Monday, July 24, 2006

I Believe in Tooth Fairy

I might as well, given that an article (via this Kos diary) about the Diebold voting machines having a back door that anyone could access elicited this comment:

Basically, Diebold included a "back door" in its software, allowing
anyone to change or modify the software. There are no technical safeguards in place to ensure that only authorized people can make

A malicious individual with access to a voting machine could rig the
software without being detected. Worse yet, if the attacker rigged the machine used to compute the totals for some precinct, he or she could alter the results of that precinct. The only fix the RABA authors suggested was to warn people that manipulating an election is against the law.

Typically, modern voting machines are delivered several days before an election and stored in people's homes or in insecure polling stations. A wide variety of poll workers, shippers, technicians, and others who have access to these voting machines could rig the software. Such software alterations could be difficult to impossible to detect.

Diebold spokesman David Bear admitted to the New York Times that the
back door was inserted intentionally so that election officials would be able to update their systems easily. Bear justified Diebold's actions by saying, "For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software... I don't believe these evil elections people exist."

My bolds. Such childlike faith in the goodness of human beings is charming in a four-year old. In Mr. Bear it's just horrible.

This is a serious matter. Without transparent elections democracy will die. Even if we squeeze our eyes shut really hard and hope for it to survive.