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Censorship United States Your Rights Online

Diebold Issues Cease and Desist to Indymedia 421

Posted by michael
from the speak-no-evil dept.
h0mee writes "Diebold, manufacturer of election equipment, has issued a Cease and desist notice to the upstream provider of San Francisco Indymedia for having links to mirrors of a leaked internal diebold memo. More than just a case of a leak, Diebold has been raising a lot of questions about the fairness and security of elections in the United States. (Perhaps it's time for peer reviewable software like gnu.free? ;)"
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Diebold Issues Cease and Desist to Indymedia

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  • Only in America (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:03AM (#7247638)

    could the goverment actually convice its people that by pressing a button on an ordinary computer you have a democracy
  • by johannesg (664142) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:11AM (#7247658)
    E-voting is simply a bad idea. Voting needs to be done using paper, in order to keep accountability. Paper, once written, cannot be changed and can always be recounted. Software offers no such guarantee, not even if a thousand 'experts' all proclaim the software to be safe.
  • by mocm (141920) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:18AM (#7247675) Homepage
    GPLed software does not rule out a commercial solution. You can still pay someone for writing the software and since it is linked to the hardware anyway, what speaks against opening the source. It does not even have to be GPLed, you just need to be able to verify the software.
    I for one would like to have a system, where I get some kind of receipt (maybe a chipcard or a code number) which I can use to verfy my vote anonymously on the internet or at a verification station.
    All this is possible and can be done securely without hiding the source code and with keeping the privacy of the voter.
  • More likely bet... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:21AM (#7247682)
    How about this?

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

    While the sheelpe are pleased with the effectivness of American justice to punish those deserving (Hows the mansion Kenny-boy!), the other three companies finish the job and end the "democratic" US. It used to be a republic, but you all gave that up a long time ago...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:27AM (#7247702)
    Yeah they are anti-american in the same way that Noam Chomsky is anti-semitic. They disagree with the group that they are a part of so they are anti-$whatever. Ever hear about the freedom to disagree with the *majority* without being labeled somehow anti-american? It's called being an American. Although people like you are trying to change the definition of that term to mean something altogether different.
  • by nagora (177841) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:36AM (#7247724)
    All that is truly needed is accountability built into the system. If a commercial product created a paper-trail that could appeald

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

    TWW

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:42AM (#7247741)
    This isn't the only site that Diebold has shut down. I guess it just finally went far enough to get posted here. blackboxvoting.org is another one.

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

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

    Do you want a corporation to have the power to decide arbitrarily the outcome of elections?
  • by harriet nyborg (656409) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:46AM (#7247752)
    E-voting is simply a bad idea.

    Hear, hear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Re:Simple System (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vegetablespork (575101) <vegetablespork@gmail.com> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:48AM (#7247758) Homepage
    If people are put off by putting in a little effort, it's just fine with me that they don't vote. People who are willing to put forth effort will decide elections, and everyone will benefit.
  • by kfg (145172) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:57AM (#7247777)
    Please see Ken Thompson's totally moby hack of Unix, providing a back door even if a system was built from audited code.

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

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

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

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

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

    KFG

    KFG

    KFG
  • Re:Simple System (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bronster (13157) <slashdot@brong.net> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:02AM (#7247796) Homepage
    3) Card is checked by user for accuracy

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

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

    It's the same basis on which lots of blind-signing trust systems are built - ask the person to produce 100 different 'secrets', and verify that a random 99 of them are correct, then sign the other without looking at it, because the chance that they correctly guessed which of the 100 you would sign is so low, and (with a high enough penalty) the cost of being caught too high...
  • by vegetablespork (575101) <vegetablespork@gmail.com> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:24AM (#7247864) Homepage
    I agree that there were irregularities in Florida, but disagree with this statement:
    . . . and also that voter registration seems to introduce quite a bias in who is eligible to vote.
    Voter registration, per se, does not introduce any bias (abuses like erroneous felon lists in Florida notwithstanding). It does cause a self-selection--that is, those who vote are those willing to take the time to register. This is why I oppose laws like "Motor Voter" and other efforts to make registration automatic. I also vehemently oppose any effort to allow voting from home, except for the physically disabled or other situations in which absentee ballots are currently allowed. If one can't be bothered to register and come to the polls, I don't want that person helping run the country.
  • by johannesg (664142) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:50AM (#7247972)
    It is _much_ harder to commit fraud using paper. For one thing, with software it requires just one guy making one change to a piece of software to bend the election results for an entire nation. With paper the same thing can be done on a local scale, but it is very hard to pull it off nationwide without people noticing.

    Where I live I can go and watch elections as they happen (I can ask to be an observer and that request must be granted). I cannot do that with electronic voting, since I cannot watch what goes on inside the machine.

  • Not anonymous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Effugas (2378) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:57AM (#7247999) Homepage
    The fundamental problem is that it needs to be impossible for me to prove to a vote buyer that I voted one way or another.

    If I can prove to myself my vote was counted a certain way, so too can it be proved to others. And then votes get bought.

    This is a _hard_ problem, and alot of it comes from misunderstanding the nature of it.

    --Dan
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:57AM (#7248001) Homepage
    All evidence at this point stands to up to reason and makes clear the implications for a high level of vote taking, accounting, and tabulation fraud. The evidence presented should be enough to warrant any reasonable governments to bring the processes, in detail, into question and to suspend use of this voting platform until a grand jury can form an opinion and/or verdict on the continued use of these types of voting platforms.

    OK, the above possibly being true, why haven't voters caused an uproar over this potentially corrupt system being used? Simple - apathy. Most citizens are too worried about other things to care about the government. Most people want the government out of their lives and in exchange they will stay away from government functions. This plays right into the hands of those willing to put a system, such as this, into production. What can be done about the citizenry? Very little. A possible route is to find a way into the mass media and announce this fraud to the world. But the world already knows and can't change our system so what is your point already.

    The only way to attack this system and initiate change is to use the power of government against the system. Find a politician that has power and is willing accept reason. Convince him/her to find a way to present charges of vote process fraud, and hope like hell that a committee will suspend the use of the process until a full investigation by independent panels can write an opinion. This will be time-consuming, and the result may not be what is desired, but as I see it, the only way to stop this potential fraud and abuse of the voting system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @09:02AM (#7248017)
    Remember the Pentagon Papers case?

    No matter how these documents were obtained, they are clearly newsworthy. They touch on matters of public interest.

    If the DMCA can be used to prevent the publication and dissemination of these documents, doesn't that suggest that the DMCA violates the 1st Amendment, and thus must be struck as unconstitutional?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2003 @10:04AM (#7248245)
    Just as one might expect from the level of apathy that you've described, the outrage won't start to make itself apparent until people are actually affected by the results. I can't see people getting too worked up over one politician vs. another, because most are scumbags anyway. But, when a referendum passes (or fails) that addresses a very touchy issue (think of something like Colorado's Amendment 2), I'm hoping that heads will roll when voters finally realize that they have no way of validating the results. The results, clear and simple, are what Diebold says they are.

    Personally, I can't think of a better, more efficient way to completely corrupt a political system. And the lack of insistence on Diebold's part that there be some legitimate method of auditing available says to me, that this is company isn't someone that should have anything to do with such a sensitive issue. Maybe they can repurpose, and start designing things that require less attention to detail - like public waste receptacles or something.
  • by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot.rangat@org> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @10:33AM (#7248359) Homepage Journal
    Of course it's possible to digitally sign electronic data, and nobody with a clue about electronic voting would even consider not doing it.

    Why bother? If you don't trust the system that does the signing, or the people who created the key it's signed with, then why bother to sign the data? It just gives a false sense of security.

    Unless the system produces a human readable, physical record of votes that the voter can verify before submitting then the system is open to fraud.
  • Re:Not anonymous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) * <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @11:01AM (#7248462)
    You know, buying votes is less bad than the current approach.

    That says all about the current approach that needs to be said.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @11:33AM (#7248590) Journal
    The reason why jews are able to get away with murder is that each time someone says something againt a jew, he shouts "ANTISEMITE!!!". Well, it won't work here, truncated penis, because I'm not afraid of being labelled an antisemite, 'cause it's bullshit.

    I'm not antisemite, I'm anti asshole.

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