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Hackers, Public Differ Greatly On E-voting

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the head-in-the-sand dept.

Security 369

cweditor writes "Sorry to be touting one of my own Computerworld stories, but I only covered it because I found it so interesting. The Ponemon Institute surveyed 2,933 members of the general public and then 100 DEFCON and Black Hat attendees to get their views on electronic voting. 'The degree of difference was startling,' said director Larry Ponemon. It was the biggest split between 'experts and the public he'd ever found. For example, 83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots, compared with just 19% of the general public."

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369 comments

Look! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902399)

An edited Slashdot story!

Imagine that. (5, Insightful)

2names (531755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902404)

The experts know more than the general public. Will wonders never cease?

Poll Troll Toll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902474)

What's the smartest...

Public [calcgames.org]
Experts [calcgames.org]
Mares [calcgames.org]
Experts at having sex with mares in public [calcgames.org]

Imagine that Rick James Dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902475)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio, Superfreak Rick James 56 was found dead at his LA home. Even if you did not like his music here is no denying his contributions to American culture. Truly an American icon!

Re:Imagine that. (1)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902588)

But security experts/amateurs (i count myself in the last category) often have a tendency to be a bit paranoid.

Some servers who are under my control are up to date with patches, locked down etc, they weren't hacked so far.
The thing is, most of the servers in our company i have no control over, sometimes NT boxes unpatched for years. Neither of these got hacked too.

If you ask me or a "security expert" if something is a risk, we'll allways say yes, because it "is". In the real world plenty of people who don't care get along just fine.

(i hope you get the point after a few beers after my last day of work)

Re:Imagine that. (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902640)

I don't think security is the only concern, but reliability as well. A few more examples like this [nwfusion.com] , and the at-large public will become more skeptical...

Re:Imagine that. (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902645)

If you're not a bit paranoid, you don't know very much about security.

Re:Imagine that. (5, Insightful)

lazyl (619939) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902653)

Yeah, but how much do these 'experts' know about how secure paper ballots really are? They should also interview a third group: those who are experts in the paper system.

Re:Imagine that. (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902713)

A Most Excellent point. I worked in the elections/vote counting business for several years and designed the electronics and optics for a high speed ballot counter. The elections business is a very specialized business with a hell of a lot to know besides how to write programs.

Re:Imagine that. (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902681)

What makes it even less informative is that these "experts" are not experts in the field that's being discussed. The numbers would at least be interesting if they had actually used experts knowledgable about voting security.

Re:Imagine that. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902691)

The point isn't that the experts know more. The point is that it's unusual that the general public is so far away from the "expert" opinion on this particular topic. While experts usually have deeper insight why something is like it is and often have more differentiated views, normally the gist makes it to the general public as well, leaving a smaller gap between expert opinion and public opinion.

Re:Imagine that. (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902764)

> The experts know more than the general public. Will wonders never cease?

The politicians tell the media what to tell the public, and the public believes what they're told to believe.

Who are you gonna believe? A trustworthy representative of your interests, or one of those hackers who makes your PC crash all the time?

You're right. No big surprise there either.

At least those of us who value our continued existence know how to answer pollsters: "Yes, e-voting is secure." (Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a hacker-terrorist :)

Interesting..... (5, Funny)

boschmorden (610937) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902406)

...but were those polled by e-voting machines? :)

Ya Think? (3, Insightful)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902416)

What data or insider knowledge does Joe Public have about how this wouldn't be secure? I think they assume its simplified and therefore more secure.

Re:Ya Think? (1)

archen (447353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902619)

More like most people don't know how to mess with electronic voting, and therefore assume that it must be hard for others as well. Most people could probably think up a scheme to tamper with paper ballots off of the top of their head. It doesn't really take an expert on security and networking to understand how easy it can be to comprimise a system, it just takes a little understanding - which is often beyond the general public.

Re:Ya Think? (2, Interesting)

lannocc (568669) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902721)

Alternatively, what data or insider knowledge does Joe "Expert" have about the current paper process? They should have interviewed a third group of people as well: those who are "experts" in p-voting.

Re:Ya Think? (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902776)

Good point.

Maybe we not-so-happy few ought to raise a bigger stink about about this so that the major media news outlets will start reporting on the issues, instead of pandering to Brittney Spears' publicist.

If the general public isn't informed, they're not gonna care, and just about all of the articles/commentaries/rants I've seen about the dangers of electronic voting thus far have been on sites such as /., which, let's face it, aren't exactly high on Joe Sixpack's Favorites list.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902417)

John Q. Public diagnosed with mild retardation.
/Let the sterilizations commence.

Buck Fush In 2004: +1, Patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902421)

before the United States becomes the United Stalags of America [whitehouse.org]

Thank you and have a protest_filled weekend,

Kilgore Trout

Who does this surprise? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902427)

First post?

I have said it before, and I will say it again (5, Insightful)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902432)

Electronic Voting is a solution in search of a problem.

Why this fetish for applying complicating technology to simple problems?

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902492)

It's the same logic as why someone want a much house with more space then he will ever need. It's a sort of a "status" kind of thing.

Or, if you're a conspiracy theorist, one can argue that the politicians, especially the incumbents, want to be able to tamper with ballet result.

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (4, Funny)

hpa (7948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902543)

Or, if you're a conspiracy theorist, one can argue that the politicians, especially the incumbents, want to be able to tamper with ballet result.

Either that or they're just dancing around the issue...

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (1, Flamebait)

hpa (7948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902515)

M-o-n-e-y

Voting machine pushers are rich and politically well-connected (especially, apparently, with Republicans; or perhaps that's just Diebold.)

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902673)

I would most definitely have to agree with that. It is usually a safe bet when something wierd is going on that the reason is money. Especially when the object referenced is politics and a really bad solution. Not to mention Republicans are technologically out of their minds.

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (2, Insightful)

bubba_the_mermaid (225049) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902586)

I guess the idea is that these "technological wonders" will prevent the chaos that surrounded the Floria polls in 2000 from re-occuring.

However, we need to ask: Is the re-count the problem itself, or a symptom?

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902723)

I guess the idea is that these "technological wonders" will prevent the chaos that surrounded the Floria polls in 2000 from re-occuring.

Most of the problems associated with the 2000 election in Florida came as a result of "techological wonders" [salon.com] enacted well before any voting actually occured.

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (2, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902596)

To borrow from a certain demotivational poster [despair.com] ...

"If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem."
=Smidge=

Re:I have said it before, and I will say it again (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902752)

Clearly accurate counting of votes is not a simple problem. Witness Florida 2000.

There are simple things that could be done to make E-voting much better. Like print outs of selections in case of recounts. God forbid Diebold try that.

The point is... (5, Insightful)

Decameron81 (628548) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902434)

The point is that the general public doesn't know what happens behind the scene when they click on a button with their mouse. Maybe the reason those experts don't trust e-voting is because they know it takes only so much to be able to read and modify data going through the net.

Just my 2 cents.

Re:The point is... (1)

La_Boca (201988) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902730)

What exactly does e-voting have to do with data going through the internet?

have you (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902436)

ever gone to a hacker con? all those kids do is play dance dance revolution. id hardly call them experts

Re:have you (1)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902757)

I was at defcon and I missed the DDR machine...maybe next year I'll look harder. I've been practicing at home on my playstation! Man, I would really pwn the other hacksorz with my mad l33t DDR hacksoring skillz yo.

Who modded parent troll as insightful? Someone on crack, perhaps.

Well, its easy to fool the masses. (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902438)

This merely illustrate the point that it is much easier to fool the masses.

Of course, that would change when they find out their next president is Mickey Mouse.

Re:Well, its easy to fool the masses. (1)

B2382F29 (742174) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902511)

Of course, that would change when they find out their next president is Mickey Mouse.

And what exactly would be the difference to now?

Re:Well, its easy to fool the masses. (1)

sadcox (173714) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902670)

And what exactly would be the difference to now?
Because now we have Goofy.

Re:Well, its easy to fool the masses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902536)

Not really. He's probably going to get re-elected in 2004.

That's why they call it the 31337... (5, Insightful)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902441)

It's disturbing when technical issues become central to a wider political issue that involves everybody, yet very few people have the background to understand it or have an informed opinion about it. Software patents is such an issue. This one is too, and much more important. It's quite easy to lie and mislead the general public with it, since few people have the knowledge to see through the bullshit.

The experts? (1)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902559)

Especially sad is that the companies and lobbyists who push this sort of thing can easily pay off "experts" to convince the public that their way is better.

Expert opinion is so clouded these days with money from various sources that the public has very little objective truth to trust. Educated "Experts" need to start realizing that the money they personally gain is a wealth of freedom lost by the people, and the "People" need to start realizing that anti-intellectualism is fueled by their own laziness to be skeptics.

Coz right now, our current situation is sad.

Re:That's why they call it the 31337... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902773)

"It's disturbing when [insert issue here] issues become central to a wider political issue that involves everybody, yet very few people have the background to understand it or have an informed opinion about it."

Welcome to Slashdot. Do you think this stops geeks from discussing things they don't understand either? It's even more madddening when they force their opinions upon everyone assuming that since they're geeks they're smarter than eveyrone else and know what's best.

I have a feeling... (5, Insightful)

odano (735445) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902443)

That e-voting isn't the only topic which hackers and the general public disagree.

Re:I have a feeling... (1)

wayward (770747) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902522)

By an amazing coincidence, hackers and experts also seem to be more concerned than the public about things like securing wireless access points.

This just in (1, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902448)

News flash: General public clueless about an issue. More at 11...

"compared with just 19% of the general public." (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902450)

i.e. "Sheeple"

How is this surprising?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902455)

Of course the people who have knowledge about the technology know it's less secure!! This is not interesting, it just makes sense.

I wonder... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902458)

How many of those that thought e-voting was secure are also Bush supporters?

Re:I wonder... (1)

1000101 (584896) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902547)

I would think that most of the general public who support e-voting would be democrats.

Re:I wonder... (0, Flamebait)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902661)

I would think that most of the general public who support e-voting would be democrats.

Based upon what evidence, pray tell?

The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday asked a Florida court to overturn a rule imposed by Gov. Jeb Bush that bans manual recounts of direct recording equipment (DRE) touch-screen systems. The move comes amid revelations that nearly all of the electronic records from the touch-screen voting systems used in the 2002 gubernatorial primary in Miami-Dade County were lost last November after a computer crash.

One computerworld article [computerworld.com]

Although she isn't scheduled to speak at the convention, Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson will call on prominent Democrats to help raise voter awareness about the challenges facing the security, reliability and integrity of electronic voting systems, a spokesman for her office said.

[...]

However, speaking on condition of anonymity, an IT industry source who met last week with members of Sen. John Kerry's staff said the Kerry campaign is considering a move to pull back from the position taken by the Democratic National Committee and Howard Dean's Democracy for America organization. Dean and the DNC have endorsed the voter-verifiable paper ballot requirement for e-voting systems -- something that only the state of Nevada has planned for November. According to the official, the Kerry campaign is considering support for verification of the final vote tally through some form of encryption.

For many Democrats, however, the issue boils down to a Republican-controlled Congress that has refused to force voting-system vendors to open their software to inspection and verification.

"The Republicans have an interest in not doing anything about electronic voting security," said Townsend.

[....]

But the e-voting security debate may have already damaged the trust of some Americans who will vote electronically this November. One reason for that is the appearance of a possible conflict of interest stemming in part from a comment made publicly last August by Diebold Election Systems CEO Walden O'Dell that he was "committed" to delivering Ohio's electoral votes to President George W. Bush.

another Computerworld article [computerworld.com]

Re:I wonder... (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902692)

Not when Diebold, a huge contributor to the Republican party, is the lead in these systems (without paper trails).

bi-partisan cluelessness (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902652)

For example, 83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots, compared with just 19% of the general public."

From the number it is apparent that this cluelessness can be found in both parties.

-jim

well duh! (1)

yohan1701 (779792) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902466)

how is this startling. People who have a Wall of Shame displaying username and passwords they found on the network, VS joe six pack.

Who do you is going more afraid of electronic voting ?

Of course they do... (1)

Vexler (127353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902473)

Hackers and the public can't even agree that "hackers" are NOT "crackers", "warez d00dz", "skript kiddiz", or any such low-life.

no fair (5, Funny)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902476)

it's obvious that the blackhat people tampered with the results of the poll concerning the tamperability of polls

They're holding out for a fool proof solution... (1)

thirteenVA (759860) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902478)

...till then they'll just argue over the hanging chads...

Well, duh... (3, Funny)

flying_monkies (749570) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902499)

This would be the same "general public" that uses Gator to store their passwords and really believe that someone they know would suddenly send them a poorly formatted email message with an executable attachment of a naked Anna Kournakova? Where's the "in other news, the sky is blue and water is wet" post?

A Survey at DEFCON about HACKING??? (5, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902500)

The Ponemon Institute surveyed 2,933 members of the general public and then 100 DEFCON and Black Hat attendees to get their views on electronic voting.
DEFCON is hardly the right place to be conducting a survey about the "hackability" of an electronic voting system. 50% of this year's attendees could probably figure out how to hack the vote before their third Mountain Dew.

Re:A Survey at DEFCON about HACKING??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902576)

On the contrary, it's the perfect place to conduct such a survey. If 50% of this year's attendees could, as you say, figure out how to hack the vote, then the system is most certainly hackable, and their expert opinions would be validated.

Re:A Survey at DEFCON about HACKING??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902610)

Just remember: if there are enough people who can hack the election to fill up half a convention, chances are good that there's at least one person who might actually do it somewhere in the country.

Re:A Survey at DEFCON about HACKING??? (3, Insightful)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902687)

50% of this year's attendees could probably figure out how to hack the vote before their third Mountain Dew.

This shows that there are clearly people out there who have the skills and, given the right circumstances, the will to be hired by a political campaign, incumbant, lobbyist organization, or criminal organization to aid their respective agendas. When big power plays and money are involved, hiring a computer cracker is probably just part of doing business.

Re:A Survey at DEFCON about HACKING??? (1)

Meostro (788797) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902704)

Yeah, and they can pound back 3 Classic Dews in under 30 seconds... gotta love that wide-mouth can!

Finishing off one Code Red [cert.org] , however, is another issue entirely...

Black Box Voting (5, Interesting)

james_in_denver (757233) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902501)

It is amazing how trusting (or maybe it's just ignorant) the population is as regards e-voting.

It seems as if they blindly trust our gov't to protect them from voting fraud. It's my opinion that the voting booth is really (short of violence) the ONLY tool that the population has to control their government.

To trust the gov't to keep the vote safe is kind of like putting the fox to work gaurding the henhouse.

The right to a secure, private, verifiable vote is the very foundation our country was built on. It's a shame that more people don't take it seriously.

Visit the Open Voting Consortium" [openvotingconsortium.org] for more indepth thoughts and ideas on this topic.

open voting consortium == arrogant profs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902573)

is a bunch of arrogant professors who couldn't implement themselves out of a trash can

Re:Black Box Voting (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902616)

> It's my opinion that the voting booth is really (short of violence) the ONLY tool that the population has to control their government. That and civil disobedience, violence is always a lsat resort. Getting lots of people to use absentee ballots will do much more than slaughtering pollsters or what ever.

Re:Black Box Voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902659)

voting is worthless today.

because to many idiots beleive in the party line.
or whatever the ads say.

I really believe people should be required to identify one stance from one politician running, that is backed up by something more than an empty promise.

in november, people are gonna vote, and its arbitrarily gonna result i president. most of those that voted for one or the other had the wrong reasons in the first place.

Re:Black Box Voting (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902664)

(previous post HTML formatted, ignore)

> It's my opinion that the voting booth is really (short of violence) the ONLY tool that the population has to control their government.

That and civil disobedience, violence is always the last resort. Getting lots of people to use absentee ballots will do much more than slaughtering pollsters.

Re:Black Box Voting (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902669)

It seems as if they blindly trust our gov't to protect them from voting fraud.

They blindly trust them for most everything else why would voting me any different? "Oh, we should really give up some of our freedoms to make sure we protect everyone from the horrors of terrorism!"

When we have a population that seriously believes that the best way we can protect ourselves is to fall victim to the ever longer Slip and Slide that this issue has become we have serious issues.

Yeah, well, we're smarter... (4, Funny)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902502)

.. and we know the difference between a superficially rigged voting system that looks secure, and one that is a sham. I mean, these people should really get a clOMIGOD a GIRL

[runs away and hides]

The thing I don't get (5, Insightful)

dg41 (743918) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902504)

Is why elections officials are so adamantly opposed to a paper trail? Sure, it creates extra expense in the short term, but it simplifies matters (by using electronic voting, hands down then the chad-bearing cards) and provides an auditable trail.

how does that saying go... (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902507)

Tell a lie long enough and people will take it as truth... or something like that

The result isn't a surprise (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902508)

People are stupid. Americans doubly so.

Technology as utopia (5, Interesting)

sgarrity (262297) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902514)

This seems to be an example of how technology has been sold to us ("the public" in this story) as an always-win net gain.

New is better than old. Expensive is better than cheap. Big is better than small.

This attitude is dangerous. Our collective faith is being misplaced in science and technology - both of which are important, but not perfect.

Re:Technology as utopia (1)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902779)


Smarter people than me could probably point out which sci-fi novel it was (perhaps several novels) about an eventual technocracy in near-future society. E-voting would clearly be one way for a "technological coup d'etat." What would happen if election results ended up being 100% write-in for Mr. Evil, instead of the other canidates? Could the country rally and put in place a paper-ballot system to re-do election in enough time for the new administration?

defrauding election question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902521)

what kind of crime is it to defraud an election? what kinds of jail time are we looking at?

no jail time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902633)

it isn't even a misdemeanor; why? cheating democracy is a tried and true profession, especially in Chicago and the deep south.

Sad News Rick James Dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902525)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio, Superfreak Legend Rick James 56 was found dead at his LA home. The cause of death was not immediately known. Even if you did not like his politics there is no denying his contributions to left-wing hippie culture. Truly an American icon!

Re:Sad News Rick James Dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902614)

Rick James 56 was found dead at his LA home

Can't you even post an old troll properly?

Sorry (2, Insightful)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902526)

Sorry to be touting my own 14th post, but I'm only covering it because it's so damn interesting!

Actually, it is a good article, and it should be widely distributed. Obviously computer experts can see the flaws in e-voting, but it's the non-computer experts that we need to reach. Most people out there have no clue at all that something is wrong. An article like this, simplified a bit, could change a lot of uninformed opinions.

Any further proof needed (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902538)

that people are in fact SHEEPLE, and can be herded where ever, when ever by TV and the printed press...

Re:Any further proof needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902622)

"All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Not surprising... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902542)

considering most people don't realize how insecure their Windows box is. I'm just acknowledging the fact most people don't know how/don't bother to keep their system up to date and secure. But still, this is startling to see such a total lack of understanding in something this important.

It's not that they differ on e-voting... (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902561)

It's not necessarilly that the experts think that e-voting is secure.... rather, they probably see far more security problems with paper ballot voting than the general public does. The public perception isn't helped by the fact that most security problems with paper ballot voting probably goes undiscovered or underreported.

Followup (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902612)

Crud

"For example, 83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots, compared with just 19% of the general public."

Misread that statement as "more or less".... for once I thought maybe somebody saw the light. :)

gotta wonder... (1)

A_GREER (761429) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902562)

how much of the "general public" portion of the research took place in Dade county, Florida...

Experts, public differ on candidates, too (1)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902567)

Any surprise?

Re:Experts, public differ on candidates, too (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902703)

How can you have "experts" on the best candidate for a public position? Isn't a running candidate supposed to be representative of the majority of votes (and, theoretically, people)? Wouldn't that imply that the experts know what's best for the public? Why not just let them pick the candidates then? Unless they're lousy experts...

Voting public's greatest fear is the truth (4, Interesting)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902581)

Look at the graph in the article. The biggest fear of the voting public is "Declines in voter turnout because of fear or distrust of e-voting systems."

In other words, their greatest fear is that people will realize that e-voting is a recipe for fraud and will stay home. Their greatest fear is that people respond rationally to what I think most of us believe is the truth. That just astounds me.

We have some general public in the "experts" side (1)

majkqball (696199) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902597)

In the Ponemon Institute survey, 83% of the experts said e-voting is either less or much less secure against election tampering than traditional paper ballot machines

Now where are these 17 so called "experts"?!?

And what are they experts in? Solitaire? :)

P2P voting (5, Insightful)

revery (456516) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902603)

To quote a popular saying, He who counts the votes, elects.
The only way to ensure the safety of ballots is to distribute the counting of ballots among a larger number of people.

The more centralized the ballot counting, the easier it is to corrupt, the more distributed it is, the more difficult it is to corrupt and the greater the likelihood of exposure.

And by distributed, I'm not talking about computers networks, I'm talking about people.

--

Was it the sheep climbing onto the altar, or the cattle lowing to be slain,
or the Son of God hanging dead and bloodied on a cross that told me this was a world condemned, but loved and bought with blood.

I probably haven't thought this out... (1)

craenor (623901) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902663)

But I don't understand why the system has to be at all accessible. Granted, I know jack about these systems. But it seems that everything necessary could be placed on the hdd, have a separate system outside that validates voters.

Then process the vote on the hdd. Later the hdd's are removed from the systems by security personnel and taken under watch to a secure location where they are loaded into a database. Then the votes are tallied.

The system has no network connections to exploit, no interface ports to make use of and anytime the cover is tampered with an alarm would sound.

I don't know...that's probably just crazy talk.

BSOD? (2, Insightful)

larley (736136) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902674)

I wonder, though, whether the situation would arise where an e-voting machine crashes? I mean, so many people trust BANK machines, and yet I've encountered several situations where I insert my card, nothing happens, it spits the card out, and I see OS/2 rebooting... I just hope the same doesn't occur in the polling booths. It might scare the old Floridians to see an OS booting up - these ARE the same people who couldn't figure out where to punch a card with 4 or 5 big circles on it.

The more you know, the more you know - Duh! (1)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902684)

It's like asking computer programmers if they think the Star Wars missle defense system can work any time soon. They will think about the complexities involved, realize how hard it will be to do realisitc testing scenarios, count the millions of lines of code that will be required, and answer unhesitatingly, "No way, dude." They KNOW better. They've been there, done that on critical systems that were way less complicated, and they know that failing to shoot down missles from the sky is several levels of magnitude worse than any type of critical bug they've had to deal with.

Meanwhile the general public thinks, "Wow, cool, the miltary can zap missles!"

So too with evoting. We here at /. are well versed in the issues. We've seen a few mainstream news stories about it recently, but mostly it's been the geeks saying, "Whoa, this is terrible stuff!" The general public thinks, "Hmm...just like an ATM, great," without thinking about the implications of no paper trail, unauthorized tampering, uh, maybe authorized tampering, and various chilling comments from CEOs of evoting companies.

The general public will catch on that Star Wars anti-missle technology doesn't yet work when the first bomb reaches their home. Oops. But the general public won't ever catch on about evoting problems unless the media publicizes it much more than they have been doing. After all, if a bomb gets through a shield, it can ruin your whole day. If an election is bought, it's 50-50 that John or Jane Q. Public wanted that candidate anyway and thinks nothing of it.

Madness in the Method (2)

char** argv (777388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902685)

AFAIK, in the US of A, the elected administration chooses closed source methods/implementations of e-voting. That is plain madness and gives way not only to intransparent, uncheckable elections and manipulations.

Pokemon Insitute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9902707)

I don't take their surveys seriously

Accessible Voting (5, Interesting)

Bondolo (14225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902717)

My wife has been terribly excited by electronic voting because it promises to be accessible. She takes great offense that because she is blind she has to get assistance to vote under the current system.

It's taken a while, but I've finally convinced her that being able to "vote" is pointless if the "vote" is not counted or they system itself is fundamentally flawed.

It's interesting that the local newspaper, the Berkeley Daily Planet took the position that being opposed to electronic voting was a scheme to disenfranchise the disabled. It took a while, but following many insightful letters, they finally admitted that electronic voting as currently proposed in Alameda had the more serious potential to disenfranchise everyone!

As technical professionals it's important we become informed as possible on the subject. That way when your dad or neighbour ask about electronic voting you can explain the dangers and current issues. The more the general public learns about electronic voting, the better off we all will be. (and these survey numbers will be more favourable)

Diebold CEO Promises to "Deliver" for Bush (2, Interesting)

ortcutt (711694) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902737)

Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 23, 2003:
The head of a company [Diebold] vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

Looks like he's already done his part by building crappy machines with no paper trail. Now all the GOP needs to steal the election is some average-ability hackers.

6 out of 10 defcon attendees? (2, Interesting)

schneidafunk (795759) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902738)

I am amazed that it's only 6 out of 10 computer security professionals. I attended defcon and the 'hack the vote' lecture. Anyone who saw that lecture has to agree that there are serious flaws in e-voting.

Electronic Voting Needs a Paper Trail (1)

FriedTurkey (761642) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902760)

As long as the e-voting system prints out a piece of paper to keep track of the vote e-voting will work. If no paper trail is kept problems like this [wired.com] will occur and more 2000 Florida debacles will occur.

Simple ignorance (1)

DeVilla (4563) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902766)

I'm sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone here that the technical complexity and procedurally delicate nature of paper ballot voting is far beyond the understanding of the average DEFCON and Black Hat attendee. I can't imagine why you'd would expect otherwise. Now if you'll excuse me, I must look into getting my VCR to stop blinking 12:00'

Could not be reached... (1)

dr bacardi (48590) | more than 9 years ago | (#9902788)

83% of the experts said e-voting is less or much less secure against election tampering than paper ballots ...

The 17 employees of Diebold who attended DEFCON and Black Hat could not be reached for comment.
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