Beta
×

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!

Diebold Issues Cease and Desist to Indymedia

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the speak-no-evil dept.

Censorship 421

h0mee writes "Diebold, manufacturer of election equipment, has issued a Cease and desist notice to the upstream provider of San Francisco Indymedia for having links to mirrors of a leaked internal diebold memo. More than just a case of a leak, Diebold has been raising a lot of questions about the fairness and security of elections in the United States. (Perhaps it's time for peer reviewable software like gnu.free? ;)"

cancel ×

421 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

GNAA - 0 to hello.jpg in 4.6 seconds! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247616)

You may be wondering why SCO salesmen are not answering your numerous calls while you try to order more SCO licenses. Well, we aren't answering the phones because we're too busy celebrating our newest business partner. Rather than explaining it myself, I'll let our formal press release do the talking. Take it away, Mr. Reuters...

LINDON, Utah, Sept. 8/PRNewswire - FirstCall/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOX [yahoo.com] - News [yahoo.com] ), the owner and licensor of the core UNIX operating system source code, today announced its second Fortune 500 clent for the SCO Linux IP license, the GNAA (Nasdaq: RHAT [yahoo.com] - News [yahoo.com] ), developer of fine Slashdot trolls on irc.efnet.net #GNAA, also well-known for revolutionizing small business development with its "Step 2: ??????" profit model. The availability of the SCO Intellectual Property License for Linux affords Linux deployments to come into compliance with international law for the use of all 2.4 and future kernels. The run-time license permits the use of SCO's intellectual property, in binary form only, as contained in Linux distributions.

By purchasing a SCO Intellectual Property License, customers avoid infringement of SCO's intellectual property rights in Linux 2.4 and Linux 2.5 kernels and assure Darl financial security for the purchase of his second home. Because the SCO license authorizes run-time use only, customers also comply with the General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. Source may still be distributed under the terms of the GPL, however source distributors are held accountable for all violation of SCO's IP. Indemnification is provided for customers of runtime clients only. Read that twice, dirty hippy. You're not in the clear yet.

GNAA spokesperson penisbird said of the licensure, "coming into compliance affords us a new competitive advantage with the other Slashdot authors. By being in the right, we can thumb down our noses at not only the Windows users and the BSD-thieving Mac Users, but also the unwashed Linux hippies running stolen code on their parents' PCs." VP of anus enlargement goat-see added, "fr1st p0st? damn i miss. how do i next story?"

Mr. Darl McBride concurred with GNAA's analysis, adding "We soon hope to convince additional clients such as Trollklore and Cabal of Logged In Trolls of the benefits of licensing SCO's valuable IP. Also, I <3 GNAA bunny. (@.@)" JesuitX clarified the nature of the SCO and GNAA alliance, adding "We're more than just a licensing client. We're also going to be helping to bring these other potential licensors into compliance. We can break them in little by little as paying sublicensors. The alternative is pretty horrible. Our lawyers can take a reticent client from virgin to hello.jpg [figure 2 [yahoo.com] ] in under an hour, and believe me -- it is not pleasant." freetibet was recorded saying, "I read Slashdot just for GNAA posts".

Commander Taco was unavailable for comment, however Cowboy Kneel was said to ask for a print of [figure 2] for his basement apartment. Simoniker remained British and unable to spell "color," while Timothy responded by posting the same story six times, and Hemos reposted a seventh time, the submission differing only from his application of that damned Einstein icon.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

________________________________________________
| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ |
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ |
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

Cowboy Kneel endangers village! (-1, Offtopic)

Recbo (13520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247719)

I can't believe Cowboy Kneel just asked for a free and unlicensed hardcopy printout of Figure 2, like he's not going in the death-squad kidnapping and torture disappearance database for that bit of commie taint!

And he didn't even kill a neighbor to prove his loyalty before 87% besmirching himself and his progeny and indeed HIS WHOLE VILLAGE!

Shall his dangerous deed go unmoderated? I think not! We must kill the pig, slit his throat, to prove our loyalty!

free e-democracy project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247628)

free e-democracy project

if that isn't terrorism...

Pretty effective (1)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247631)

Their efforts have been pretty effective so far. Every link in the 'links' in the article are gone/down.

Any body care to share? Maybe provide on the P2P networks and post keywords here...

this link should help (1)

rudabager (702995) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247663)

try this out... its not the memo but it explains the security flaws http://avirubin.com/vote/

blackboxvoting.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247672)

nuff said.

Re:Pretty effective (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247718)

Not all is gone. The main links page from the article has some interesting emails. Here are the first 2. Let's see if this gets to be the 2nd round of censorship that VA/Slashdot gets weasled into...


From Nel Finberg, Technical Writer, Diebold Election Systems

(Note: Metamor/Ciber is the ITA assigned to certify the software)

alteration of Audit Log in Access

To: "support"
Subject: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 23:31:30 -0700
Importance: Normal

Jennifer Price at Metamor (about to be Ciber) has indicated that she can access the
GEMS Access database and alter the Audit log without entering a password. What is the
position of our development staff on this issue? Can we justify this? Or should this
be anathema?
Nel

Reply from Ken Clark, principal engineer for Diebold Election Systems

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 09:55:02 -0700
Importance: Normal
In-reply-to:

Its a tough question, and it has a lot to do with perception. Of course everyone knows perception is reality.

Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the audit log. This isn't anything new. In VTS, you can open the database with progress and do the same. The same would go for anyone else's system using whatever database they are using. Hard drives are read-write entities. You can change their contents.

Now, where the perception comes in is that its right now very *easy* to change the contents. Double click the .mdb file. Even technical wizards at Metamor (or Ciber, or whatever) can figure that one out. Ouch! a tough dig at their collegues/competitors.

It is possible to put a secret password on the .mdb file to prevent Metamor from opening it with Access. I've threatened to put a password on the .mdb before when dealers/customers/support have done stupid things with the GEMS database structure using Access. Being able to end-run the database has admittedly got people out of a bind though. Jane (I think it was Jane) did some fancy footwork on the .mdb file in Gaston recently. I know our dealers do it. King County is famous for it. That's why we've never put a password on the file before.

Note however that even if we put a password on the file, it doesn't really prove much. Someone has to know the password, else how would GEMS open it. So this technically brings us back to square one: the audit log is modifiable by that person at least (read, me). Back to perception though, if you don't bring this up you might skate through Metamor. Uh, oh. I think it's been brought up!

There might be some clever crypto techniques to make it even harder to change the log (for me, they guy with the password that is). We're talking big changes here though, and at the moment largely theoretical ones. I'd doubt that any of our competitors are that clever.Youch! That wasn't nice!

By the way, all of this is why Texas gets its sh*t in a knot over the log printer. Log printers are not read-write, so you don't have the problem. Of course if I were Texas I would be more worried about modifications to our electronic ballots than to our electron logs, but that is another story I guess. Oh, yeah. A the one everyone *is* worried about!

Bottom line on Metamor is to find out what it is going to take to make them happy. You can try the old standard of the NT password gains access to the operating system, and that after that point all bets are off. You have to trust the person
with the NT password at least. This is all about Florida, and we have had VTS certified in Florida under the status quo for nearly ten years.

I sense a loosing this guy reads /. too much. 'losing', dammit battle here though. The changes to put a password on the .mdb file are not trivial and probably not even backward compatible, but we'll do it if that is what it is going to take.

Ken

Reply by Nel Finberg

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 14:48:16 -0700
Importance: Normal

Thanks for the response, Ken. For now Metamor accepts the requirement to restrict the server password to authorized staff in the jurisdiction, and that it should be the responsibility of the jurisdiction to restrict knowledge of this password. So no action is necessary in this matter, at this time. Nel


Re:Pretty effective (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247833)

under the links someone posted the memos themselves....

Re:Pretty effective (2, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247873)

Google has HTMLd it.

http://tinyurl.com/rej1 [tinyurl.com]

GNU.FREE founder has big ego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247634)

This is the first time I've ever seen a free software project post pics of those behind it on their website's homepage. And not exactly modestly sized, either. This doesn't really add credibility to the effort.

Re:GNU.FREE founder has big ego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247683)

Braham Cohen has his picture on the BitTorrent page. Although I guess since BT is under the MIT license it isn't really *free*.

Re:GNU.FREE founder has big ego (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247778)

Bram does have his picture up, it's on the donation page where he asks people to support him. I assume it's a fairly effective means of showing that there is a real person behind the software, trying to make a living.

Only in America (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247638)


could the goverment actually convice its people that by pressing a button on an ordinary computer you have a democracy

In Japan (Re:Only in America) (1)

oddmake (715380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247717)

Some influentail people start to consider about
"Pressing button democracy".
Read original [rieti.go.jp]
Japanese text or English translation [altavista.com]

They are not majority,of course.

Support Indymedia! (4, Interesting)

quigonn (80360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247640)

Indymedia is a very important platform in the current world where most people are influenced by mass media. So, support them by giving them webspace outside of the USA, so that they will be able to continue exercising their right to free speech!

Re:Support Indymedia! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247660)

Indymedia is a platform for anti-semitic, anti-american rantings by drooling conspiracy theorists and left-wing cretins who think "George Bush smells of poo" is a valid political argument.

Re:Support Indymedia! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247702)

Yeah they are anti-american in the same way that Noam Chomsky is anti-semitic. They disagree with the group that they are a part of so they are anti-$whatever. Ever hear about the freedom to disagree with the *majority* without being labeled somehow anti-american? It's called being an American. Although people like you are trying to change the definition of that term to mean something altogether different.

Re:Support Indymedia! (1)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247709)

Dear AC, this happens because the very same kind of fools although right winged get their rants blared on FOX, SKY, CNN and big newspapers. It's only fair that our share of cretins get to blow off in less known websites, hosted on cheap beige boxes. Don't like this national hero bashing? There's plenty regimes left you can move to, some are even friendly countries according to the USA.

Re:Support Indymedia! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247771)

Who says i'm an American? It just so happens that I dislike the fawning tributes to Hugo Chavez, the use of "Neo-Con" as a code word for Jew, the asskissing of Americas very own domestic terrorist group the ELF, etc. Indymedia and its ilk are a mirror image of the wack-job right-wing militia loonies that were big news 5 years ago. And if you think that the big media are biased towards anyone other than whoever holds power at the time then you are sadly mistaken.

It's not the "hero bashing" (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247819)

It's the articles/posts on Indymedia calling for the deaths of Jews and other that they don't like that bother some of us.

Re:It's not the "hero bashing" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247854)

What's wrong with killing Jews? They're evil.
We liberals need to be more vocal in our
support for the oppressed Palestinians.

Re:It's not the "hero bashing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247887)

I've never seen something like that on there? Can you find me a URL?

Re:Support Indymedia! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247788)

But ... George Bush smells of poo!

Re:Support Indymedia! (1)

op00to (219949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247874)

Indeed! If you're not with us, you're against us!

I would like to take a bet (1)

theolein (316044) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247644)

Given the current overly coroprate friendly environment in US-Justice and vice-versa, I would like to take a bet that this will not be resolved and that Diebold will be free to win elections for it's favourite party.

More likely bet... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247682)

How about this?

Since we know there are four manufacturers of potentially constitutionally illegal voting machines, it seems that Diebold is being thrown to the pack. Like George Tennet.

While the sheelpe are pleased with the effectivness of American justice to punish those deserving (Hows the mansion Kenny-boy!), the other three companies finish the job and end the "democratic" US. It used to be a republic, but you all gave that up a long time ago...

DOJ ain't THAT business friendly. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247824)

I don't seem to recall this many investigations, procescutions, and leaks since the days of Reagan near the time of the S&L crisis.

Seems to me a lot of companines are now coming under scrutiny from a combination of things. Public sentitment, investor anger, and a Justice department that does act.

Yes they allow some things to slip by, but do the other 3 groups.

Remember, the DOJ just isn't in Washington. Ashcroft is a favorite whipping boy because he is the most visible part. He gets credit for some things (though he does do a great job of not taking credit for what the field does) but he gets blamed for many things he isn't involved in. (can you say Philly?)

pateNTdead eyecon0meter gives accurate results (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247645)

you know they love to FUDge the #'s upon the capitollist hill annex of wall street of deceit.

they bulleave that if you can't win 'em over with phonIE ?pr? ?firm? hypenosys, you can just doo it buy the #'s.

lookout bullow. the daze of the felonious payper liesense corepirate nazi # FUDgers/execrable is WANing into coolapps/the abyss, at the speed of right.

get ready to see the light.

kind of slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247669)

there's pleNTy of evidence that the evile wons are not planning to surrender/go away any time soon, but no matter, the creator's newclear power plan, & planet/population rescue initiative, is generationally unstoppable, as is the gnu millennium.

as the lights continue to come up, we'll all know what time (it) is. there'll be no going back, & no where to hide.

for each of the creator's innocents harmed, there is a badtoll that must/will be repaid by you/US, as the perpetrators of the whoreabull life0cide against humankind will not be available to make reparations.

Do they not realize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247650)

That doing this will make the leaked documents even more noticed, with people wanting to know why Diebold wants them censored, thus resulting in hundreds of new mirrors popping up and everyone sharing this with each other?

eye gas knot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247703)

seems that the felonious wons still bulleave that THEY, are the center of the wwuniverse. how fauxking MiSguided they MuSt be.

they even go so far as to deny the existence of the creator, & the newclear power plan, as they cannot comprehend (poor training?) the wholeness of the gnu millennium, choosing to narrow their focus DOWn to phonIE monIE, & power & .controll freak behaviours.

lookout bullow.

Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (2, Flamebait)

Little Brother (122447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247651)

Guys, like always, you're jumping the gun a little bit in favour of Free Software. I do not deny that an open project could be usefull in voting machine technologies, but that is far from the only solution. All that is truly needed is accountability built into the system. If a commercial product created a paper-trail that could appeald to in case of a challenge of the voting results (and the voters could see their vote choice printed) it would solve the major problems the diebold systems were designed to have. True, a GPL'd solution could do this as well, but when we start saying that no commercial product will work, we start to look like zealots who's primary goal is to get Free Software out everywhere. The issue this time isn't free vrs non-free software, it is free vrs. non-free elections: if such is possible this is a more important issue than Free Software proliferation.

DAMN! (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247664)

Just use paper! Is it really that hard?

Re:DAMN! (1)

op00to (219949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247894)

If you use paper, then you actually have to LIE about the election results to make them in your favor instead of just altering them in the database.

Re:DAMN! (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247906)

Just use paper! Is it really that hard?

Yes.

It adds a whole new set of problems. Adding an electromechanical device like a printer would greatly reduce system reliability and increase maintenance and operation costs. Making things worse, these systems sit in storage for months between elections. What are the environmental controls, if any, in the storage facility? The customer expects to pull these units from storage, power them up, and have them work. The customer is not going to have a dedicated group of technicians to test and repair the printers. People will have to be trained in how to install and remove the paper. How often have you seen a store clerk ask for help from a fellow employee when the paper runs out in their cash register? The devices are price sensitive, so how much can you spend on designing, testing and producing the printer and paper feed assemblies? How many units will fail during the election due to printer problems and paper jams?

Re:Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (2, Insightful)

mocm (141920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247675)

GPLed software does not rule out a commercial solution. You can still pay someone for writing the software and since it is linked to the hardware anyway, what speaks against opening the source. It does not even have to be GPLed, you just need to be able to verify the software.
I for one would like to have a system, where I get some kind of receipt (maybe a chipcard or a code number) which I can use to verfy my vote anonymously on the internet or at a verification station.
All this is possible and can be done securely without hiding the source code and with keeping the privacy of the voter.

Re:Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247693)

Now, michael didn't say Free Software is the only way to go, he just suggested it as one possible solution. I don't see a problem with that. Interestingly, if you actually follow the link he provided to free-project.org, it contains this statement:

We used to develop the GNU.FREE Internet Voting software and we retain a strong interest in electronic voting issues, primarily through advocating why we feel it's an undesirable advance. Apparently, they're no longer fully interested in developing internet voting software (which is quite different from electronic voting anyway), and now their just an advocacy group or something. Hmm.

Re:Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (4, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247724)

All that is truly needed is accountability built into the system. If a commercial product created a paper-trail that could appeald

Which means open-source of some sort. Anything else can be rigged, including the paper trail it produces. No part of the election process should be hidden from the electorate, whether comuterised or mechanical. Is that zealotry? It sounds like Common Sense to me.

TWW

Re:Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (2, Interesting)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247739)

True, a GPL'd solution could do this as well, but when we start saying that no commercial product will work, we start to look like zealots who's primary goal is to get Free Software out everywhere.

There is no conflict between Free Software and commercial products. In fact, it's very likely that any Free Software-based voting system would be a commercial product. The point here is that voting machines are a major component in the engine of democracy and that there is absolutely no reason why they should contain secret code or mechanics. Further, it's a horrible idea from a practical standpoint to allow a single vendor to have this sort of lock on that market. Just wait 'til Diebold has sold these machines to pretty much every precinct and then the machines start to require repairs. Can't wait to see those bills myself!

Re:Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (4, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247777)

Please see Ken Thompson's totally moby hack of Unix, providing a back door even if a system was built from audited code.

http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/B/back-door.htm l

A "Paper Trail" is worthless with computer based voting machines unless the entire system is completely transparent to outside observers.

When it comes to elections no one, no one company and no one thing can be trusted without massive public oversight.

And most specifically the governement itself is the entity least trustable to "certify" that an election process is fair and properly conducted. I'm an American but I've lived through "democratic" elections in a third world country.

If the the press cannot hire its own experts to completely examine the system and freely publish its results there is no democracy.

KFG

KFG

KFG

Re:Open Sofware Not The Only Solution (1)

Talez (468021) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247831)

I'm usually considered a moderate bordering on Microsoft apologist but this time I whole-heartedly side with the zealots.

Transparency is the key to this. Any hidden source code is a bad thing.

Shared Source License and Peer Review (1)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247838)

The useful half of this really matters. This is a case where I don't care if we can sell competing products, but I do care very much that the source open for review.

Even a Microsoft-style shared source license would be better than the status quo, though it pains me to say so.

No, free software IS the only solution. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247886)

True, a GPL'd solution could do this as well, but when we start saying that no commercial product will work, we start to look like zealots who's primary goal is to get Free Software out everywhere.

That's not the first time a comercial software advocate has stooped to name calling. I'll ignore it because it adds nothing.

I'd like you to name one advantage of closed source software and tell me how this outwheighs the need for public transparency in the electoral process. I can easily show that closed source can defeat a paper trail. Can you show an advantage that makes this risk acceptable?

Any closes system can be comprimised by it's owner. A major disadvantage to closed comercial code is that it may contain backdoors. FTP logs from Di-bold machines with time stamps durring elections lends strong support to those who say that DiBold machines have backdoors. Because backdoors work without visible signs, there would be no reason to go to the expense of hand counting. Free software won't have any such mechanism unless it's illegally added.

The only way for a computing machine to be owned by it's physical owner is for it to be free and for the physical owner to be root. This applies to voting machines the same way it applies to personal computers. When DiBold or someone other than the election commision is root, someone other than the election commision runs the election. All they have to do is log in and change things where needed to acheive their ends. In a close election, a paper trail will not be able to prove the fraud, not even a paper trail where the voter has been handed a printed vote to stick into a box.

What possible advantage can their be to closed source that's more important than the integrity of the election? You can't point to code quality because free software has proven itself superior to it's comercial equivalents. You can't point to availability, because free software is filling all nitches already and will fill any nitch mandated by law. You can't even point to ease of use because the ballot layout is decided by the election comissions and free software will meet any demands placed on it. What are you left with? What am I missing that makes me a "Zealot"? What do you have to offer that justifies name calling?

Time for an election GPL project. (1)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247654)

We need someone to come up with a GPL'd project that is an OS that does ballots on the x86 platform which is open source and workable, freely downloadable and testable then get people together to demand that it be put on election systems instead of using questionable ones.

Re:Time for an election GPL project. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247765)

ya know a truely open system wouldnt require x86:P

Really now. Let's think for a moment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247656)

Let's think. US elections are too big an issue to be left to the people.

After all, if people were to say their opinion in the elections, the opinion would have to be honored. And what would that leave the US power elites?

So, you see, fair elections make it harder to uphold the status quo, and to concentrate the wealth and power to the hands of the select few.

Naturally, you cannot have that. Hence the elections must be silently modifiable.

It is not time for gnu-free (4, Insightful)

johannesg (664142) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247658)

E-voting is simply a bad idea. Voting needs to be done using paper, in order to keep accountability. Paper, once written, cannot be changed and can always be recounted. Software offers no such guarantee, not even if a thousand 'experts' all proclaim the software to be safe.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

quigonn (80360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247680)

No, e-voting can make things much simpler. But for reasons of security, these machines must also print a audit trail on paper, so that the votes counted eletronically can be checked against the audit trail, and it must be written in a way that the voter can check whether it was written correctly. The Diebold machines do not meet these criteria, writing an audit trail only into an Access database.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247761)

these machines must also print a audit trail on paper, so that the votes counted eletronically can be checked against the audit trail,

So why bother with the electronic counting? If you are going to count the audit trail there's no point in the electronic count and if the audit trail isn't counted then the electronic system can happily push the vote 2 or 3 percent towards the paying candidate, while printing a fake paper trail, and no one will ever know.

TWW

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247815)

You might not check every vote -- perhaps a random sampling, or districts where there is other evidence of vote-tampering, or something.

E-voting is simply a bad idea. (4, Insightful)

harriet nyborg (656409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247752)

E-voting is simply a bad idea.

Hear, hear.

The important thing in democracy is not the voting, it's the counting.

Any technology introduced to improve the act of voting cannot make the act of counting less transparent or democracy suffers.

It is apparent that Diebold's systems (not to mention Diebold's paranoia for secrecy) render the act of counting less accountable and less transparent. Ergo, democracy suffers.

If used in a close election - where exit polling and other secondary measurements are unable to confirm the results of the counting - the wrong person might actually get elected President of the United States of America.

With no sense of responsibility to the coutry at large, this illegitimate President might launch a series of Napoleonic wars to to compensate for his own feelings of inadequacy.

I digress into fantasy... the little blue ones I washed down with all those adult beverages must be kicking in.

Paper is not infallible (1)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247794)

It's not like paper is some magic substance that prevents fraud. Paper ballots using ink marks can be photocopied. Paper ballots using punch-outs (e.g., chads, be they pregnant, hanging, or otherwise) are more awkward to copy but still can be done. Paper ballots can be burned (just like electronic ballots can be fried by electrical or magnetic forces). And so on. Society has greater comfort with those limitations, because society has been using paper ballots for quite some time, but all we need is one good scandal on top of the Bush-Gore election dispute to have people start more seriously questioning the validity of paper.

Ballots that contain some sort of code that is cross-checked against an electronic record in a database, using values only computed at the time the vote is recorded, would be rather difficult to forge, but, then, that implies electronic voting with a paper-based audit trail.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247808)

E-voting itself is not a bad idea (the convenience of not having to deal with reams of paper ballots, fewer counting mistakes ("hanging Chad"), etc.). However, there needs to be a better audit trail left. If the voting machine simply reports the count, then it is noy good. It should be hooked up to a printer, where it can print out a little cards with a 2-D barcode (like PDF417, with lots of error-correction) on them, which can be counted with high accuracy on a scanner, in case of a dispute.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247814)

Paper, once written, cannot be changed and can always be recounted.

This matters only in theory. Apparently, the US voting system is so flawed that electronic voting is "good enough", compared to the other irregularities. Please keep in mind that the result of the last US presidental election in Florida was determined by (re)counting, but by a decision of the locall state parliament, and also that voter registration seems to introduce quite a bias in who is eligible to vote.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (2, Insightful)

vegetablespork (575101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247864)

I agree that there were irregularities in Florida, but disagree with this statement:
. . . and also that voter registration seems to introduce quite a bias in who is eligible to vote.
Voter registration, per se, does not introduce any bias (abuses like erroneous felon lists in Florida notwithstanding). It does cause a self-selection--that is, those who vote are those willing to take the time to register. This is why I oppose laws like "Motor Voter" and other efforts to make registration automatic. I also vehemently oppose any effort to allow voting from home, except for the physically disabled or other situations in which absentee ballots are currently allowed. If one can't be bothered to register and come to the polls, I don't want that person helping run the country.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247844)

I agree 100% on accountability, BUT e-voting is like any other technology something that can make the system much quicker and more efficient.

It takes a lot of time, effort and man power to count thousands or millions of votes. eVoting would defintely speed up and cheapen that process...

but again, I agree that before e-voting takes off there must be accountability on par with or better than our current system.

Re:It is not time for gnu-free (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247895)

I hear that. If I'm going to fight and be dragged through the muck, let it be over an RFC or IEEE spec about secure vote tallying over an open network, and documenting standards for electronic machines.

The government has standardized the diameter of fire hoses, the output of a voting machine should be cake.

Link to memo that works (2, Informative)

asmithmd1 (239950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247687)

Here [scoop.co.nz] is a link to the memos thaty actually works

Typical. (1)

mrsam (12205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247690)

The usual solution to these kinds of situations is to quickly mirror the offending documents as far and as wide as possible.


I have no doubt whatsoever that by the end of the day these documents will be mirrored in hundreds of places around the world.

Re:Typical. (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247878)

Does it matter? I don't care who is doing the electing (or the fixing) if I get to do the nominating.

helpful link (1)

rudabager (702995) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247695)

http://www.equalccw.com/lewisdeconstructed.pdf This links to a pdf that has excerpts of internal memos at diebold.

Simple System (2, Interesting)

sjlutz (540312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247700)

How about just an electronic voting system that has redundancy. Example:
1) User votes for who they want to and it is recorded
2) Machine prints out card with users vote
3) Card is checked by user for accuracy
4) Card is then re-inserted into machine to generate the backup tally.

If the tallies from 1 and 4 don't match, the cards are "certified" and then rerun.

Re:Simple System (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247737)

3) Card is checked by user for accuracy

How often do you think this actually happens? Generally, you're lucky if you can get people out to vote for Tweedledum or Tweedledee, asking them to do some work when they get there is going too far.

Even if they do check I can think of a couple of ways to rig it anyway if you just need or want a few percent onto your candidate/brother's vote.

Just get a piece of paper, put a mark on it, get a bunch of people to count the marks.

TWW

Re:Simple System (2, Insightful)

vegetablespork (575101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247758)

If people are put off by putting in a little effort, it's just fine with me that they don't vote. People who are willing to put forth effort will decide elections, and everyone will benefit.

Re:Simple System (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247846)

People who are willing to put forth effort will decide elections, and everyone will benefit.

Which is, of course, an argument for not having any electronic voting. Which is fine by me.

TWW

Re:Simple System (2, Insightful)

Bronster (13157) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247796)

3) Card is checked by user for accuracy

How often do you think this actually happens? Generally, you're lucky if you can get people out to vote for Tweedledum or Tweedledee, asking them to do some work when they get there is going too far.

It doesn't matter if it's only 1% of people who are doing that - if they notice that the machine hasn't printed what they asked for, they'll kick up a stink. More than a couple of people do that and the whole system will be called into question.

It's the same basis on which lots of blind-signing trust systems are built - ask the person to produce 100 different 'secrets', and verify that a random 99 of them are correct, then sign the other without looking at it, because the chance that they correctly guessed which of the 100 you would sign is so low, and (with a high enough penalty) the cost of being caught too high...

Re:Simple System (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247855)

It doesn't matter if it's only 1% of people who are doing that - if they notice that the machine hasn't printed what they asked for, they'll kick up a stink. More than a couple of people do that and the whole system will be called into question.

Which is why you don't do it on every ballot and you allow a "re-try" option which is programmed to work correctly and various other methods of alaying suspicion.

TWW

Got it all wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247840)

You operate under the false impression that government wants fair elections. It is a time-honored American tradition to manipulate elections. It's almost a contest between the two parties to see who can do it more.

morons issue increase & persist notice (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247731)

that's right. unprecedented evile et AL, will never be more vulnerable than in it's present form, which is eXPosed.

so, no better time to join/participate in the creator's planet/population rescue initiative, & newclear power plans.

you will not be needing any phonIE softwar gangster payper liesenses, or greed/fear/ego/deceit based legal sparrows.

the lights are coming up now.

you may choose to not participate/continue pretending, but that will not help you/US.

So do something about it (1)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247733)

Ring your local elected representatives. Write to your local paper. Tell them the story. Demand that they get Diebold executives charged with vote-tampering. Whining to your fellow slashdotters will achieve nothing. Go hack the real world.

Re:So do something about it (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247787)

Sure, go whine to your elected representives. Whine to them that if they don't do something about this, you won't vote for them next election.

Hang on a sec... I think I see a problem here.

this is the most serious threat to America (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247741)

This isn't the only site that Diebold has shut down. I guess it just finally went far enough to get posted here. blackboxvoting.org is another one.

No educated person can believe that these systems are anything but a predesigned plan to subvert elections. It is impossible to make computer voting secure without compromising the secret ballot. Even the most basic steps to make these systems secure have not been taken.

There's no way to fix computer voting. Diebold will "fix" their security problems and it will still be easy to subvert the elections through well-hidden backdoors. Everyone will think the machines are completely secure because they'll remember the fuss about their security.

Do you want a corporation to have the power to decide arbitrarily the outcome of elections?

Re:this is the most serious threat to America (1)

Recbo (13520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247757)

Isn't Diebold acting like a perfect coup-state trojan here?

the bulLIEned ?leading? the clueless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247764)

l00ks LIEk that's what's happening.

lookout bullow. J. Public's well fed dupe with the phonIE fauxking georgewellian fuddite corepirate nazi execrable.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator regarding decisions of the heart/mind/wallet.

pay attention (to yOUR environment/the weather, for example). that's affordable, & can lead to increased ability to assist in the disempowerment of the felonious greed/fear/ego based ?pr? ?firm? hypenosys bullshipping industrIE.

How is this for a pear review-able while anonymous (1)

thecampbeln (457432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247755)

A hash is made based on the votes selections, voting location, vote submittal time, etc. Basically everything but the voters name (one (wo)man, one vote doesn't mean traceable).

This hash is printed and/or emailed to a voter-defined email address (which could default to a 3rd party organization if the voter has no email). This email would contain a link that when clicked would query the central database of tallied votes. If the user-passed hash string is contained within the tallied votes, all is A-OK. If it's missing, then some impropriety has taken place.

The hash could be stored in the Db, but would be regenerated at each user-initiated check as a further check to ensure that what the voter entered was recorded correctly (this is by no means a perfect solution, so suggestions are welcome ;). Then, each user that generates an error should start an investigation, etc, etc.

Now for that messy licensing thing - This idea is copyright Nick Campbeln, 2003, All Rights Reserved. Wanna use this idea? Cool! The license requires 5% of your annual profits off the system that utilizes this idea. Is your solution open source and given away freely to any government who wants it? Cool, 5% of $0 = $0.

Re:How is this for a pear review-able while anonym (1)

Genady (27988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247818)

How about a much easier solution. PRINT A MARKED BALLOT! (With a barcode) Then if there are discrepencies you can re-count by hand if you REALLY have to, or can just load the ballots up in a counting machine and scan all the barcodes.

Re:How is this for a pear review-able while anonym (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247849)

Now for that messy licensing thing - This idea is copyright Nick Campbeln, 2003, All Rights Reserved. Wanna use this idea? Cool! The license requires 5% of your annual profits off the system that utilizes this idea. Is your solution open source and given away freely to any government who wants it? Cool, 5% of $0 = $0. You do realise that you patent ideas, (which takes years and money and lawyers) and copyright specific implementations of those ideas (which is free and automatic)? So you've got two choices - either go to the patent office and register your above plan, and try and get it past prior art (better have a lawyer draft that patent application!), or write an entire system that does what you describe, which you will have copyright of; but then that doesn't stop anyone else using the same idea, but different code to implement it. Hmm. Maybe I should go patent the 'try and make money by coming up with an idea that's totally impractical then try and charge people for using it without doing any work, except post it on a public forum'. I'd make millions. Now, back to the idea. I can see several basic flaws. First, email is not a reliable medium, and you'd get corrupted votes that way. Also, what happens when people get viruses or spam that pretend to be vote confirmations, and people click and completely break the voting system with 'missing' votes? Two, the live vote database exposed to the 'net, so it can be verified by a url? Very secure. Honest. Three, it relies on an informed, electronically connected populace to verify their votes. Err, if we had that, we wouldn't be having this problem in the first place, as people would be demonstrating in their millions on the streets at what's being done. Four, ever heard of voter anonymity? You've got a hash containing who someone voted for, tied to a valid email address. Not that any political party, or police state would love to get hold of such data. (So Mr Anderson. We see you voted for the Legalise Pot Now party. Don't mind us looking in your trunk, do we?)

Re: C&D (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247772)

"It has recently come to our clients' attention that you appear to be hosting a web site that contains information location tools that refer or link users to one or more online location containing Diebold Property."

Earth to Diebold: Emails are not property

I trust that the community will have a full set of mirrored locations available today, as we seem to do each time a C&D letter is sent...

Here is the link (0)

scifience (674659) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247775)

I have mirrored the chapters from the book that have been trying to be knocked out as well as the memos I could find. If you have more memos, e-mail them to me at webmaster@scifience.net. Go to http://www.scifience.net/ and read the first blog post. Click the link for the book chapters and click to read more for the memos.

Re:Here is the link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247852)

Don't bother--the link to the chapters doesn't work, and his site is craptastically full of pop-up ads for Gator and other crap. The poster appears to be whoring for ad impressions.

Incriminating text of the memos (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247776)

Internal Memos: Diebold Doing End-Runs Around Certification

Friday, 12 September 2003 (PDT)
By Bev Harris - blackboxvoting.org

http://www.blackboxvoting.com

If certification isn't being done properly, the whole house of cards falls. Below are actual copies of internal Diebold memos which show that uncertified software is being used in elections, and that Diebold programmers intentionally end-run the system.

Quick backgrounder first, scroll down to see the memos.

BACKGROUND

Our voting system, which is part of the public commons has recently been privatized. When this happened, the counting of the votes, which must be a public process, subjected to the scrutiny of many eyes of plain old citizens, became a secret.

The computerized systems that register voters, will soon sign voters into the polling place using a digital smart card, record the vote we cast, and tally it are now so secret they are not allowed to be examined by any citizens group, or even by academics like the computer scientists at major universities.

The corporate justification for this secrecy is that these systems adhere to a list of "standards" put out by the Federal Election Commission, and that an "ITA" (Independent Testing Authority) carefully examines the voting system, which is then provided to states for their own certification.

As it turns out, the states typically do not examine the computer code at all, relying instead on a "Logic and Accuracy" test which will not catch fraud and has frequently missed software programming errors that cause the machines to miscount.

A Diebold message board has been used since 1999 to help technicians in the field interact with programmers to solve problems. The contents of this message board were quietly sent to reporters and activists around the world, most likely by a Diebold employee. In a letter to WiredNews, Diebold has acknowledged that these memos are from its own staff message boards.

Without further commentary, judge for yourself whether Diebold has been following certification requirements:

From Nel Finberg, Technical Writer, Diebold Election Systems

(Note: Metamor/Ciber is the ITA assigned to certify the software)

alteration of Audit Log in Access

To: "support"
Subject: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 23:31:30 -0700
Importance: Normal

Jennifer Price at Metamor (about to be Ciber) has indicated that she can access the GEMS Access database and alter the Audit log without entering a password. What is the position of our development staff on this issue? Can we justify this? Or should this be anathema?
Nel

Reply from Ken Clark, principal engineer for Diebold Election Systems

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 09:55:02 -0700
Importance: Normal
In-reply-to:

Its a tough question, and it has a lot to do with perception. Of course everyone knows perception is reality.

Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the audit log. This isn't anything new. In VTS, you can open the database with progress and do the same. The same would go for anyone else's system using whatever database they are using. Hard drives are read-write entities. You can change their contents.

Now, where the perception comes in is that its right now very *easy* to change the contents. Double click the .mdb file. Even technical wizards at Metamor (or Ciber, or whatever) can figure that one out.

It is possible to put a secret password on the .mdb file to prevent Metamor from opening it with Access. I've threatened to put a password on the .mdb before when dealers/customers/support have done stupid things with the GEMS database structure using Access. Being able to end-run the database has admittedly got people out of a bind though. Jane (I think it was Jane) did some fancy footwork on the .mdb file in Gaston recently. I know our dealers do it. King County is famous for it. That's why we've never put a password on the file before.

Note however that even if we put a password on the file, it doesn't really prove much. Someone has to know the password, else how would GEMS open it. So this technically brings us back to square one: the audit log is modifiable by that person at least (read, me). Back to perception though, if you don't bring this up you might skate through Metamor.

There might be some clever crypto techniques to make it even harder to change the log (for me, they guy with the password that is). We're talking big changes here though, and at the moment largely theoretical ones. I'd doubt that any of our competitors are that clever.

By the way, all of this is why Texas gets its sh*t in a knot over the log printer. Log printers are not read-write, so you don't have the problem. Of course if I were Texas I would be more worried about modifications to our electronic ballots than to our electron logs, but that is another story I guess.

Bottom line on Metamor is to find out what it is going to take to make them happy. You can try the old standard of the NT password gains access to the operating system, and that after that point all bets are off. You have to trust the person with the NT password at least. This is all about Florida, and we have had VTS certified in Florida under the status quo for nearly ten years.

I sense a loosing battle here though. The changes to put a password on the .mdb file are not trivial and probably not even backward compatible, but we'll do it if that is what it is going to take.

Ken

Reply by Nel Finberg

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 14:48:16 -0700
Importance: Normal

Thanks for the response, Ken. For now Metamor accepts the requirement to restrict the server password to authorized staff in the jurisdiction, and that it should be the responsibility of the jurisdiction to restrict knowledge of this password. So no action is necessary in this matter, at this time. Nel

From Tyler to Ken Clark, Diebold Election Systems

Re: Nichols Lab

To: >,
Subject: Re: Nichols Lab
From: "Tyler"
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 14:04:19 -0600

In point of fact, the user documentation MUST be completed before attempting certification. It is my understanding that the documentation is a certification requirement. I don't know how closely Nichols will scrutinize the documentation, but I wouldn't feel comfortable going forward with certification with what we have for GEMS. Ostensibly, the documentation we submit to Nichols will become the "certified" documentation and we ostensibly shouldn't provide anything but that to customers. But then again, with regards to the entire NASED certification process, I can never quite get a handle on the relationship between "ostensible" and "reality."... :-)

From Ken Clark

RE: AVTS - Diagnostics & Installation

To: "Support Team (E-mail)"
Subject: RE: AVTS - Diagnostics & Installation
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 16:41:56 -0500
Importance: Normal

> From: owner-support@gesn.com On Behalf Of > Juan Rivera

> > I do not feel that it is necessary or desired to do this on each and every > election. We, the manufacturer, are supposed to set the > procedures to follow > for this equipment since we build it.

I hate more than anyone else in the company to bring up a certification issue with this, but a number of jurisdictions require a "system test" before every election. I just helped Knecht yesterday with an RFP from Riverside that required this. That is why the AccuVote displayes the silly ***System Test Passed*** message on boot up instead of "memory test passed", which is all it actually tests.

No argument from me that it is pointless. You could probably get away with a batch file that prints "system test passed" for all I know. We will do something along those lines with the new unit after a memory test or whatever.

Ken

From Ken Clark

RE: Testing sb100 database 1.14.2 (asap please)

To: "SUPPORT (E-mail)"
Subject: RE: Testing sb100 database 1.14.2 (asap please)
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 09:38:52 -0600
Importance: Normal

> Do you all think it would be a good idea to get Jeff Dean to send us 10 or > so precincts by eight parties with pre-printed test decks from one of the > California sites for Jane to test AccuVote and CC???? If so, > I'll call Jeff > Dean and set up asap.

*Any* testing we can do on 1.14 is a good idea. With the risk of sounding alarmist, 1.14 really needs more testing. Even though much of GEMS looks the same from the outside, the guts changed substantially between 1.11 and 1.14. That's why you see all kinds of things completely unrelated to shadow races broken in the early 1.14 releases.

Hats off to everyone posting 1.14 bug reports.

Ken

(The above memo is important because it documents that the "guts" of GEMS 1.14 are substantially changed from the certified version, 1.11 -- it was then used in elections, but according to Diebold's own chart of which versions were certified, version 1.14 was never certified.)

From Steve Knecht

1.14 vs. 1.15 GEMS versions

(uncertified versions used.)

To: "Global Support"
Subject: 1.14 vs. 1.15 GEMS versions
From: "Steve Knecht"
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 17:10:34 -0800

Is it the intention of development staff that California March election will be run on some version of 1.14 or will we end up in the 1.15 range. Can you comment on the following: Are the changes being made now to 1.15 GEMS things that are in the ballot layout realm, and will not impact ballot processing, or tabulation issues?? In other words, is it possible that changes made from now on will break things we're starting to test, such as memory card up/download, central count, etc. We are beginning testing of 1.14.4 this week. Should we be testing with something else?

I guess a little summary picture of what you expect over the next 3 weeks of testing would be helpful. I'd say we will have to lock down GEMS by mid - February, AVTS ballot station is to go on-line, along with a pollbook function by Feb. 7, but we are supposed to do testing and L&A prior to this. No panic yet, just wondering where we're going to lock some of this down for the March primary.

Here is the related memo from Ken Clark:

Needless to say, the changes were extensive. The paint is still wet, and I expect people will want some tweaks in functionality as well as the obligatory bug fixes. We'll treat the early 1.15 series as "prereleases" for LHS testing so California does not have to suffer. Once 1.15 looks at least as solid as 1.14 though, we'll end the 1.14 branch. 1.14 and earlier Databases will upgrade to 1.15 without harm as usual. People testing 1.14 are encouraged to try out 1.15 to avoid any surprises when they are forced to upgrade.

Ken

(Here is a whole series of odd memos pertaining to how they should handle the inconvenience of an uncertified version number popping up on the screen in Florida)

From Greg Forsythe

Florida Certified Versions

To: "Support"
Subject: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Greg Forsythe"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 11:12:02 -0500
Organization: Global Election Systems, Inc

Just received a call from Beverly Hill, Alachua County. She has a survey form from the state regarding versions and things. She is at the SA screen and the version is 1.92-15. Saturday, Feb. 12 she created a screen test database. This copy has 1.92-14. 1.92-14 is certified, 1.92-15 is not. SOLUTION REQUIRED! Greg Forsythe

Re: Florida Certified Versions

From Nel Finberg

To:
Subject: Re: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 09:51:10 -0800

I am currently looking into the problem with Beverly. Nel

From Greg Forsythe

Re: Florida Certified Versions

To:
Subject: Re: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Greg Forsythe"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 12:55:09 -0500
Organization: Global Election Systems, Inc
References: 1.14 qualifies as long haul or not. That really depends on your comfort level. There is never any harm in ordering a CD. Other frequently asked questions while I am here:

Features are always propagated forward. I suppose one day we might remove a feature, but I've never seen it happen.

Baring bugs, artwork and memory cards are still compatible after GEMS upgrade unless there is a big announcement to the contrary. Its only happened once that artwork was incompatible after upgrade, and memory cards have never been incompatible.

The database changes between major releases (1.15->1.16) but not minor releases (1.16.1->1.16.2). You can downgrade out of trouble between minor releases, but a major release upgrade is a one way trip.

Ken

From Jeff Hintz

Software for Los Angelas, CA

To: "Support Team (E-mail)"
Subject: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Jeff Hintz"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 12:31:06 -0500
Importance: Normal

I am going out to LA next week, and I would like to know what software version of Gems & AVTS is being sent out on their equipement. Thanks, Jeff Hintz

(uncertified versions used.)

From Rodney D Turner

RE: Software for Los Angelas, CA

To:
Subject: Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Rodney D Turner"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 13:31:55 -0500
References:

Is this a "testing" release or not? (Ashamed to ask). I think the hallucinations ought to be resurfacing with Steve already. Ken

From Talbot Iredale

(uncertified versions used.)

RE: GEMS-1-17-1

To:
Subject: Re: GEMS-1-17-1
From: "Talbot Iredale"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 16:14:23 -0700
References:

This is no more of a test release than 1.16.9 was though I would not be surprised if we have to make more changes to fully support LA and Alameda. Tab Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA

To:
Subject: Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Steve Knecht"
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 09:10:49 -0700
References:

(uncertified versions used.)

Jeff, I think my thread may be out of sync, but discussion with Tab yesterday indicated that you'd be at least at 1.17.1 or higher to provide you with the "import" capability with their database. I believe Rodney / Mike would have to tell you what they loaded onto AVTS. Tab is still working on several programs that may affect what AVTS Rev and GEMS rev we both end up with.

From Tari Runyan

1-17-7-5 testing

To: "SUPPORT (E-mail)"
Subject: 1-17-7-5 testing
From: "Tari Runyan"
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 08:21:16 -0600

(uncertified versions used.)

I have tested this version to the extent I am able - twice even and unless anyone else has discovered anything - i think it can be released to the Ca Counties - Let me know if anyone else has any concerns as I would like to get this out this morning. Thank you

(There are dozens more memos like this, and hundreds that document the use of uncertified versions of the voting system, spanning a period from 1999 to 2003.)

Bev Harris is author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century ... See http://www.blackboxvoting.com/ and it's activist arm http://www.blackboxvoting.org/

homepage: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0309/S00150 .htm

Re:Incriminating text of the memos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247786)

Woohoo! Now lets see them try to take on Slashdot/OSDN!

Re:Incriminating text of the memos (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247813)

When $cientology tried it, Slashdot did "roll over" and comply .. by modding the Xenu/OT-III text down to -1 where they would never find it. Narf!

If Diebold is following the Elronic game plan, expect them to go after Google next. (That worked so well for the UFO cult!)

hehe.... C&D letters tell you what you need to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247860)

I wouldn't have the Diebold Memo's or the $cientology OT's if it wasn't for their C&D letters which made it interesting enough to me to bother to find and download.

Re:Incriminating text of the memos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247892)

There is a significant difference between a work of fiction the Scientology cult sells for money to its members and the internal memos of a company in charge of elections in the United States when it comes to copyright law and the ability for 3rd parties to reproduce those items wholesale. In one case you are likely denying a group the ability to profit from the work itself. In the other -- with a memo -- there is no such damage. (Even if down the line this means Diebold's voting fraud* [blackboxvoting.com] activities are exposed and so they do not profit from their msideeds).

Nevertheless, FUCK Scientology and its brainwashing cult (which gets people killed or poor or dumb).

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247791)

Finally, someone posted them on Slashdot

I want to make a Dutch mirror! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247785)

Please send material/link to dave at doklaan dot net!

diebold and Iraq? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247800)

So will Diebold be setting up the Iraqi "elections"?

I'm absolutely sure that somehow a Shiite Cleric will not win and instead the Iraqi's will "choose" to elect an ex-banker with ties to the US oil industry...

Re:diebold and Iraq? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247875)

Perhaps that's because the conquerors get to decide how the government is set up. If a Shiite nutcase wins, he'll either be taken out or Iraq will stay occupied for a long, long time. Except more brutally.

~~~

This is something I really don't understand.... (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247801)

This is not THAT HARD.

Writing a stable voting system with checks and balances that are auditable, and having a system that really works should NOT BE HARD. A mid-level university project, at most, could get it right. We are talking about something really important here....

I mean, it sounds like diebold wrote this with a couple junior guys over a couple weekends, using whatever toolkits they could get their hands on to make the job easier.. what gives?

All the code use the English way of spelling. (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247805)

>what this means is the software used in these elections was never looked at by ANYONE except a handful of programmers in Canada.

Don't you guys trust us Canadians? :)

Seriously, isnt't there something legalwise that any private citizen can do to stop or correct this sort of crap from happening?

Re:All the code use the English way of spelling. (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247904)

Sure, raise hell at our representative's office.

A phone call to your Federal/State representative is a) welcome and b) useful. A dead-tree letter is even better. And no, a form letter is NOT effective. Write your ideas in your own words, take the 2 minute out to track down where your representative's office is, lick a stamp, and send your thoughts on its way.

Use this republic for what it's designed for!

mailinator? (1)

sanctimonius hypocrt (235536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247806)

I just checked diebold at mailinator.com, on the off chance that someone might have sent the memos there. No Messages.

Don't Read This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247811)

Internal Memos: Diebold Doing End-Runs Around Certification

Friday, 12 September 2003 (PDT)
By Bev Harris - blackboxvoting.org

http://www.blackboxvoting.com

********
If certification isn't being done properly, the whole house of cards falls. Below are actual copies of internal Diebold memos which show that uncertified software is being used in elections, and that Diebold programmers intentionally end-run the system.

Quick backgrounder first, scroll down to see the memos.

BACKGROUND

Our voting system, which is part of the public commons has recently been privatized. When this happened, the counting of the votes, which must be a public process, subjected to the scrutiny of many eyes of plain old citizens, became a secret.

The computerized systems that register voters, will soon sign voters into the polling place using a digital smart card, record the vote we cast, and tally it are now so secret they are not allowed to be examined by any citizens group, or even by academics like the computer scientists at major universities.

The corporate justification for this secrecy is that these systems adhere to a list of "standards" put out by the Federal Election Commission, and that an "ITA" (Independent Testing Authority) carefully examines the voting system, which is then provided to states for their own certification.

As it turns out, the states typically do not examine the computer code at all, relying instead on a "Logic and Accuracy" test which will not catch fraud and has frequently missed software programming errors that cause the machines to miscount.

A Diebold message board has been used since 1999 to help technicians in the field interact with programmers to solve problems. The contents of this message board were quietly sent to reporters and activists around the world, most likely by a Diebold employee. In a letter to WiredNews, Diebold has acknowledged that these memos are from its own staff message boards.

Without further commentary, judge for yourself whether Diebold has been following certification requirements:

From Nel Finberg, Technical Writer, Diebold Election Systems

(Note: Metamor/Ciber is the ITA assigned to certify the software)

alteration of Audit Log in Access

To: "support"
Subject: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 23:31:30 -0700
Importance: Normal

Jennifer Price at Metamor (about to be Ciber) has indicated that she can access the GEMS Access database and alter the Audit log without entering a password. What is the position of our development staff on this issue? Can we justify this? Or should this be anathema?
Nel

Reply from Ken Clark, principal engineer for Diebold Election Systems

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 09:55:02 -0700
Importance: Normal
In-reply-to:

Its a tough question, and it has a lot to do with perception. Of course everyone knows perception is reality.

Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the audit log. This isn't anything new. In VTS, you can open the database with progress and do the same. The same would go for anyone else's system using whatever database they are using. Hard drives are read-write entities. You can change their contents.

Now, where the perception comes in is that its right now very *easy* to change the contents. Double click the .mdb file. Even technical wizards at Metamor (or Ciber, or whatever) can figure that one out.

It is possible to put a secret password on the .mdb file to prevent Metamor from opening it with Access. I've threatened to put a password on the .mdb before when dealers/customers/support have done stupid things with the GEMS database structure using Access. Being able to end-run the database has admittedly got people out of a bind though. Jane (I think it was Jane) did some fancy footwork on the .mdb file in Gaston recently. I know our dealers do it. King County is famous for it. That's why we've never put a password on the file before.

Note however that even if we put a password on the file, it doesn't really prove much. Someone has to know the password, else how would GEMS open it. So this technically brings us back to square one: the audit log is modifiable by that person at least (read, me). Back to perception though, if you don't bring this up you might skate through Metamor.

There might be some clever crypto techniques to make it even harder to change the log (for me, they guy with the password that is). We're talking big changes here though, and at the moment largely theoretical ones. I'd doubt that any of our competitors are that clever.

By the way, all of this is why Texas gets its sh*t in a knot over the log printer. Log printers are not read-write, so you don't have the problem. Of course if I were Texas I would be more worried about modifications to our electronic ballots than to our electron logs, but that is another story I guess.

Bottom line on Metamor is to find out what it is going to take to make them happy. You can try the old standard of the NT password gains access to the operating system, and that after that point all bets are off. You have to trust the person with the NT password at least. This is all about Florida, and we have had VTS certified in Florida under the status quo for nearly ten years.

I sense a loosing battle here though. The changes to put a password on the .mdb file are not trivial and probably not even backward compatible, but we'll do it if that is what it is going to take.

Ken

Reply by Nel Finberg

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 14:48:16 -0700
Importance: Normal

Thanks for the response, Ken. For now Metamor accepts the requirement to restrict the server password to authorized staff in the jurisdiction, and that it should be the responsibility of the jurisdiction to restrict knowledge of this password. So no action is necessary in this matter, at this time. Nel

From Tyler to Ken Clark, Diebold Election Systems

Re: Nichols Lab

To: >,
Subject: Re: Nichols Lab
From: "Tyler"
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 14:04:19 -0600

In point of fact, the user documentation MUST be completed before attempting certification. It is my understanding that the documentation is a certification requirement. I don't know how closely Nichols will scrutinize the documentation, but I wouldn't feel comfortable going forward with certification with what we have for GEMS. Ostensibly, the documentation we submit to Nichols will become the "certified" documentation and we ostensibly shouldn't provide anything but that to customers. But then again, with regards to the entire NASED certification process, I can never quite get a handle on the relationship between "ostensible" and "reality."... :-)

From Ken Clark

RE: AVTS - Diagnostics & Installation

To: "Support Team (E-mail)"
Subject: RE: AVTS - Diagnostics & Installation
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 16:41:56 -0500
Importance: Normal

> From: owner-support@gesn.com On Behalf Of > Juan Rivera

> > I do not feel that it is necessary or desired to do this on each and every > election. We, the manufacturer, are supposed to set the > procedures to follow > for this equipment since we build it.

I hate more than anyone else in the company to bring up a certification issue with this, but a number of jurisdictions require a "system test" before every election. I just helped Knecht yesterday with an RFP from Riverside that required this. That is why the AccuVote displayes the silly ***System Test Passed*** message on boot up instead of "memory test passed", which is all it actually tests.

No argument from me that it is pointless. You could probably get away with a batch file that prints "system test passed" for all I know. We will do something along those lines with the new unit after a memory test or whatever.

Ken

From Ken Clark

RE: Testing sb100 database 1.14.2 (asap please)

To: "SUPPORT (E-mail)"
Subject: RE: Testing sb100 database 1.14.2 (asap please)
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 09:38:52 -0600
Importance: Normal

> Do you all think it would be a good idea to get Jeff Dean to send us 10 or > so precincts by eight parties with pre-printed test decks from one of the > California sites for Jane to test AccuVote and CC???? If so, > I'll call Jeff > Dean and set up asap.

*Any* testing we can do on 1.14 is a good idea. With the risk of sounding alarmist, 1.14 really needs more testing. Even though much of GEMS looks the same from the outside, the guts changed substantially between 1.11 and 1.14. That's why you see all kinds of things completely unrelated to shadow races broken in the early 1.14 releases.

Hats off to everyone posting 1.14 bug reports.

Ken

(The above memo is important because it documents that the "guts" of GEMS 1.14 are substantially changed from the certified version, 1.11 -- it was then used in elections, but according to Diebold's own chart of which versions were certified, version 1.14 was never certified.)

From Steve Knecht

1.14 vs. 1.15 GEMS versions

(uncertified versions used.)

To: "Global Support"
Subject: 1.14 vs. 1.15 GEMS versions
From: "Steve Knecht"
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 17:10:34 -0800

Is it the intention of development staff that California March election will be run on some version of 1.14 or will we end up in the 1.15 range. Can you comment on the following: Are the changes being made now to 1.15 GEMS things that are in the ballot layout realm, and will not impact ballot processing, or tabulation issues?? In other words, is it possible that changes made from now on will break things we're starting to test, such as memory card up/download, central count, etc. We are beginning testing of 1.14.4 this week. Should we be testing with something else?

I guess a little summary picture of what you expect over the next 3 weeks of testing would be helpful. I'd say we will have to lock down GEMS by mid - February, AVTS ballot station is to go on-line, along with a pollbook function by Feb. 7, but we are supposed to do testing and L&A prior to this. No panic yet, just wondering where we're going to lock some of this down for the March primary.

Here is the related memo from Ken Clark:

Needless to say, the changes were extensive. The paint is still wet, and I expect people will want some tweaks in functionality as well as the obligatory bug fixes. We'll treat the early 1.15 series as "prereleases" for LHS testing so California does not have to suffer. Once 1.15 looks at least as solid as 1.14 though, we'll end the 1.14 branch. 1.14 and earlier Databases will upgrade to 1.15 without harm as usual. People testing 1.14 are encouraged to try out 1.15 to avoid any surprises when they are forced to upgrade.

Ken

(Here is a whole series of odd memos pertaining to how they should handle the inconvenience of an uncertified version number popping up on the screen in Florida)

From Greg Forsythe

Florida Certified Versions

To: "Support"
Subject: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Greg Forsythe"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 11:12:02 -0500
Organization: Global Election Systems, Inc

Just received a call from Beverly Hill, Alachua County. She has a survey form from the state regarding versions and things. She is at the SA screen and the version is 1.92-15. Saturday, Feb. 12 she created a screen test database. This copy has 1.92-14. 1.92-14 is certified, 1.92-15 is not. SOLUTION REQUIRED! Greg Forsythe

Re: Florida Certified Versions

From Nel Finberg

To:
Subject: Re: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 09:51:10 -0800

I am currently looking into the problem with Beverly. Nel

From Greg Forsythe

Re: Florida Certified Versions

To:
Subject: Re: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Greg Forsythe"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 12:55:09 -0500
Organization: Global Election Systems, Inc
References: 1.14 qualifies as long haul or not. That really depends on your comfort level. There is never any harm in ordering a CD. Other frequently asked questions while I am here:

Features are always propagated forward. I suppose one day we might remove a feature, but I've never seen it happen.

Baring bugs, artwork and memory cards are still compatible after GEMS upgrade unless there is a big announcement to the contrary. Its only happened once that artwork was incompatible after upgrade, and memory cards have never been incompatible.

The database changes between major releases (1.15->1.16) but not minor releases (1.16.1->1.16.2). You can downgrade out of trouble between minor releases, but a major release upgrade is a one way trip.

Ken

From Jeff Hintz

Software for Los Angelas, CA

To: "Support Team (E-mail)"
Subject: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Jeff Hintz"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 12:31:06 -0500
Importance: Normal

I am going out to LA next week, and I would like to know what software version of Gems & AVTS is being sent out on their equipement. Thanks, Jeff Hintz

(uncertified versions used.)

From Rodney D Turner

RE: Software for Los Angelas, CA

To:
Subject: Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Rodney D Turner"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 13:31:55 -0500
References:

Is this a "testing" release or not? (Ashamed to ask). I think the hallucinations ought to be resurfacing with Steve already. Ken

From Talbot Iredale

(uncertified versions used.)

RE: GEMS-1-17-1

To:
Subject: Re: GEMS-1-17-1
From: "Talbot Iredale"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 16:14:23 -0700
References:

This is no more of a test release than 1.16.9 was though I would not be surprised if we have to make more changes to fully support LA and Alameda. Tab Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA

To:
Subject: Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Steve Knecht"
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 09:10:49 -0700
References:

(uncertified versions used.)

Jeff, I think my thread may be out of sync, but discussion with Tab yesterday indicated that you'd be at least at 1.17.1 or higher to provide you with the "import" capability with their database. I believe Rodney / Mike would have to tell you what they loaded onto AVTS. Tab is still working on several programs that may affect what AVTS Rev and GEMS rev we both end up with.

From Tari Runyan

1-17-7-5 testing

To: "SUPPORT (E-mail)"
Subject: 1-17-7-5 testing
From: "Tari Runyan"
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 08:21:16 -0600

(uncertified versions used.)

I have tested this version to the extent I am able - twice even and unless anyone else has discovered anything - i think it can be released to the Ca Counties - Let me know if anyone else has any concerns as I would like to get this out this morning. Thank you

(There are dozens more memos like this, and hundreds that document the use of uncertified versions of the voting system, spanning a period from 1999 to 2003.)

# # # # #
Bev Harris is author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century ... See http://www.blackboxvoting.com/ and it's activist arm http://www.blackboxvoting.org/

homepage: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0309/S00150 .htm

great timing - town meeting on Voting Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247837)

What incredible timing for them to bring this to light!

The Civic Media Center, one of the few independent libraries and reading rooms (aka indyshops) in the USA, is having a town meeting this week with the topic "Voting Technology and Its Impact on Democracy" [civicmediacenter.org] Noam Chomsky is also going to be in town this week. This should be great for the discussion!

The memos. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7247870)

From the Indymedia thread. Let's make Slashdot liable!


heres
by some Tuesday October 14, 2003 at 10:23 AM

Internal Memos: Diebold Doing End-Runs Around Certification

Friday, 12 September 2003 (PDT)
By Bev Harris - blackboxvoting.org

http://www.blackboxvoting.com

********
If certification isn't being done properly, the whole house of cards falls. Below are actual copies of internal Diebold memos which show that uncertified software is being used in elections, and that Diebold programmers intentionally end-run the system.

Quick backgrounder first, scroll down to see the memos.

BACKGROUND

Our voting system, which is part of the public commons has recently been privatized. When this happened, the counting of the votes, which must be a public process, subjected to the scrutiny of many eyes of plain old citizens, became a secret.

The computerized systems that register voters, will soon sign voters into the polling place using a digital smart card, record the vote we cast, and tally it are now so secret they are not allowed to be examined by any citizens group, or even by academics like the computer scientists at major universities.

The corporate justification for this secrecy is that these systems adhere to a list of "standards" put out by the Federal Election Commission, and that an "ITA" (Independent Testing Authority) carefully examines the voting system, which is then provided to states for their own certification.

As it turns out, the states typically do not examine the computer code at all, relying instead on a "Logic and Accuracy" test which will not catch fraud and has frequently missed software programming errors that cause the machines to miscount.

A Diebold message board has been used since 1999 to help technicians in the field interact with programmers to solve problems. The contents of this message board were quietly sent to reporters and activists around the world, most likely by a Diebold employee. In a letter to WiredNews, Diebold has acknowledged that these memos are from its own staff message boards.

Without further commentary, judge for yourself whether Diebold has been following certification requirements:

From Nel Finberg, Technical Writer, Diebold Election Systems

(Note: Metamor/Ciber is the ITA assigned to certify the software)

alteration of Audit Log in Access

To: "support"
Subject: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 23:31:30 -0700
Importance: Normal

Jennifer Price at Metamor (about to be Ciber) has indicated that she can access the GEMS Access database and alter the Audit log without entering a password. What is the position of our development staff on this issue? Can we justify this? Or should this be anathema?
Nel

Reply from Ken Clark, principal engineer for Diebold Election Systems

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 09:55:02 -0700
Importance: Normal
In-reply-to:

Its a tough question, and it has a lot to do with perception. Of course everyone knows perception is reality.

Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the audit log. This isn't anything new. In VTS, you can open the database with progress and do the same. The same would go for anyone else's system using whatever database they are using. Hard drives are read-write entities. You can change their contents.

Now, where the perception comes in is that its right now very *easy* to change the contents. Double click the .mdb file. Even technical wizards at Metamor (or Ciber, or whatever) can figure that one out.

It is possible to put a secret password on the .mdb file to prevent Metamor from opening it with Access. I've threatened to put a password on the .mdb before when dealers/customers/support have done stupid things with the GEMS database structure using Access. Being able to end-run the database has admittedly got people out of a bind though. Jane (I think it was Jane) did some fancy footwork on the .mdb file in Gaston recently. I know our dealers do it. King County is famous for it. That's why we've never put a password on the file before.

Note however that even if we put a password on the file, it doesn't really prove much. Someone has to know the password, else how would GEMS open it. So this technically brings us back to square one: the audit log is modifiable by that person at least (read, me). Back to perception though, if you don't bring this up you might skate through Metamor.

There might be some clever crypto techniques to make it even harder to change the log (for me, they guy with the password that is). We're talking big changes here though, and at the moment largely theoretical ones. I'd doubt that any of our competitors are that clever.

By the way, all of this is why Texas gets its sh*t in a knot over the log printer. Log printers are not read-write, so you don't have the problem. Of course if I were Texas I would be more worried about modifications to our electronic ballots than to our electron logs, but that is another story I guess.

Bottom line on Metamor is to find out what it is going to take to make them happy. You can try the old standard of the NT password gains access to the operating system, and that after that point all bets are off. You have to trust the person with the NT password at least. This is all about Florida, and we have had VTS certified in Florida under the status quo for nearly ten years.

I sense a loosing battle here though. The changes to put a password on the .mdb file are not trivial and probably not even backward compatible, but we'll do it if that is what it is going to take.

Ken

Reply by Nel Finberg

RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access

To:
Subject: RE: alteration of Audit Log in Access
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 14:48:16 -0700
Importance: Normal

Thanks for the response, Ken. For now Metamor accepts the requirement to restrict the server password to authorized staff in the jurisdiction, and that it should be the responsibility of the jurisdiction to restrict knowledge of this password. So no action is necessary in this matter, at this time. Nel

From Tyler to Ken Clark, Diebold Election Systems

Re: Nichols Lab

To: >,
Subject: Re: Nichols Lab
From: "Tyler"
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 14:04:19 -0600

In point of fact, the user documentation MUST be completed before attempting certification. It is my understanding that the documentation is a certification requirement. I don't know how closely Nichols will scrutinize the documentation, but I wouldn't feel comfortable going forward with certification with what we have for GEMS. Ostensibly, the documentation we submit to Nichols will become the "certified" documentation and we ostensibly shouldn't provide anything but that to customers. But then again, with regards to the entire NASED certification process, I can never quite get a handle on the relationship between "ostensible" and "reality."... :-)

From Ken Clark

RE: AVTS - Diagnostics & Installation

To: "Support Team (E-mail)"
Subject: RE: AVTS - Diagnostics & Installation
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 16:41:56 -0500
Importance: Normal

> From: owner-support@gesn.com On Behalf Of > Juan Rivera

> > I do not feel that it is necessary or desired to do this on each and every > election. We, the manufacturer, are supposed to set the > procedures to follow > for this equipment since we build it.

I hate more than anyone else in the company to bring up a certification issue with this, but a number of jurisdictions require a "system test" before every election. I just helped Knecht yesterday with an RFP from Riverside that required this. That is why the AccuVote displayes the silly ***System Test Passed*** message on boot up instead of "memory test passed", which is all it actually tests.

No argument from me that it is pointless. You could probably get away with a batch file that prints "system test passed" for all I know. We will do something along those lines with the new unit after a memory test or whatever.

Ken

From Ken Clark

RE: Testing sb100 database 1.14.2 (asap please)

To: "SUPPORT (E-mail)"
Subject: RE: Testing sb100 database 1.14.2 (asap please)
From: "Ken Clark"
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 09:38:52 -0600
Importance: Normal

> Do you all think it would be a good idea to get Jeff Dean to send us 10 or > so precincts by eight parties with pre-printed test decks from one of the > California sites for Jane to test AccuVote and CC???? If so, > I'll call Jeff > Dean and set up asap.

*Any* testing we can do on 1.14 is a good idea. With the risk of sounding alarmist, 1.14 really needs more testing. Even though much of GEMS looks the same from the outside, the guts changed substantially between 1.11 and 1.14. That's why you see all kinds of things completely unrelated to shadow races broken in the early 1.14 releases.

Hats off to everyone posting 1.14 bug reports.

Ken

(The above memo is important because it documents that the "guts" of GEMS 1.14 are substantially changed from the certified version, 1.11 -- it was then used in elections, but according to Diebold's own chart of which versions were certified, version 1.14 was never certified.)

From Steve Knecht

1.14 vs. 1.15 GEMS versions

(uncertified versions used.)

To: "Global Support"
Subject: 1.14 vs. 1.15 GEMS versions
From: "Steve Knecht"
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 17:10:34 -0800

Is it the intention of development staff that California March election will be run on some version of 1.14 or will we end up in the 1.15 range. Can you comment on the following: Are the changes being made now to 1.15 GEMS things that are in the ballot layout realm, and will not impact ballot processing, or tabulation issues?? In other words, is it possible that changes made from now on will break things we're starting to test, such as memory card up/download, central count, etc. We are beginning testing of 1.14.4 this week. Should we be testing with something else?

I guess a little summary picture of what you expect over the next 3 weeks of testing would be helpful. I'd say we will have to lock down GEMS by mid - February, AVTS ballot station is to go on-line, along with a pollbook function by Feb. 7, but we are supposed to do testing and L&A prior to this. No panic yet, just wondering where we're going to lock some of this down for the March primary.

Here is the related memo from Ken Clark:

Needless to say, the changes were extensive. The paint is still wet, and I expect people will want some tweaks in functionality as well as the obligatory bug fixes. We'll treat the early 1.15 series as "prereleases" for LHS testing so California does not have to suffer. Once 1.15 looks at least as solid as 1.14 though, we'll end the 1.14 branch. 1.14 and earlier Databases will upgrade to 1.15 without harm as usual. People testing 1.14 are encouraged to try out 1.15 to avoid any surprises when they are forced to upgrade.

Ken

(Here is a whole series of odd memos pertaining to how they should handle the inconvenience of an uncertified version number popping up on the screen in Florida)

From Greg Forsythe

Florida Certified Versions

To: "Support"
Subject: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Greg Forsythe"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 11:12:02 -0500
Organization: Global Election Systems, Inc

Just received a call from Beverly Hill, Alachua County. She has a survey form from the state regarding versions and things. She is at the SA screen and the version is 1.92-15. Saturday, Feb. 12 she created a screen test database. This copy has 1.92-14. 1.92-14 is certified, 1.92-15 is not. SOLUTION REQUIRED! Greg Forsythe

Re: Florida Certified Versions

From Nel Finberg

To:
Subject: Re: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Nel Finberg"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 09:51:10 -0800

I am currently looking into the problem with Beverly. Nel

From Greg Forsythe

Re: Florida Certified Versions

To:
Subject: Re: Florida Certified Versions
From: "Greg Forsythe"
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 12:55:09 -0500
Organization: Global Election Systems, Inc
References: 1.14 qualifies as long haul or not. That really depends on your comfort level. There is never any harm in ordering a CD. Other frequently asked questions while I am here:

Features are always propagated forward. I suppose one day we might remove a feature, but I've never seen it happen.

Baring bugs, artwork and memory cards are still compatible after GEMS upgrade unless there is a big announcement to the contrary. Its only happened once that artwork was incompatible after upgrade, and memory cards have never been incompatible.

The database changes between major releases (1.15->1.16) but not minor releases (1.16.1->1.16.2). You can downgrade out of trouble between minor releases, but a major release upgrade is a one way trip.

Ken

From Jeff Hintz

Software for Los Angelas, CA

To: "Support Team (E-mail)"
Subject: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Jeff Hintz"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 12:31:06 -0500
Importance: Normal

I am going out to LA next week, and I would like to know what software version of Gems & AVTS is being sent out on their equipement. Thanks, Jeff Hintz

(uncertified versions used.)

From Rodney D Turner

RE: Software for Los Angelas, CA

To:
Subject: Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Rodney D Turner"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 13:31:55 -0500
References:

Is this a "testing" release or not? (Ashamed to ask). I think the hallucinations ought to be resurfacing with Steve already. Ken

From Talbot Iredale

(uncertified versions used.)

RE: GEMS-1-17-1

To:
Subject: Re: GEMS-1-17-1
From: "Talbot Iredale"
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 16:14:23 -0700
References:

This is no more of a test release than 1.16.9 was though I would not be surprised if we have to make more changes to fully support LA and Alameda. Tab Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA

To:
Subject: Re: Software for Los Angelas, CA
From: "Steve Knecht"
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 09:10:49 -0700
References:

(uncertified versions used.)

Jeff, I think my thread may be out of sync, but discussion with Tab yesterday indicated that you'd be at least at 1.17.1 or higher to provide you with the "import" capability with their database. I believe Rodney / Mike would have to tell you what they loaded onto AVTS. Tab is still working on several programs that may affect what AVTS Rev and GEMS rev we both end up with.

From Tari Runyan

1-17-7-5 testing

To: "SUPPORT (E-mail)"
Subject: 1-17-7-5 testing
From: "Tari Runyan"
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 08:21:16 -0600

(uncertified versions used.)

I have tested this version to the extent I am able - twice even and unless anyone else has discovered anything - i think it can be released to the Ca Counties - Let me know if anyone else has any concerns as I would like to get this out this morning. Thank you

(There are dozens more memos like this, and hundreds that document the use of uncertified versions of the voting system, spanning a period from 1999 to 2003.)

"Intellectual Property" has no place in voting (1)

flinxmeister (601654) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247901)

Sorry Diebold, if your going to be dealing with something as powerful as a vote, then I don't think you have any "property rights" regarding your tech. It should be free and open and subject to review.

If this crap comes to our state, I'll be visiting the courthouse with some buddies.

Re: Diebold machines (4, Interesting)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7247905)

Quote from the leaked email
"It is possible to put a secret password on the .mdb file to prevent Metamor from opening it with Access. I've threatened to put a password on the .mdb before when dealers/customers/support have done stupid things with the GEMS database structure using Access. Being able to end-run the database has admittedly got people out of a bind though. Jane (I think it was Jane) did some fancy footwork on the .mdb file in Gaston recently. I know our dealers do it. King County is famous for it. That's why we've never put a password on the file before.


Note however that even if we put a password on the file, it doesn't really prove much. Someone has to know the password, else how would GEMS open it. So this technically brings us back to square one: the audit log is modifiable by that person at least (read, me). Back to perception though, if you don't bring this up you might skate through Metamor.

There might be some clever crypto techniques to make it even harder to change the log (for me, they guy with the password that is). We're talking big changes here though, and at the moment largely theoretical ones. I'd doubt that any of our competitors are that clever."

Oh come on! It's as if the last 30 years of cryptographic knowledge never happened. Of course it's possible to digitally sign electronic data, and nobody with a clue about electronic voting would even consider not doing it.

These people are supplying voting machines, and they don't even know how to create tamper-evident databases? They even have the gall to assume their competitors are using the same simpleton technology as they are.

I suggest that anyone involved with these systems read Peter Wayner's Translucent Databases [wayner.org] for a primer on how databases can be made secure, even against those who know the root password. [not that Diebold machines seem to have a root password]

For further reading, Diebold might want to read some of Bruce Schnier's books [amazon.com] , which are an interesting read on what can be done with cryptography, and what are its limitations. They might even consider hiring a competant expert, e.g. some of Schneier's peers.

p.s. I claim the quote above as fair use, under english copyright law.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>