[Fsfe-ie] Kathy Sheridans column in Opinion & Analysis, Thursday 15th of January.
kor at compsoc.com
Fri Jan 16 12:59:29 CET 2004
yestereday Kathy Sheridan wrote a column in the times noting flaws with
computerised voting as used here. Here's some quotes, 'cos paraphrasing
'... votes will no longer be paper, and the secret counts will
take place within computers. The computers will obey coded
instructions, devised by fallible humans from a private company,
specifically for the Republic (so therefore not tried and tested
elsewhere). Yet their source codes [sic] will not be open to
independent, specialist scrutiny because of commercial
copyright. Furthermore, the count results produced by them will
not be open to independent verification because, astonishngly,
no such means of verification is built into the system.'
'Margaret Galey ... working on a PhD on elctronic voting, had
just told a Dail committee the system as planned "poses a
genuine threat to our democracy."'
'Rebecca Mercuri, an American professor and world expert in
electroni voting security, says that "any first-year computing
student can write code that displays one thing on the screen to
the voter but records something else and transmits that as the
vote". The only solution, she believes, is a system that
produces a paper record of the ballot that can be verified by
the voter before it automatically drops into the system'
'The truth, say the experts, is that no one can vouch for the
100 per cent security and independence of any company's system.
How then can Martin Cullen do so, on your behalf?'
She then notes the case of Diebold-made voting machines in America
recording incorrect results, and that the company tried to cover up by
faking results - but doesn't note that the company also tried to stop
American citizens publicly posting damning internal Diebold memos by
threating them with the DMCA.
Anyways, I was going to email lettersed at irish-times.ie, but didn't get
very far, because writing emails is also HARD. This is as far as I got:
In a column on the 15th of January, Kathy Sheridan wrote about the
untrustable nature of the computerised voting system. She noted
that "the source codes will not be open to independent, specialist
scrutiny" and also quotes Rebecca Mercuri as saying that "any
first-year computing student can write code that displays one thing
on the screen to the voter but records something else and transmits
that as the vote".
I wanted to point out that source-code need not be open, and that, imho,
the only way citizens could be confident in such code is if they could
have [Ff]ree access to it - and that there are plenty of citizens who
are both proficient enough to be able to review said code, and concerned
enough about their own democracy to do so. Got stuck on phrasing at
that point - any comments, help, etc., welcome.
Also, does anyone know of any Free/Open/Libre vote-tallying efforts?
Lastly, if someone else wants to write/send this, or if people think
it'd be a good idea to send as an official ifso response, then please
say so :) It'd at least be good to get an ifso.ie plug in somewhere.
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