it thrice, four times, N times...

>> 2) a lot of people in India don't know how to read, and simple tasks like voting with a computer is impossible for them.

People don't read, they do see party symbols, and they press the vote for the symbols. And surprise - surprise, statistically it is the illiterates who vote the most. The middle class and the rich prefer to enjoy the holiday.

>> 3) machines need electricity. In India, there can be an outage at any time of the day.

There is something called a battery. Every machine has that :)

They can make slot games that can't be hacked that (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33335080)

They can make slot games that can't be hacked that easy and why can't they use the guys who code them to make voteing systems?

Re:They can make slot games that can't be hacked t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335130)

I follow you, but somehow I'm leery of handing this responsibility to the gambling industry. Once there's a casino on every corner, we'll know we've been had.

Re:They can make slot games that can't be hacked t (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 4 years ago | (#33335248)

The key phrase here is "...that easy".

ANY machine can be hacked if you can get at the system board or an open console, and if you have enough time.

The thing about the slots is that they watch them pretty closely. If it looks like you're using a tool on a slot machine, well, I wouldn't want to be you.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (1)

julioody (867484) | about 4 years ago | (#33335118)

Oh I know that one: the cousins/brothers/buddies of the people in govt buying them. You know, people who wouldn't be in business if it wasn't for that kind of favor and hand-greasing.

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 4 years ago | (#33335128)

Who's making these hackable machines?

The same company that is paying the politician to arrest this guy on trumped up charges. Makes sense doesn't it? What politico wouldn't want to be in bed with the evm manufacturer? Here's how it would go down EVM guy: Ok if you use your considerable influence to get my machines into polling area x I will change y amount of votes thus getting you reelected. I'm sure this shit goes on all the time. Maybe it's not always so blatently obvious but I'm reminded of the old axiom "absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Re:Who's making these hackable machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335672)

That would imply that they want secure voting machines.

More Information (5, Informative)

Philom (24273) | about 4 years ago | (#33335740)

I'm a professor at the University of Michigan, and I coauthored the voting study at issue with Hari Prasad. I've posted part of a phone call with Hari while he was in the police car [freedom-to-tinker.com] , along with more details about the arrest.

Re:More Information (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#33335978)

I've put a link to the same (via Rop's youtube-account) an hour ago somewhere higher-up in the thread.

Bad bad bad!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33336212)

Maybe because as soon as the whole voting-process is done inside a black box, it is impossible to ensure any security for the VOTERS.

Of course, it ensures the corrupt politicians gets another term in the office, or whoever bribes the right people..

Electronic Voting is just bad, mmkay?

Explain to me what happens if he's in jail now.. (0, Troll)

rshxd (1875730) | about 4 years ago | (#33334542)

... whos going to tell me that I can get a good rate on AOL, if I choose to stay with AOL? Who will run the call center now???? So many questions, so little answers

AM FM DIGITAL (0, Offtopic)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 4 years ago | (#33334560)

Will these be digital too.

Will these also receive the BBC and Voice of America on short wave too?

The hands free folk will also mandate an FM transmitter to enable the speakers in the car to be activated. And since my 77 Ford F150 only has AM we also need an AM transmitter.

Re:AM FM DIGITAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334582)

Will these be digital too.

Will these also receive the BBC and Voice of America on short wave too?

The hands free folk will also mandate an FM transmitter to enable
the speakers in the car to be activated. And since my 77 Ford F150
only has AM we also need an AM transmitter.

i want what you are smoking please

Re:AM FM DIGITAL (2, Informative)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 4 years ago | (#33334662)

Not smoking... Ice cream brain freeze, wrong thread..

Re:AM FM DIGITAL (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 4 years ago | (#33334820)

LMAO. Maybe right thread, wrong post. I could see how having an ice cream brain freeze could impair your ability to post something on topic.

stay thirsty my friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334574)

bearded t-rex establishes a numbers station colony on planet jupiter

http://topsport.ge (0, Offtopic)

zangurabarca (1884320) | about 4 years ago | (#33334644)

http://topsport.ge/ [topsport.ge] :)

Re:http://topsport.ge (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | about 4 years ago | (#33335258)

Dude, really?

Was that worth the effort? To link to a SPORTS PAGE in a script that most of us won't even be able to identify on a NERDY NEWS PAGE?

Must have failed that state-run university marketing course.

OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33334674)

1) The voter gets to see the vote being cast.
2) Auditors and manual re-counters get to see the exact same thing the voter saw. This means it must be a tangible artifact.
3a) Audit all elections "to 5%" or "to the margin of victory" whichever is less. This provides a very high confidence any fraud wasn't enough to sway the elections nor was it enough to sway more than 5% of the tally. Do the same if any candidate is "close" to a significant threshold number, such as the number of votes needed to avoid a runoff.
3b) Random audits "to 0.5%" or some other high confidence interval sufficient to expose and deter general game-playing by a candidate who lost so bad that the cheating didn't help him. If a losing candidates know they have a 1 in 10 chance of getting a "very close audit" they won't try to play games.
4) Automatic recounts using different equipment PLUS a more thorough audit on any close election.
5a) Manual recounts on any close election on the request of the candidate who is within the "margin of possible error/fraud" that the audits show could exist.
5b) Manual recounts on any election where any candidate is very close to a significant threshold number.

It's not hard folks. Machine-readable paper ballots typically meet 1 & 2. The rest is a matter of spending money after the votes are initially tallied, not a function of the voting machines.

Auditing an election of, say, 3M voters where one candidate allegedly beat the other 50.5% to 46.5% to 3% for minor candidates need only determine that there's less than a 5% chance that the true election result had the winning candidate with 50%+1 votes to avoid a runoff. With a paper ballot satisfying #1 and #2 and generally accepted statistical analysis, this won't require a recount of nearly the entire pool of votes, only a random sample from each ballot box sufficiently large to rule out the need for a runoff.

If on the other hand the alleged winning amount was exactly 1,500,001 out of 3M votes, or if it was 1,499,499 and the winner wanted a recount to avoid a runoff, a full manual recount would likely be necessary.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (4, Insightful)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | about 4 years ago | (#33334816)

There are two contradictory things which must happen for machine voting.

1. Each person must be identifiable as having voted and see the result of the vote.

2. Each vote must be anonymous.

Machine readable ballots make sense, but they still leave the possibility of simple fraud. Take a stack of ballots and replace them with your own skewed ballots. This means that each ballot must have a unique identification, while at the same time have no way of revealing the name of the voter. I've heard of states allowing mail in ballots, this makes some sense although things do get lost in the mail. The best solution I can come up with is a ballot that you have to pick up in person from the DMV possibly. It has its own serial number and when you pick it up it is entered into the system, not as a vote from you, but simply as a vote. Your information is also entered into the system. Neither is time/date stamped and both are randomized as much as possible to hide voter identity.When you have made your educated vote you return the ballot to the polling station. If there is any doubt then the number of people who voted can be checked against the number of ballots. Also it seems logical that an individual can check to see if he/she voted, for example if I voted in the last presidential election, but I didn't actually vote it would be a sign of fraud.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334990)

Wait, there's states that don't allow mail-in ballots? At least for voters who cannot be physically present on voting day, that is.

The system you described is over-complicated. The system my town uses is simple, and I assume it is nearly identical to everyone else's absentee voting system.

As a voter, I sign a statement saying I require an absentee ballot. This statement has a serial number stamped on it. I receive (either in person or by mail) a ballot, and inner envelope, and an outer envelope. The outer envelope is generic. The inner envelope requires my signature and has the serial number. Inside that is the ballot. The envelopes are sealed and may only be opened in the presence of multiple observers in order to be valid (particularly, at least one from both parties; not sure on the exact rules).

Simple. It works. I don't know if the ballot has a serial number, but you could also put a serial number on the ballot and keep track of the serial numbers on the ballots handed out so completely new ballots could not be switched in (but, say, there would be no way of knowing if ballots used for absentee votes that were somehow invalidated were switched in, other than properly guarding the ballots).

Of course, you could argue that the problem is the "both parties" part. That is, a lack of independent observers. If you trust no one involved in running the elections, then you can expect the people running the elections will figure out some way to rig them as they could simply be lying about following the procedures.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 4 years ago | (#33335328)

There are two contradictory things which must happen for machine voting.

1. Each person must be identifiable as having voted and see the result of the vote.

2. Each vote must be anonymous.

No. That is classic, "the enemy of good is perfect" thinking.

Voting fraud is as old as voting. The only thing that must happen is for the new voting system to be better than whatever it replaces. It doesn't even have to be significantly better at preventing fraud if it has other beneficial characteristics like making it possible for people to vote who couldn't easily vote before (people living way out in the boonies, those who can't read because they are illiterate or blind, etc).

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#33335670)

those who can't read because they are illiterate

Do you really want illiterate people voting? What makes you believe they would be informed about the issues and candidates, especially when you consider that the literate have a huge advantage in this area and still remain so ignorant? If you agree that they are likely to be uninformed about those things, what makes you desire that people who are uninformed about their system of government and the issues of their time should vote?

If it were up to me you'd have to pass an incredibly tough civics test before being permitted to vote. You'd have to pass it each election during which you vote. Particularly emphasized would be what the Constitution does and does not say, the notion that the federal government has no powers at all (AT ALL!) except those granted to it by the Constitution, the difference between a republic and a democracy, the difference between interstate and intrastate affairs, the separation of powers, the correct role of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and the checks/balances available to each. That would make for a good start.

The civics test would be limited to facts that are not in dispute. It would include the facts and just the facts but not the multitude of interpretations available for them. That part, the interpretation of how they should manifest and the specifics of their implementation, is what voting is supposed to decide.

If only 3% of the entire US adult population were able to pass this test, I really wouldn't care. It'd be sad that so few are actually qualified to understand how our system works before deciding who is fit to run it, but so be it. The remaining 97% retain the option of learning and may decide whether this is important to them. If 95% of the entire US adult population wanted to educate themselves about our system and passed this test, I'd be fine with that too. It'd be a drastic improvement, an eradication of ignorance and would likely transform the media away from deciding elections by 5-second sound bites and emotional rhetoric and towards rational justifications for proposed policies. But in either case, the test must be both very tough and comprehensive.

When it comes to voting, quantity in and of itself is undesirable. What you need is quality. If you can have both, that's wonderful. If you must choose, quantity is expendable.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#33336040)

it were up to me you'd have to pass an incredibly tough civics test before being permitted to vote. You'd have to pass it each election during which you vote. Particularly emphasized would be what the Constitution does and does not say, the notion that the federal government has no powers at all (AT ALL!) except those granted to it by the Constitution, the difference between a republic and a democracy, the difference between interstate and intrastate affairs, the separation of powers, the correct role of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and the checks/balances available to each. That would make for a good start.

Surely you know that restricting voting rights is outside the enumerated powers of the Federal Government in that consitution you claim so much knowledge of. So the Federal Government can't do that.

So you want the states to limit their own pools of voters to exclude the ones that the politicians can manipulate the best. And for it to survive challenge and not result in a 15th 19th, and 21st style amendment?

A friend of mine was illiterate for several years (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33336054)

She became blind as an adult.

It took her several years to learn to read Braille.

In the meantime, she was illiterate.

Before becoming blind she earned a 4-year college degree.

The late CEO of Wendy's Restaurants, Dave Thomas, was illiterate until well into adulthood.

By the way, we had literacy tests in America for decades. They were fraudulently used to keep non-whites and other "undesirables" from voting. Even if they had been used in an objectively fair manner, they would've had the effect of keeping the uneducated voiceless by keeping them out of the political process.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 4 years ago | (#33335526)

When you have made your educated vote you return the ballot to the polling station.

Well there's your fatal flaw in an otherwise good plan.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | about 4 years ago | (#33336322)

Those are, in fact, not contradictory, if you believe this guy [youtube.com] . I really encourage you to check this link out and listen to it in its entirety, it's very interesting.

Re:OT: How to build an trustable voting machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334954)

The rest is a matter of spending money after the votes are initially tallied, not a function of the voting machines.

This is the problem with all voting machines everywhere. I'll bet that most companies could build pretty tamper proof voting boxes. The problem is, no one wants to spend money on the quality of design you would need to make a really good voting box because the cost would be prohibitive. People (goverment - federal and state) want (and really need) the Tiffany-level of quality but they only want to pay the Wal-Mart price for it.

Machine-ASSISTED voting (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33334738)

Machine-readable paper ballots have three major flaws:
1) cost and bulk
2) not usable without assistance by blind and those who can't use a marking pen
3) High waste or too costly with multi-precinct ballots or multi-language ballots, where a single voting station may have hundreds of different ballots and keeping a sufficient supply of each is difficult.

To help with #2 and #3, you can use a machine that prints the ballot "on-demand," either blank or, if the voter wants to use the touch-screen or other machine-input to indicate his vote, filled out.

The voter fills out the ballot if he didn't have the machine do it for him, examines it for correctness, and puts it in the ballot box as you would with a machine-readable paper ballot today. From here on out the system is identical to today's machine-readable paper ballot system.

This would allow those who cannot mark a ballot but who can read the filled-in ballot the ability to cast their vote unassisted.

Blind people could use on-site "reading" machines to verify the ballot unassisted or, if they didn't trust the government, they could bring their own document-reading hardware, or bring a trusted sighted friend to verify the ballot is accurate.

By printing non-common languages or outlying precinct ballots only "on demand" or only as needed to have a small supply of each at any given time, it would save paper.

Re:Machine-ASSISTED voting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33334824)

All ballots should be printed in the English language only. Voting machines should offer audible voting options and selection feedback via headphones for the visually impaired. If a voter cannot read and understand English, immediate deportation by USCIS at the polling station. If a voter even with audio feedback cannot manage to select an option from those presented, immediate revocation of citizenship and thus their right to cast a ballot. No mercy for idiots.

What a great idea! (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 4 years ago | (#33335624)

the Indian governments appreciates your suggestion

English only is a GREAT idea!

Anybody who claims "unhackable" (4, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | about 4 years ago | (#33334836)

...is a crook or a fool. You can reduce the probability of hacking... by an amount that is not easy to quantify.

I heard an interview with an enthusiastic Indian programmer/marketer (sorry, I don't recall if I heard his exact job description), in which he claimed that very soon Indians would be vote via mobile phones. &#65279;What a recipe for disaster. It's difficult to think of a less reliable and verifiable voting mechanism-- though it would certainly destroy anonymity for honest voters. It's not impossible that someday an open source, mobile voting platform will be more secure than existing mechanisms. But that will be many years in the future, and not developed quickly and cheaply in a nation overrun with corruption (so our best bet is somewhere in Scandinavia).

Where there is a large incentive to cheat (to gain money, power, women), many people will try to cheat. Especially in societies with more habitual defectors than habitual cooperators (such as the US and India). Anybody who says otherwise is trying to cheat you.

Theives! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33335524)

This should have happened to Rubin at John Hopkins. Pretty much stole code of voting machines. Didn't get a slap on the wrist.

India and democracy (1)

stumblingblock (409645) | about 4 years ago | (#33335528)

India is to democracy as Russia was to socialism. automotive analogy: they both make pretty unfortunate cars

Why Gossip - here are the facts you should know (0, Troll)

dooode (1134443) | about 4 years ago | (#33336476)

There are two aspects to the article:

1. A security researcher arrested for possession of an EVM machine
2. The security researcher establishing the fact that EVMs in India are vulnerable to security attacks

As per 1, why is the Indian police wrong? If a stolen object is found with you, its you who are liable. Whether it was given by "unknown resources" is not important.

For 2. Is that something new? Is there any software system that is 100% secure? But don't we still use them - in banks, in flights and everywhere. The question is benefits vs risks. Now before someone argues about that here, I would say, please stop trolling and be reasonable. Indian election scenario is nowhere close to US or Europe or any developed country. If there is any real Security expert out here, he can vouch that security vulnerabilities are 90% because of humans and processes, and only 10% because of machines.

So what's the Indian voting scenario? We are talking about over 700 million voters spread across thousands of constituencies, in more than 5 phases, spread across more than 20 days, that involve more than 100 thousand administrative personals that are managed by an autonomous body called "Election Commission of India". During the election, the Election Commission has absolute powers. It can suspend bureaucrats, order an arrest, or re-voting in a particular constituency. Fortunately this is one of the few agencies in India that are widely respected (by all parties) for its non-partisan role. These EVMs just make it a bit easier for these election commission guys to administer a free and fare election. But still the entire operation is a no less a challenge...

Compare this with just 10 years back. When booth looting was a common story in some of the disconnected country side regions. You heard it right - booth looting refers to some armed men storming the election room, stamping ballet papers for their own candidates; and all it required was mere 20 minutes to alter the result. But these machines ensure that only "1 vote can be cast in 1 min". So even if there is any forced capture, in one hour these guys can cast at the max 60 votes. And one hour is enough for the security to arrive and take remedial action.

Also unlike US, the scale is huge in India. In order to really affect the elections one needs to rig a lot many machines, which is not very practical.

What these security researchers are suggesting is to dump the machines and go back to paper based ballet. What we must also consider is the cost of doing that. India spent around $1 billion for its last electronic voting based election. My question is that by spending N times the amount, and introducing paper based ballet, can someone ensure a free and fare election? If not, why rob this huge amount from poor people.

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