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Election Officials And Crackers Challenge Diebold

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the give-it-the-harri-hursty-test dept.

Politics 219

Rick Zeman writes "The Washington Post is reporting that election officials in Florida have manipulated election results in controlled tests. From the article: 'Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. To Sancho, the results showed the vulnerability of voting equipment manufactured by Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, which is used by Leon County and many other jurisdictions around the country.'"

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219 comments

Umm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531652)

What's with these gray bars on the main page? Anybody else seeing this? Is this the "new layout"? If so it sucks.

Re:Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531681)

yeah looks really confusing.

Re:Umm (1)

mymaxx (924704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531689)

Almost looks intentional since the one corner is curved.

Re:Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531696)

Articles which would not been posted to the frontpage before I guess...

Re:Umm (1)

bain_online (580036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531721)

is this a what (paid)members see? may be its being shown to everyone by mistake? I always wished hard to find out (without paying any money of course) how do they inform the paid members of an slashdot story about to be released early... Wishes _do_ come true is it?

Re:Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531741)

Nah. I'm not a subscriber but one day they offered day subsciptions similar to Salon.com, and the "Mysterious Future" just showed the next story and summary at the top without an option to comment on it.

Re:Umm (1)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531772)

is this a what (paid)members see? may be its being shown to everyone by mistake? I always wished hard to find out (without paying any money of course) how do they inform the paid members of an slashdot story about to be released early... Wishes _do_ come true is it?

My subscription had lapsed, and I saw the funny title, so I used it as an excuse to get another subscription ... for the record - no change whatsoever so its not related to being or not being a subscriber.

However, the small title area probably explains why so few people have seen this submission

Michael

Re:Umm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531797)

paid members get a red title and a big h1 tagged "You're a rich moron" message instead of ads.
Also, somebody please explain this weirdness with this story or I will kill you all.

Re:Umm (-1, Offtopic)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531969)

Well, I'm not a paying customer; but I don't get advertisements either since I set up Squid to block any site serving adverts.

Re:Umm (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532377)

Well, I *am* a paying customer (witness the star by my ID, though it's more of a token of support than an insatiable desire not to see ads), and I haven't seen them before. I'm guessing they're a new feature.

Although, it's weird, because I don't see how this story relates to the one it's "attached" to in any way.

Oh well, guess we'll find out at some point.

Re:Umm (2, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531863)

It looks like a new viewing option.
I'm not sure what the grey ones are - possibly articles in other sections that wouldn't otherwise make the front page (as someone else suggested).

Have a look at your preferences - there's a new part in the front page section that lets you choose whether or not to display the grey bars, or whether to show the full stories for all, grey bars for all, etc.

Re:Umm (1)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532218)

I think these are the stories that are usually on the right, after 'Your Rights Online', it usuallys says (1 More), and the stories that don't usually appear on the main page will now take up a line of text.

I like it, there's often stories in those '1 More' links that are very interesting, and they are hidden from view until you actually go and look for them.

Re:Umm (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532591)

Now I just wish the "1 More" counters said "since when"? I read several sections when I realize they update, but sometimes there'll be "3 More" for days, but not always the same 3 articles.

Re:Umm (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532996)

It's since you last looked at that section.

Re:Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14533680)

It seems the new gray-bar format disables it so it's really a moot point, but it's most definitely not since I last looked at the section. I thought it might have been "in the past 24 hours" but there were days where the games section would have like "26 more" and maybe 10 were stories posted in the last day. The numbers didn't match "since the last time a story made it to the front page" either.

Re:Umm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14532298)

They're links to articles that otherwise wouldn't have made it onto the main page. It looks like Taco might have some pressure on to get more pageviews/ad hits. Since he's made it clear he's not planning on improving the professional aspects of the site (spelling/grammar in summaries, dupes, y'know - the editors doing their fucking jobs!), he's finding ways to cram more stories onto the front page.

Re:Umm (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532384)

I thought it might be a way of displaying "active" topics from subjects you hadn't subscribed to in your preferences. Certainly they all seemed to be articles worth skimming to decide if they're worth reading in detail.

Re:Umm (0)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533061)

Don't worry, it's just more, half-baked UI ideas from programmers who couldn't design a GUI to interact a way out of a paper bag.

frost post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531655)

for the north pole

Re:frost post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531677)

Y O U LO SE

First Post.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531682)

.... or is it second? We'll never know, because there's no paper printouts yet. Damn corporate America, interfering in our democracy!

As they say (4, Funny)

mgv (198488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531688)

To err is human, but to really foul things up it takes a computer.

After all - people have been trying to rig results for a long time. But this just makes it so easy for one person to potentially change the outcome of an election....

Michael

Re:As they say (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533966)

But this just makes it so easy for one person to potentially change the outcome of an election....

What do you mean "potentially"?

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!....NOT! (3, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531692)

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/quotes [imdb.com] )

North Carolina had the same problem with their voting machines (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20051130/1121207 _F.shtml [techdirt.com] ).

The only new thing here is the current state finding Diebold non-compliant.

Re:Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!....NOT! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14533648)

I live in western North Carolina. Last election our county used the optical-scan ballots, but for the next election we will be getting voter-verified paper-trail machines. Thankfully, we never got the true Diebold experience like some others had.

Insanely poor program architecture (5, Informative)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531706)

Windows XP + network connection + data held in an *Access DB* and then transferred by memory card with no crypographic checksum.

If I prepared work like that for a client, I'd expect to get chucked out by security.

I'll also note the following:
        a) Diabold say that a paper trail is not needed for security, but provide one on their own ATMs. Apparently independent verification of election results is less important then $$$ transactions.
        b) Both local and remote vulns have been demonstrated on their voting machines, but the ATMs have not been pwned.
        c) Diabold refuses to let the source code be reviewed, and chose to run on Windows XP so neither the program or the OS of the box can be verified safe.
        d) Diabold machines can have the vote totals rewritten on their memory sticks as they do not cryptographically sign or encrypt the totals. That's plain text on a card that can be removed from the machine and has a standard file format.
        e) Diabold security is fucked whether or not they put the same code they have tested on the box. With tested, verfied boxes they cannot add XP security patches for known flaws after te verification date (and if there is one thing worth keeping an 0-day for...). If they do add security patches etc then we are trusting closed source biaries to be added to election counting machines without the possibility of review. One bad actor and the elecetion is up for grabs.

No thanks. I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist but is is as if they were designed to be broken into.

Would a BSD box with one simple program, output to the framebuffer, a results paper trail and a constant SSH tunnel to the FEC be that hard? *sighs*

Fuck Diabold.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

mymaxx (924704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531717)

Apparently independent verification of election results is less important then $$$ transactions.

Exactly! This must be their code: if(machine_type==VOTING_MACHINE) { vote_result = take_vote(); if(rand()0.9) vote_result=something_else; record_vote(); return; // No receipt, since VALUE_OF_POLITICIAN = 0 } else { // Must be an ATM do_transaction(); print_receipt(); return; }

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

mymaxx (924704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531724)

I guess next time I should preview first, huh?

if(machine_type==VOTING_MACHINE) {
vote_result = take_vote();
if(rand()==0.9) vote_result=something_else;
record_vote();
return; // No receipt, since VALUE_OF_POLITICIAN = 0
} else { // Must be an ATM
do_transaction();
print_receipt();
return;
}

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#14534010)

if (rand()==0.9) vote_result=something_else;

This condition will be usually false. It is a bad idea to compare floating point numbers unless you are very, very sure what they are. And if your rand() returns a FP number instead of the usual [0..RAND_MAX-1], then it's unwise to expect that all 32 or 64 or 80 bits of two floating point numbers will exactly match each other.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (3, Funny)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531763)

More likely:

if (machine_type == VOTING_MACHINE)
{
        put_republican_candidate();
}
else /* must be ATM */
{
        do_transaction();
        print_receipt();
}

return();

In light of recent disclosures both in the USA (Abramof) and here in Australia (the Wheat Board) I don't trust conservatives to behave honestly. (Not that I ever did, it's just that it's nice to have your prejudices confirmed.)

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

evil9000 (72113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532106)

Did someone say Tampa...? :)
Children overboard? :)
Gerald for Reserve bank board? :)
Austrailan wheat board? :)

I can only remember 4 things at a time, if u would like to add more then please do :)

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533273)

I would suggest that you google "Chicago" and "Daley" before you so blithely think that it is only conservatives who are corrupt enough to rig elections. Liberals are just as bad when they are in power, so the ability for an independent party to validate the vote is never in the established party's best interest, whatever their label.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1, Insightful)

Bush Pig (175019) | more than 7 years ago | (#14534084)

Daley was a Democrat, not a liberal. "Democrat-Republican" and "liberal-conservative" are orthogonal.

And yes, he was a supremely corrupt fucker. What's your point?

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (0)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533482)

{
                put_republican_candidate();
}
else /* must be ATM */
{
                do_transaction();
                print_receipt();
                debit_account();
                credit_republican_PAC_account();
}
= )

It is my understanding that the suspicion is that the voting machines have been manipulated by someone logging in and running an sql query. This is due to cases where the number of votes for some candidates jumps by large margins in very a short period of time. So it isn't the code itself.

Why not do something about it? (4, Insightful)

Jaazaniah (894694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531738)

Seriously, if someone has the knowledge of the system you just proposed, why not take the long shot and propose to work for the gov't and put that together? Not only would you be able to demonstrate how insecure Diebold's system is with a tiny PDA that can read/write their memory sticks, but you'd also be able to demonstrate that you can't do that to yours. At least not on the fly with a PDA.

Steps to stopping the stupidity:
1) Put down (favorite game) when you're off work.
2) Write plan, put something together.
3) Get in touch [senate.gov] with someone with the power to make the (smart) decision.
4) Show off.

Re:Why not do something about it? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531778)

Steps to stopping the stupidity:
1) Put down (favorite game) when you're off work.
2) Write plan, put something together.
3) Get in touch with someone with the power to make the (smart) decision.

4) Go to jail because now they can prove you tried to find a way to subvert the system.

Re:Why not do something about it? (1)

Jaazaniah (894694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531848)

That's what spin doctoring is for. If your opinion is that your low security demonstration was only so that you could present the state with a viable secure alternative in contrast to a now publicized failure, the statemen will listen to that.

Right... (1)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533691)

...and then they'll give you a flying pony for being a good citizen.

Re:Why not do something about it? (2, Interesting)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531781)

I'm actually now seriously considering that.

It may actually only be a few weeks worth of coding, and I can think of only a dew things that need to be covered.

1: Graphic selection via a touch screen.
2: Voice reading of the candiate names for the blind.
3: A safe, intepreted language to provide a sandbox.
4: An aim for the minimum number of LOC to make it easy to verify.
5: No open ports, but constant transmission of votes as they are made on an SSH, public-key encrypted tunnel (so it will be noticed if the total changes fast).
6: A paper trail (viewable by voter).

This could be less then 2000 lines of code (addmittedly with hookups to ogg123 etc).

Interesting...

Re:Why not do something about it? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531845)

5: No open ports, but constant transmission of votes as they are made on an SSH, public-key encrypted tunnel (so it will be noticed if the total changes fast).
 
Are you NUTS? Privacy, man...

Re:Why not do something about it? (1)

James_Duncan8181 (588316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531875)

To break personal privacy for this would require someone with access to the FEC central server to inform the local voting centre that the vote had been made so they could check who had been in there, something that you would think might well be a felony (and an obvious one too, involving real civilian level operatives and people with). I would also like to imagine that it would be queried by the officials of one party if those of the others were making calls. But to avoid this, I suppose you could merely have the machine send data every 10 votes. Good call, thanks.

Re:Why not do something about it? (1)

Jaazaniah (894694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531893)

Have a simple pressure plate to stand on, machine reseting to 'ready' only when the pressure was relieved. Make it wide enough for disabled access.

Re:Why not do something about it? (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531968)

What about when the sensor data is spoofed?

Re:Why not do something about it? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533994)

machine reseting to 'ready' only when the pressure was relieved.

So you'd have to pee to make your vote count?!

Someone already is. (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532413)

There's an organization called the Open Voting Consortium [openvotingconsortium.org] whose mission is "the development, maintenance, and delivery of open voting systems for use in public elections." They are directly opposed to the shenanigans that Diebold has engaged in.

Problem is, they spend their donations on actually developing the system, not in paying off Congressmen to give them lucrative exclusive contracts. Still, one can hope that it changes someday. (And donate to support the effort...)

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (2, Interesting)

Big_Al_B (743369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531844)

As nifty as a paper trail sounds, there are problems with that too. For example, how do you verify that the votes people input are logged correctly on the printout? Bits are easy to flip, whether done on purpose, or by executing buggy code.

And do you really think that vote anonymity--an essential feature of our process--would last if people walked out of their polling place with some sort of receipt? If you can connect an identity to a vote, you can directly coerce or otherwise influence that voter with all manner of nasty tactics. No thanks.

Not that sort of paper trail (4, Informative)

gaijin99 (143693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531913)

The voter doesn't take the paper with him, as you say that would ruin the whole anonymous ballot thing. The voter gets the paper, looks at the human readable output to verify that his vote was correctly recorded, and drops the paper into a ballot box on his way out. If the paper shows that his vote was incorrectly recorded, he can ask an election official to remove his vote from the machine, destroy that paper ballot, and try again.

The election officials keep the paper ballots, machine printed recepts that is, so that in the event of a dispute they can be hand counted. Since, theoretically, every voter looked at their recept and verified that it recorded what they truly intended to vote for, if someone hacks the machines and falsifies the votes recorded there, the paper ballots get the final say in the event of a dispute.

It also gives you a good indication of where the falsification of the electronic votes got started since you can say: hmmm, district 123 shows 4000 votes for candidate X on the computer, but the paper ballots only show 1000 votes for candidate X, who messed with the machines in district 123?

Essentially we're keeping the old paper method of vote recording as a backup in the event that its suspected that someone hacks the machines.

Paper trail is a red herring. (0)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532382)

The voter gets the paper, looks at the human readable output to verify that his vote was correctly recorded ...
All that proves is that the screen and the piece of paper say the same thing. How do either of those relate to the actual value recorded as the vote?
... so that in the event of a dispute they can be hand counted
The data should be verifable without resorting to a manual recount. It would take a fairly large discrepancy to initiate a recount: In the last 'election', not only did the US not fulfill its own (and the UN's) requirements for an open and fair election, but also for the first time ever exit polls diverged greatly from the tallies reported by the polling sites. Neither of those set off a recount.

Talk of a "paper trail" is a lot of noise and a red herring. The real issue is that validity, origin, and authenticity of the poll data. That can be done with or without paper.

Re:Paper trail is a red herring. (2, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532568)

In the end, there are better ways from the standpoint of guaranteeing a secure election than demanding or not demanding a single hardware vendor to do this or that.

A standard should be set for the ballot and the voting software's capabilities, and then several companies' equipment set up at every station. In fact, if these all generate a standardized paper ballot, then the counting process could (and should) be completely divorced from the voting process, perhaps even an additional vendor could deal with this task. Increasing the number of vendors perhaps increases the risk that one will act in bad faith, but decreases the damage one such vendor could do. I mentioned in a post in an article some time ago how this kind of setup could help guarantee correct results without devolving to random manual recounts, by simply requiring all machines to produce a machine-and-human readable ballot, with these ballots machine sorted and counted. Should there be any question of whether the sorting machine is correct, one must only flip the ballots like a flipbook and watch the line in question, any improperly sorted ballot will be easily caught. Should there be a question of the counting machine's integrity (this would be hard to do, since a stand alone counting machine should be unable to know what is being counted at any time) then a different counting machine could be substituted. This leaves incompetence and malice in the human component, and with oversight from independent election observers, the risk of the latter can be reduced. Counting ballots before sorting and comparing the total to the grand total of sorted votes will cut down on chances of the former causing someone's stack of votes to be accidentally lost.

Re:Paper trail is a red herring. (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532641)

"All that proves is that the screen and the piece of paper say the same thing. How do either of those relate to the actual value recorded as the vote?"

It doesn't. But the original posters' point was that if there is any suspicion of discrepancies/errors/hacking, the "system" (meaning the whole election process) can fall back on a more traditional/reliable method (paper votes).

Paper ballots have their own problems, but in general it's a different set of problems than the ones in electronic systems.

Re:Paper trail is a red herring. (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533232)

Talk of a "paper trail" is a lot of noise and a red herring. The real issue is that validity, origin, and authenticity of the poll data. That can be done with or without paper.

No it's not, yes that's right, but no it can't.

I think you're reacting to a misreading of the term "paper trail". The official ballot has to remain tangible, because it makes a chain of custody possible. That means paper (or punched metal, or whatever). Electronic ballots are subject to a range of tomfoolery that make the process unsuitable for chain of custody, recounts, and the all-important public trust.

The electronic ballots get counted first, naturally, and sent in. That makes getting unofficial results very quick, suitable for our instant gratification-based world. But the official count is done, by hand or machine, with the paper ballots which were printed out and (presumably) were individually verified by the voter.

Any discrepancy between the paper ballots and the electronic ones triggers a recount. If it's really bad, say a 1% difference, you bring in the accountants and lawyers.

Re:Not that sort of paper trail (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532489)

One little change - the voter wouldn't be able to touch the paper trail - it would be behind glass. Otherwise folks would walk off with them, and in the event of an audit the counts wouldn't match - thus making it impossible to detect true fraud.

Have the paper drop into a box after verification - otherwise it goes in a trash box. Do a random audit of x% of the results, and a systematic audit any time there is cause to do so...

Re:Not that sort of paper trail (1)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532770)

no, for reassurance the person should hold the paper receipt and drop it in the box themselves. That's the way most balloting systems (with paper) work these days. Even the punch cards we use here, we put the punch card in an paper folder and drop it in a container.

I'm assuming current counter-measures against ballot box stuffing are sufficient from someone printing up a couple of thousand fake votes and putting them in the box.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1, Interesting)

rben (542324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531957)

Control over the election of the President of the United States is probably the biggest cash cow you could have. Couple that with control over the elections of the Congress, and you have a way to influence how a trillion dollar budget is spent. Now how much would you pay?

The only thing stopping wholesale cheating is the use of exit polls, and even they weren't enough in the last presidential election. If the exit polls and actual poll results differ by 30%, people will get upset. In reality, even a small deviation should raise alarm flags and cause a recount, except with the Diebold system there's no way to do that!

Ultimately, this isn't Diebold's fault. It's the fault of a public that has become disconnected from the political system. It's become rude to discuss politics. Those who do discuss things are so polarized that it alienates the rest of us. The result is that most people don't care. They no longer get excited about the fraud and cheating that's discovered. They've come to expect it.

The Press used to play an important role in keeping the public informed, but now the huge media companies are more concerned with protecting their bottom line than in providing objective reporting. In the last 30 years, the FCC has steadily increased the share of local markets that can be controlled by a single company, meaning there is little or no real competition in many major markets. The same company can own the radio, television and newspapers. If a story might hurt the interests of the larger corporate entity, do you think the average editor is going to risk his career?

People need to be reminded that we have a pluralistic society, meaning that, at least in theory, we tolerate people who have ideas we don't agree with. That's what has made us a great society. It's important that we reestablish that as an important cultural value. It should be okay to discuss politics at parties without causing fist fights. Dissent at the dinner table should be met with well reasoned arguments, not shouts.

That's my 2 cents.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (2, Interesting)

deKernel (65640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532832)


The only thing stopping wholesale cheating is the use of exit polls, and even they weren't enough in the last presidential election. If the exit polls and actual poll results differ by 30%, people will get upset. In reality, even a small deviation should raise alarm flags and cause a recount,


Why in the heck would exit polls stop wholesale cheating? You are assuming:
a) people are telling the truth about whom they voted for
b) either all the people are polled or a good sampling
c) and the most important, the people taking the polls as well as reporting do not have a vesting interest in the results.

'C' is the biggest problem because it also goes back to (b). The news media openly wanted the Dems to win. That was the biggest problem.

Now dealing with the recounting issue, just about all of the recounts in Florida (I am assuming this is what you were referencing.) came out in favor of Bush so the majority did win.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533069)

There is enough evidence that exit polls provide accurate results that they are generally considered to be a valid audit resource. Due to their status as an election auditing standard, it should take more than a random hunch to discount their validity.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

deKernel (65640) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533961)

I am not aware of one single credable entity that places any value on exit polls. There are too many variables.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532787)

c) Diabold refuses to let the source code be reviewed, and chose to run on Windows XP so neither the program or the OS of the box can be verified safe.


Do you have the source code for Unix?

Also, do you have the source code for the compiler that compiled that version of Unix?

And finally, do you have the source code for the compiler that compiled the compiler [acm.org] ?

Granted, all of this requires a level of sophistication not yet achieved. However, unless you are capable of manually examining the entire system, you still need to assume that there is a backdoor in the login program.


                e) Diabold security is fucked whether or not they put the same code they have tested on the box. With tested, verfied boxes they cannot add XP security patches for known flaws after te verification date (and if there is one thing worth keeping an 0-day for...). If they do add security patches etc then we are trusting closed source biaries to be added to election counting machines without the possibility of review. One bad actor and the elecetion is up for grabs.


The same can be said for OpenBSD, which was considered to be next to a perfectly secure operating system. Then suddenly, a new vulnerability class was discovered that caused a sudden auditing frenzy.

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

RacerZero (848545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533126)

The comments so far show a remarkable misunderstanding of elections and vote counting.

First read your constitution, Article 1 Section 4. Yes the Feds can make changes to the system but each state has primary responsible for the way elections are done in their state. http://www.constitution.org/cons/constitu.htm [constitution.org] If they want to roll dice they can.

Second, I'm only familiar with the way elections are done where I live but it appears that very few of you have ever worked an election at a polling place. I doubt elections are much different in other locations.

Everything, voting machines etc, is sealed with a seal by reps from each party before we get it at the poling place. Both parties accompany the delivery and setup of the voting machines.

The status of each machine is recorded before voting takes place.

Everyone voting is counted. If, at the end of voting, that count doesn't match the numbers from the voting machines then everything is recounted.

Votes cast on each machine are tallied on paper and electronically. The total number of votes on the machine are also counted mechanically. If those numbers don't add up properly then everything is recounted.

Totals from paper and electronically are recorded on paper by reps from each party and signed by the worker at the polling place.

Both parties seal everything with a seal before it leaves the poling place.

Both parties accompany all materials back to the central vote tallying location.

You can always use paper ballots! (4, Insightful)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533159)

Canada's national election happens to be tomorrow.....

"All votes are made on the same standard heavy paper ballot which is inserted in a standard cardboard box, furnished by Elections Canada. The ballot and the box are devised to ensure that no one except the elector knows the individual choice that was made. Counting the ballots is done by hand in full view of the representatives of each candidate. There are no mechanical, electrical or electronic systems involved in this process."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_electoral_sy stem#Non-partisan_election_officers [wikipedia.org]

Scandalous!

Cheers,
-b

Re:Insanely poor program architecture (1)

starm_ (573321) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533453)

The fact that a paper trail is such an obvious solution and that it is so easy to implement is what makes the chosen convoluted, hackable, no-recount alternative used so suspicious.

What honest and experienced company would chose anything but that easy and elegant solution that is currently implemented on every ATM and all cash registers if not because they want to open the possibility to election fraud? Hell, they might even had to pay to remove that standard feature from the hardware. No amount of electronic tweaking will make the system secure. There is always a weak link. Even if Diebold had the best intention in the world, how can they be certain that a lone partisan coder wouldn't sneak a line of code within I'm sure what are millions of lines, converting say 5% of the votes. This could be done at any point in the chain of programs that handle the votes; from the user interface, to the final tally, through the individual machine databases, the talying computer, the flash memory files etc. etc. etc. I have programmed plenty and I can tell you that, it would be very easy to implement this "bug" so that it happens ONLY on the day of the election and previous and following tests show no bias. A paper trail is necessary!

Consider,

If you were Diebold and you were designing a voting machine you would have two options:

1)Hire an expensive team of developers responsible for surveying all the code components of your system to make sure everyone one of them are 100% secure and bug free. A feat that no leading software company (say MS) has succeeded in doing for their own software even after decades and millions of man-hours of debugging and re-engineering.

Or,

2) add a small printer similar or identical the ones used for printing lotto tickets or even those good old receipt printer that are part of *every* cash registers.

Which option do you think is less expensive?

What would be the motivation for even trying the first option other than you _want_ to leave doors open?

The guys in power don't care. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531758)

If they did we'd have this problem fixed by now. We've know they were insecure for years now; ever since the accidental release of diebolds e-mails detailing backdoors and holes that were not patched. Who remembers that security researcher who went before congress and said specifically that his code, which was to illustrate a backdoor into the machines, was used to hack the elections in ohio? I forget his name.

Fact is, CEO's and friends of voting machine companies get into power. Why? Guess. It isn't the 20% of the vote they need to swing; it's the 6% after they've divided everyone on the issues. Voting laws and policys are consistantly broken, and is anything done about it? The answer lies in the question; Has anyone been taken out of power yet? Dictatorship only works if people are divided; if they stand for something and stand by it for hell or high water.

And I might, just might give credit to the guys who said "well, it's stil the will of the people" if it weren't for that they can't prove their position since there's nothing for them to count. The election board can't even tell them who voted for who so they can go around asking people.

Of course, the best way you can tell the government you don't like what you're doing is to decide you stand for something and stand for it tall. I personally chose the constitution; it ain't perfect, but it's something everyone can agree on. Of course, ever since the civil war and reconstruction the constitution's layed dormant. To make a long story short, if you want to get rid of the current government, the best way is to simply stop working for them; stop giving them your money. How do you do that? Well, basically the 14th amendment set you up to be a federal citizen by the name of a "U.S. citizen" and social security turned you into a corporate legal fiction so that income tax, which worked only on corporations, now works on you. How do you get out? You rescind your federal citizenship, declare your citizenship of your state as it was before reconstruction, rescind your birth certificate (to remove proof of being under the 14th), rescind your social security (to correct your status as a soverign instead of a corporation), then begin rescinding everything else; drivers lisence, fishing lisences, gun lisence, any contract with the federal government and it's munincipal corporations (read; the states are corporations). You can get a non-binding play-ID from the SS office if you want to get a bank account, for example. Then you simply stop paying income and social security taxes, atwhich point you stop giving the government 30% of your income and begin working to reinstate lawful government in your state via holding elections and office and organizing locally. More to the point, if enough people do it quickly enough, the federal government will have about 10 trillion in debt to pay off, and no way repay it back which means a massive collapse. :X...

The price? Reading a few books; learning how history, governments, and legal documents work. Mabye $500 in books total. A good place to start is here:

http://www.usa-the-republic.com/revenue/true_histo ry/Contents.html [usa-the-republic.com]

Do a find for john ainsworth and ed wahler on this page

http://mp3.rbnlive.com/Stadt06.html [rbnlive.com]

They've been preparing a book and an organization to do this on a massive scale. The book comes out in march-ish along with the publicisation of the startup and they hope to do it state-by-state.

Re:The guys in power don't care. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14531800)

The price? Prison sentence; learning how the courts work. Mabye $500,000 in fines total. A good place to start is here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=174700&cid =14531758 [slashdot.org]

Re:The guys in power don't care. (1)

das3cr (780388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531832)

If they did we'd have this problem fixed by now.
It sure seems like it. After all, "Something must can be done." I'm all in favor of E-voting .. someday. Just not today and not with Diebold.
You rescind your federal citizenship, declare your citizenship of your state as it was before reconstruction, rescind your birth certificate (to remove proof of being under the 14th), rescind your social security (to correct your status as a soverign instead of a corporation), then begin rescinding everything else; drivers lisence, fishing lisences, gun lisence, any contract with the federal government and it's munincipal corporations (read; the states are corporations). ~ Then you simply stop paying income and social security taxes,
Good luck with this. Let us know how it works out for you.

Re:The guys in power don't care. (2, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532785)

While government in general is massively inefficient, the true "cost" of your proposal to "rescind" everything (even were it legal) would actually be - no police, no firemen, roads getting crappy even quicker, massive theft and robberies since social programs wouldn't be funded, etc.

Re:The guys in power don't care. (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533413)

You'd have a lot more credibility if you could name someone who has actually done this. As it stands, the second you try it, they'll simply treat you as the crackpot criminal tax evader you are.

This reminds me of the crackpot theory [straightdope.com] that you don't have to pay income tax because the 16th amendment wasn't properly ratified.

The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14531821)

My impression is that the Bush family is the most corrupt family every to have political power in the United States. These are people who believe that they are more than 100% right, and that other people don't matter.

It does not surprise me that Jeb Bush's state is involved in voting machine vulnerabilities. Quote from the story "... vendors such as Diebold have too much influence in the administration of elections, a view that resonated with Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, the founder of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition."

The president of Diebold said he would deliver the votes to Bush [commondreams.org] . And he did [whatreallyhappened.com] .

I wrote short reviews of books and movies about the corruption, but I only barely touched the surface: Unprecedented Corruption: A guide to conflict of interest in the U.S. government [futurepower.org] . Note that, although Michael Moore's manner of expression is sloppy, other authors supported his main points in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11. For example, George W. Bush does hold hands with Saudi leaders, his father was at a meeting with a brother of Osama bin Laden on the day before 9/11, and so on.

Re:The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (1, Informative)

Grumpy Troll (790026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532017)

The president of Diebold said he would deliver the votes to Bush [commondreams.org] . And he did [whatreallyhappened.com] .
Via USS Neverdock [blogspot.com] , America - Vote Fraud in Ohio - By Democrats! [blogspot.com] :

Fortunately, today comes more bad news for the Democrats. Their long awaited investigation into voter fraud found no evidence of voter fraud by the GOP [captainsquartersblog.com] and their deranged poster boy, Dean was forced into a humilating admission.

A five-month study for the Democratic National Committee found that more than one in four Ohio voters experienced problems at the polls last fall, but the study did not find evidence of widespread election fraud that might have contributed to President Bush's narrow victory there.
In a stinging reply to the report, Mr. Mehlman agreed that there were numerous election abuses that took place in Ohio last year, but said they were perpetrated by Democrats or their political allies. In one instance, he said, "Democrat allies attempted to disenfranchise Ohio voters by submitting registration cards for Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Michael Jordan."

...

"Overwhelmingly," this report said, "these problems were reportedly traced primarily" to four Democratic political allies who supported Mr. Kerry: ACORN, America Coming Together, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP National Voter Fund.

Re:The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (2)

Hiigara (649950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532792)

I don't know about you, but where I come from (Michigan) we require more than just blog posts to make such dangerous accusations. Perhaps you should consider modifying your links to point to more direct and reputable sources of information?

The Bush - Osama link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14532025)

"For example, George W. Bush.... his father was at a meeting with a brother of Osama bin Laden on the day before 9/11, and so on."

That is intentionally misleading, is just an attempt to play on ignorance. The bin Laden family is HUGE, with a large number of brothers, of which Osama is a black sheep who has hardly had any contact with anyone.

This was one of Michael Moore's weakest points. It is like trying to link Chris Dodd with that Kennedy rapist (William Kennedy Smith) because Senator Dodd has a close collegial relationship with the rapist's relative Senator Ted Kennedy.

"Chris Dodd Supports Rapists" is as good a headline as the one Moore tried to cook up with the imagined link between GWB and Osama.

Re:The Bush - Osama link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14532115)

It is like trying to link Chris Dodd with that Kennedy rapist (William Kennedy Smith) because Senator Dodd has a close collegial relationship with the rapist's relative Senator Ted Kennedy.

Especially since Smith was acquitted.

Re:The Bush - Osama link (3, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532296)

This was one of Michael Moore's weakest points.

That's funny, it was strong enough of a point for the Bush administration, they had a citizen of Canada "renditioned" to Syria for more than a year [www.cbc.ca] for working with the brother of a known terrorist.

My personal experiences with Saudis (1, Redundant)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533358)

You said, "The bin Laden family is HUGE, with a large number of brothers, of which Osama is a black sheep who has hardly had any contact with anyone."

I have personal experiences that influence my opinions concerning this. For several years I would go to a gym at night and work out, perhaps 2 or 3 times a week, for at least an hour and a half and often 3 hours.

I met sons of very wealthy Saudi families at the gym. Working out is very boring, and people sometimes take a break and talk. Often we would have extensive conversations. This was long before 9/11/2001. I wasn't involved with a woman friend at the time, and the Saudis, who had been sent by their families to study at the university here, were never very well accepted in the U.S. culture. So, we both had plenty of time to talk. I talked with other gym regulars, of course, not just Saudis. (I've never known anyone with the name bin Laden.)

It is true that Osama bin Laden is just one of 53 children of his father, and the only one who is publicly a terrorist. However at the gym I developed a sense of how Saudis feel, although they were always polite and, being Arabs, never stated their feelings in a completely open way.

My sense is that Arabs don't like to see other Arabs killed. The U.S. government has been in the business of killing, or paying to kill, Arabs for decades. Remember, that is one of Osama bin Laden's major complaints. (The other is that he didn't like U.S. government weapons in Saudi Arabia.) Most U.S. citizens have very little awareness of the violent actions of their government, I've discovered, and would be surprised to learn how much of their money has gone to kill Arabs, or help kill Arabs, even long before the first U.S. government-Iraq war.

I never met a Saudi who was anti-American. Obviously, if they existed, I probably wouldn't. However, it seemed that Saudis were often against the habitually violent policies of the U.S. government.

Remember, 15 of the 19 people who attacked on 9/11 were Saudis. Although the U.S. media often tries to trivialize this fact, those Saudis gave their lives for their beliefs.

The Bush family believes they are friends with Saudis, particularly the man who calls himself Prince Bandar, and whom the Bush family calls "Bandar Bush". For reasons too complicated for a Slashdot comment, it is extremely unlikely that Bandar likes George W. Bush, or even George H.W. Bush. In spite of the fact that Bandar acts friendly with the Bush family, and holds hands with George W. Bush while being filmed by national media, I think that Bandar is not actually deeply friendly. He is only pretending to be friendly to advance his own agenda, a tactic that has worked extremely well.

The point of this is that Saudis often have feelings which seem sensible to them but which may seem unreasonable to U.S. citizens. Several members of bin Laden's family, not just Osama, gave money to causes that they considered pro-Arab. Those causes were sometimes anti-U.S. government. In general, people who seem to know about these things have said that there has been considerable sympathy inside the bin Laden family for Osama's actions.

I'm resolutely against violence. I'm resolutely against any government acting in secret. I love the United States intensely. However, I recognize that many people will agree with the sick logic that says that, if the U.S. government kills Arabs, Arabs can attack the United States.

Re:The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (2, Insightful)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532216)

My impression is that the Bush family is the most corrupt family every to have political power in the United States. These are people who believe that they are more than 100% right, and that other people don't matter.

I think you overestimate the influence of morality. The interest of this family (and their party) has little to do with right and wrong. Despite our president's delusions that the voices in his head are Jesus Christ telling him what to do, that's really not the point.

At some point (hint RR), the federal government shifted from being a organization serving the needs of its citizens into being a multitrillion dollar business. The people running things, both Rep and Dem, are very wealthy and in many instances, particularly in the White House, are ex-CEOs. They are making national decisions based on profit margin, not for us, but for themselves.

For example, it's much cheaper to drill Iraqi oil fields than it is to drill offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil reserves in this country are going to be depleted sometime in the near future and the Bushes, and all their cronies, understand full well they will be out of the oil business if they don't position themselves within the Middle East, which is where we'll squeeze the last drop of crude out of this rock we live on.

This administration has made certain individuals in this country extraordinarily wealthy. There is no way in hell that the people making so much money at taxpayer expense would give that up to something as fickle as a general election. Thankfully, someone's got an eye on them.

There's one flaw in your argument (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532672)

Even at full capacity, it would've taken 10-20 years of taking all of Iraq's oil profits (or it may even have been total net sales...) to pay for the initial cost of the war. Iraq's oil fields aren't running anywhere close to full capacity due to initial damage from the war and constant ongoing damage from insurgent activity.

Note that by "initial cost", I mean the initial 80-100 billion that Bush requested for the war. What's the price tag up to now? 200b? 300b? It's a hell of a lot more. Plus there's the cost of upgrading/rebuilding Iraq's oil production infrastructure.

If this was about oil, it was a damned stupid financial decision.

Re:There's one flaw in your argument (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532754)

If this was about oil, it was a damned stupid financial decision.

Yep, fucked the country over good and half of the voting public willingly bent over for another reaming too.

It wasn't about oil - it was about oil infrastructure. Most of the oilfields in Texas are dry (or too expensive to extract from, even at $70/barrell) but what Texas has a lot of are the companies that build rigs, build pipelines, do geo-petrol exploration, etc. Those companies have made a killing since the Iraqi invasion.

Re: There's one flaw in your argument (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532765)

> If this was about oil, it was a damned stupid financial decision

Ah, but you neglect the distinction between who is going to pay for it and who was supposed to profit from it.

The oil companies were supposed to supposed to benefit from it (by means of the distribution contracts rather than by pwning the oilfields per se), but you and your descendents will be paying for the war, yea unto the seventh generation.

(Saw a news story somewhere this month about a new estimate of the war's total costs to the USA running to the amount of two trillion dollars. Cheney and his cronies won't be picking up the tab; they're already getting tax breaks on their record profits, while the national debt goes ballistic.)

Re: There's one flaw in your argument (1)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533063)

Ah, but you neglect the distinction between who is going to pay for it and who was supposed to profit from it.

Exactly right. Hussein overthrown, friendly government installed, Haliburton cleans up mess, US military keeps the peace, total cost to US taxpayers astronomical.

Once the dust clears, friendly government sells drilling rights to US oil companies (you think the Bushes have a piece of one?), who patiently wait for the dust to clear to jump in and make astronomical profits.

For that kind of money I might consider creating fantastic tales of weapons of "mass destruction", "mushroom clouds," secret Nigerian uranium and the like. These guys belong in jail, all of them. Mothers are losing children so these bastards can get rich.

Re: There's one flaw in your argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14533246)

Tin

Foil

Hat

Re:There's one flaw in your argument (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533275)

Maybe, but they didn't pay for the war. Your tax dollars paid for the war. OK they pay taxes as well, but that is only a small part of the total cost.

They however, will get all the profits.

Weak. (1, Informative)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532247)

You believe Moore's lies and distortions because you want them to be true.

Diebold is a fine example of how the small-mindedness of some people manifests itself. Particularly, it shows that proprietary softare and oafish business practices are next of kin.

But it has nothing to do with President Bush.

You defend Moore's dishonesty, but tout Diebold's ineptitude as evidence of President Bush's alleged corruption because his brother is governor of Florida?

That's some strained reasoning.

Re:Weak. (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532450)

Florida?

Volusia county, enough said. Maybe not because of Jeb Bush, but someone there is pulling a little too hard for the Republicans. Of course, the same thing can be said about Democrats in Ohio, but what do you expect when the two major parties in our country are basically scraping the bottom of the barrel in order to look for candidates? Somebody's gotta make it look like people actually want to vote for these guys.

Diebold's ineptitude

See, here's the problem: their secure and successful ATM venture tarnishes their image as "a bunch of inept oafs" as you would, for lack of a better word, "defend" them. "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence" rings hollow when the company has created and deployed a system that has not been broken, and not for lack of being a very juicy target.

You believe Moore's lies and distortions because you want them to be true.

As for lies, which ones are you referring to? Bush admitted that he holds hands with saudi leaders, he explained that it was what was expected of him in their society, "when in Rome...". As for Bush's father meeting with the brother of binLaden, that was apparently enough for the Bush administration to "extraordinarily rendition" a Canadian citizen to Syria for over a year. Maher Arar's crime? Well, we don't know exactly, because just like thousands of other people (including at least one American citizen, Padilla) the Bush administration doesn't bother to charge people with crimes or otherwise justify their behavior. But the man does claim to have been interrogated about his employment alongside the brother of a known Syrian terrorist.

Re:Weak. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14533700)

I won't get into the political side of this thread, but I will say this. You views of Diebold are incorrect. Do I believe they have sloppy security and don't care to fix it? Absolutely. Do I believe they chose Windows XP and are using it as a flimsy excuse to not provide the source code of their machines to the state of North Carolina? You bet. But don't for a minute think that Diebold knows anything about security.

You say that Diebold's ATM machines haven't been broken, and not for lack of being a juicy target. You're right, an ATM machine might be a juicy target. But you would have to know way more than the workings of Windows XP in order to extract cash from them. But the main reason you haven't seen them broken into? Because they're not on the Internet. The banking ATM network is a completely separate network, or so I have been told by a friend who is the IT manager at a local bank. There's the Internet, there's the bank's internal network, and then there's the ATM network (not to be confused with the ATM protocol).

But just to show how secure Diebold's ATM machines are, take a look at this article: Nachi worm infected Diebold ATMs [securityfocus.com] . These guys *ARE* a bunch if inept oafs who have no businesses in the banking or voting industries.

Re:The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (3, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532262)

My impression is that the Bush family is the most corrupt family every to have political power in the United States.

Bush family? Sad to say, Abraham Lincoln was more corrupt than all the Bushes combined. With GW, it isn't considered treason to say that the Gulf War II was wrong. In Abraham Lincoln's regime, it would have been. As unconstitutional as W's wiretapping efforts were, Lincoln wiped his arse with the constitution by suspending it completely.

Re:The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (1)

trixillion (66374) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533639)

I think you are confusing corrupt for dictatorial. Compared to those immediately before and after, Lincoln wasn't very corrupt at all.

Re:The Bush family is the most corrupt ever. (2, Interesting)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532512)

F 9-11 was crap on many levels. It was a crappy movie from a propaganda point of view, because he began by focusing on the 2000 election, turning off any potential 'switchers' who supported Bush in 2000 but then grew uncomfortable with his actual leadership. It was crappy from a investigative point of view as well.

So, Bush hangs out with the Saudis, and they influence our policy, eh? THEN WHY THE FUCK DID WE GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ!? Hello, the Saudis were against the war! They were doing diplomacy up until the final minute to try to avert a war, because they thought it would be destabilizing to their regime in either the bad case (Iraq collapses, war spreads through the region) or the good case (Iraq democratizes, pressure is put on SA to democratize). Duh.

Next Moore tried different stunts like proving he can't tell the difference between Iraq and Vietnam with the 'sign up your son for war' bit. FFS, doesn't he realize that the draft is over? In the Vietnam War, "would you make your son fight?" was a legitimate question, because people in power kept their kids from fighting by pulling strings to get them out of the draft. In the Iraq War, there's not a single man or woman over there who didn't sign up for military service themselves. Everyone over there is over 18 and legally decided to go on their own. The whole stunt about 'sign up your kid' didn't even make sense. You *can't* sign up your kid for the military. You have to volunteer for yourself.

Then Moore continued to drop bombshells like "mothers are sad when their children die" and "Bush protected the privacy of someone unrelated to his military record by blotting his name" and "rich people hang out with other rich people." Wow, way to blow the lid off of that one! The whole thing is just a bunch of ridiculous guilt by association garbage.

What makes it really infuriating is the fact that Bush actually has done so many crap things out in front of every, like the PATRIOT Act, that there's no need to make up all this bullshit about "boo-hoo, they stoles our election from us! Wah," and then play clips of people fixing their hair in slow motion with sinister music that lets us know that only bad guys like Wolfowitz lick their palm before slicking their hair back. For crying out loud, just focus on the actual things that matter instead of trying to figure out if Bush tried to get out of military service back before he turned his life around and decided not to just waste it on drinking and drugs. F9-11 is such a pointless waste of potential!!

Re:The "Bush" family is the most corrupt ever. (2, Funny)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533525)

I agree completely. Take, for example, the manner in which Joseph P. "Bush" made millions from insider trading and stockpiling of liquor during prohibition, supported appeasement of Nazi Germany, and stuck a deal with Joe McCarthy to help his son's senate campaign.

Then there's the way that John F. "Bush," after a Senate career buillt upon the tacit support of Joe McCarthy, was elected--without a majority of the popular vote--President in 1960, despite allegations of voter fraud in Texas and Richard Daley's Chicago. After delivering an inaugural speech plaigarized from Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ("...it is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return."), he made several attempts to assassinate the president of Cuba, began US involvement in Vietnam, and, after repeated humiliations by Nikita Khrushchev, allowed construction of the Berlin Wall.

His younger brother, Edward M. "Bush," got drunk one night and drove his car into the sea, leaving a female passenger to drown, and promptly calling his lawyer, then going home for the night, leaving the submerged car undiscovered until the next morning.

Ted's nephew, William "Bush" Smith, had a medical career plagued by allegations of rape and sexual harrassment, including several lawsuits settled out-of-court.

Replace "Bush" with "Kennedy," and I agree with your assessment. Unprecedented corruption? Hardly.

Re:The "Bush" family is the most corrupt ever. (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533704)

This was a work of art until the last paragraph. Try not to diminish your impact by overexplaining. Thanks for a great post, anyway.

Easy Voting Machine (4, Funny)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532076)

This is my idea for a voting machine. It depends for its operation on the idea that when a current is passed through two solenoids in series, both armatures will pull in. The machine itself has two units: the voting booth unit and the presiding officer's unit, linked by a cable. When not being used for an election, the machines would be made available for public scrutiny.

The voting booth unit {VBU} has a large rotary switch, a pushbutton and a meter with a green zone. The Presiding Officer's unit {POU} contains a power supply, and a column of non-resettable electromechanical counters, all but one of which are covered by a metal plate. This plate is fastened in place with a wire with an aluminium seal bearing the Returning Officer's mark. The counter readings before the start of the election are recorded on a paper label affixed to the underside of the cover plate. There is also a switch labelled "CHARGE" and "VOTE".

Each voter is issued with a unique, identifiable token -- a postcard with their name and address on it. The voter shows the token {Token One} to the Presiding Officer, who first spoils Token One and then moves the switch on the POU to "CHARGE" as the voter steps into the booth. The Presiding Officer then moves the switch to "VOTE". The voter has now traded Token One for a second token, all of which are absolutely anonymous, identical and indistinguible from one another: Token Two is an electrical charge stored in a capacitor contained within the VBU.

The voter spins the rotary switch to their preferred candidate, checks that the meter is in the green zone and depresses the voting button. The VBU capacitor is discharged through the coil of one of the concealed counters in the POU. One terminal of each of these counters is commonned together; the current through any one of the candidate counters also flows through the master counter, and returns to the other plate of the capacitor. The charge in the capacitor is soon exhausted, and cannot be replenished unless the Presiding Officer moves the POU switch to CHARGE. The voter then has the option to move the rotary switch to a different position so as to conceal their preference -- or to leave it there to advertise their preference.

Every voter has a receipt to show that they have voted {the spoiled Token One} but once a vote has been cast, the only record of that vote is the fact that the master counter and one of the candidate counters have advanced by one place. There is thus no way to link a voter with their vote. The master counter is in view of {and the counting mechanism is within earshot of} the PO, who can thus confirm visually and aurally that a vote has been cast {or separately, manually record a "no vote" if the voter leaves the booth without voting for any candidate}. All the candidate counters are concealed until the close of polling, when a few minutes' worth of mental arithmetic will reveal the true count. By virtue of its simplicity, and the fact that it has been subjected to public scrutiny, we can take for granted that the mechanism is behaving as it is supposed to; the Returning Officer need only inspect the tamper-evident seals to determine whether the result is valid or compromised.

{In case the above constitutes a patent claim, I hereby licence it for use royalty-free in all applicable jurisdictions, in the hope that it will be of service to Humankind}.

Re:Easy Voting Machine (1)

stony3k (709718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532535)

This is pretty much the system that is used in India. Its pretty simple, and seems to work just fine. I wish all these e-voing machine guys would remember the KISS principle.

Re:Easy Voting Machine (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14532853)

I have a slightly more revolutionary idea for a voting machine that involves a pencil, several pieces of paper, a large folded sheet of cardboard that can be used as a booth, and a locked wooden box with a small opening in the top.


You'll have to wait until the morning after the election to get results, but it's a fair bit more reliable and secure than any electronic system in use today.

"Crackers Challenge Diebold" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14532406)

Is anyone else disturbed by the racist tone of this story?

Re:"Crackers Challenge Diebold" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14532548)

I fail to see any racism in the story at all.
care to point out the parts you consider to be?

Re:"Crackers Challenge Diebold" (1)

shakah (78118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533032)

The poster's probably making a joke re the use of crackers [m-w.com] :

"5a) usually disparaging : a poor usually Southern white"

It's the news that isn't. (1)

RoffleTheWaffle (916980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14533302)

Electronic voting machines and their makers never fail to amaze me. I mean, voting's a big deal, right? Elections are supposed to be honest, the results are supposed to be untampered, and we're supposed to come out with a real winner chosen by the people, no matter who we're electing for what position. Voting is practically the backbone of our democracy, and one of the most influential ways that we can speak out in our towns and in our country... And yet, for some reason, most if not all voting machines appear to be almost designed to be hacked, if they aren't defective outright.

Here in my own county, residents are very concerned about the coming elections that will be held here for county positions. Electronic voting machines will be deployed widely - I don't believe they're Diebold's, but that's not the point - and elected officials have already been cited as asking their associates off the record to find ways to crack these machines. I shit you not. The story has been mostly swept under the rug, but somehow I don't think that these guys are out to stress test these machines, given the far from spotless reputation of Madison County's upper management. The machines in question leave no paper trail whatsoever, and are practically a mirror image of Diebold's machines in functionality and security. In other words, they're fancy piles of electronic garbage designed to produce the same.

This bothers me a great deal. It really makes me just want to stick with old fashioned paper voting, or simply drive the point home by defacing one of these boxes on election day with a third-rate off the shelf hack. Preferrably both, if possible. It's ironic that the single greatest threat to the advancement of society today is the advancement of high technology. Broken tech and rigged voting machines threaten our democratic process, while robust surveillance threatens our privacy and freedom, and yet people just eat this stuff up. It's sick. Not to say that the advancement of technology is evil, but in some cases it's application would appear to be extremely counterproductive to our society and the preservation of the basic values of our country...

Re:It's the news that isn't. (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533728)

I agree that the machines are flawed - however a minor correction. The machines don't threaten anything. It's the criminals who attempt to hack them who threaten the democratic process. The same criminals that used to see to it that dead people voted every year now just have an easier and more sure way to rig the election. That's not the machine threatening anything. If people were honest, these machines would be fine. Since people are not honest, people threaten the system.

Old news (2, Informative)

plsuh (129598) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533397)

What's really amazing/frightening to me is how long it has taken for the mainstream media to pick this up. The tests done by Harri Hursti for Leon County were conducted and reported back on December 13th, 2005! The Post waited until a slow news day over a month later to report on it. Since then, there's been a whole slew of additional activity on the voting machines front. For more details, see the original blackboxvoting.org article [bbvforums.org] .

--Paul

Disclaimers: I have been working with the good folks at TrueVoteMD.org [truevotemd.org] to get the d*mned things banned in Maryland, my home state; I'm also a plaintiff in a lawsuit in Maryland that seeks to force the Maryland State Board of Elections to follow exsting state law and get rid of them.

Security through Obscurity (1)

yroJJory (559141) | more than 7 years ago | (#14533402)

What Sancho did "is analogous to if I gave you the keys to my house and told you when I was gone," said David Bear, a Diebold spokesman. As Bear sees it, Sancho's experiment involved giving hackers "complete unfettered access" to the equipment, something a responsible elections administrator would never allow.

So, they're saying that a hacker without physical access would never have been able to get in and that it was only because they were allowed to touch the physical unit that they could make it do such things. That's great security. I guess we shouldn't worry about all those military computers tucked away in heavily-guarded military bases. Since no hacker could ever gain physical access to the boxes, they're totally secure!!

Manipulation Preferred . .. (0, Troll)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#14534056)

But, Democrats will prefer Diebold machines now. I mean, if they can easily go in and alter the results, they have a better chance at stealing more elections and "taking back the majority."

Re:Manipulation Preferred . .. (1)

comm3c (670264) | more than 7 years ago | (#14534099)

Hell, if your enemy is playing that game, better to play it back. If someone was stealing my shit, I'd start breaking into their house too.

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