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Diebold Chases Links To Leaked Memos 595

bllfrnch writes "Mary Hodder, over at The Berkeley School of Journalism's bIPlog, reports that electronic voting bigwig Diebold has begun sending cease-and-desist letters to universities whose students are linking to hijacked internal company memos that elucidate the company's level of respect for citizens' right to vote. Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.""
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Diebold Chases Links To Leaked Memos

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  • Stupid Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pingular ( 670773 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:50AM (#7336514)
    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal
    Of course voting can change things, for example I'm sure the people of Iraq would have loved to vote a new leader when Saddam Hussein was in power, but couldn't. People have died for the right to vote. I think that things like the above quote are very dangerous things to say.
    • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:00AM (#7336539) Journal
      Well its a good thing diebold does not have a potential agenda or anything [].

    • .. their mission seems to be "to boldly die like no e-voting company has died before"
    • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by padukes ( 599707 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:07AM (#7336560)
      Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal."

      It's so annoying how people blow these things out of proportion - dude works for a voting machine company and has a sarcastic signature about voting - it's a joke - lighten up - it's like people are looking for things to whine about and then jumping on anything remotely sensational - [grumbles and moves back under bridge]
      • Absolutely (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mongbot ( 671347 )
        Imagine if somebody based their opinions about Slashdot based upon somebody's signature. It's stupid and hypocritical.

        I think the guy just had a sense of humour. It's a shame to think that he must be getting hell for trying to lighten up his job.
      • Shock Horror Slashdot Headline: Americans still dont understand sarcasm

        I thought this was slashdot, not the onion....
      • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:3, Informative)

        by Asprin ( 545477 )
        Not only that, but if you just Google for the text of the quote -- AND WE SHOULD ALL KNOW HOW TO DO THAT -- it's all over the place. Definitely a sig. Nothing to see here. Move along... move along...
      • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zak3056 ( 69287 )
        It's so annoying how people blow these things out of proportion - dude works for a voting machine company and has a sarcastic signature about voting - it's a joke - lighten up - it's like people are looking for things to whine about and then jumping on anything remotely sensational

        It's even more ridiculous when you consider that it's not even an original quote--he attributes it IN THE DAMN SIG to "Revolution Books, New York, New York"

      • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

        by los furtive ( 232491 ) <ChrisLamothe@gmai l . com> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:27AM (#7336850) Homepage
        I tend to agree, but what if you had a doctor who's signature block said "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" or a politician who's signature block said "Ask yourself what you can do for ME"...the fact is that sarcasm in certain forms, and certain places is innapropriate and it doesn't take a great deal of thought to tell when it is no longer apropriate.

    • Of course voting can change things, for example I'm sure the people of Iraq would have loved to vote a new leader when Saddam Hussein was in power

      No need to put that in the past tense. I'm sure the people of Iraq would still love the chance to vote for their own leader.

    • If course voting can change things, for example I'm sure the people of Iraq would have loved to vote a new leader when Saddam Hussein was in power, but couldn't.

      That's the point though isn't it? Having the right to vote, is what you get after you have won your freedom. Nobody voted Sadaam out of power.

      Women died for the right to vote: is there a significant gender bias in candidate voted for? Usually no; does that mean that women's right to vote is unimportant. Of course not.

      Although if people are sti
    • Voting was illegal in America, until we had a revolution and established the institution of voting. And it is still illegal for billions of people.

      So there is a nugget of truth to the quote, however it is an example of reactionary self-defeatism. It presupposes there will always be an evil authoritarian government to protest, and if anyone actually creates something better, it is just as bad.

      The undercurrent is that voting is uncool, violent revolution is cool. Or just a provocative statement.
    • I fail to see why an old quote from an anarchist is scaring people so much.

      If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. -Emma Goldman (1869 - 1940)

      If people are going to get scared from the sigs people use, this is a scary place indeed.

    • Stop and think about that quote for a moment.

      Voting in Iraq could have changed things. But it was illegal.

      So in fact the quote is entirely correct in that context. It may be cynical, but there's more depth there than some people may realise.
    • Re:Stupid Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Idarubicin ( 579475 )
      ...I'm sure the people of Iraq would have loved to vote a new leader when Saddam Hussein was in power, but couldn't. People have died for the right to vote.

      Absolutely. Thousands of Iraqis have died for the right to vote--because Americans thought they needed it, and were willing to kill them for it.

      Yep, it's a good thing that the United States had democracy forcibly thrust upon it a couple of centuries ago, by an outside power that was mostly interested in access to its natural resources.



  • by maharg ( 182366 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:51AM (#7336515) Homepage Journal
    .. it only encourages them ;o)
  • Shocking? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bunhed ( 208100 )
    Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.""

    only because it's true

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:53AM (#7336520) Journal
    The DMCA is quite clear in its provisions for allowing questionable material to stay up. BlackBoxVoting had no need to roll over in the first place. The simply needed to submit a DMCA counter notice.

    Simply send a counter notice stating that the documents do not breach copyright, and put the website back up. This moves the obligation to Diebold to bring suit!
    • The DMCA is quite clear in its provisions for allowing questionable material to stay up. BlackBoxVoting had no need to roll over in the first place. The simply needed to submit a DMCA counter notice.

      Simply send a counter notice stating that the documents do not breach copyright, and put the website back up. This moves the obligation to Diebold to bring suit!

      Of course it's easy to provide advice on how to bring this issue into the courtroom when you have no reason to worry about the implications of the law

    • by register_ax ( 695577 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:38AM (#7336910) Journal ml#update []

      Day Eight, Oct. 28: Amherst and MIT have received cease-desist letters (copy of MIT cease-desist letter). New mirrors are now up at UNC, Duke, Berkeley, NCSU and U Penn.

      Diebold has publicly admitted that leaked memos do not meet DMCA standards for copyright infringement. In the Associated Press article, a Diebold representative declares:

      ... the fact that the company sent the cease-and-desist letters does not mean the documents are authentic -- or give credence to advocates who claim lax Diebold security could allow hackers to rig machines.

      "We're cautioning anyone from drawing wrong or incomplete conclusions about any of those documents or files purporting to be authentic," Jacobsen said.

      Ernest Miller explains that the DMCA requires that documents be authentic; if the documents aren't authentic, it isn't copyright infringement. Our position is that even if the memos are authentic (which we believe they are, or Diebold would be pursuing a libel campaign), they are not copyright infringment as they are covered under DMCA fair use guidelines .

      Since some of you have been asking, yes, Swarthmore College is still enforcing its policy of cutting off network access to students who link to information about the memos (or the memos themselves). There have been many discussions of this absurd policy -- see, for instance, LawMeme's analysis -- and we appreciate the letters that are being sent to Dean Gross and The Phoenix (e.g. Seth Finkelstein's). We hope that by expanding to other colleges and universities we can broaden the campaign while minimizing the impact of our own institution's refusal to take a stand. (If other educational institutions encounter such policies, this script may be of help.)

  • irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goodbye_kitty ( 692309 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:54AM (#7336523)
    paradoxically it seems to be the case that in places where voting COULD change things it IS illegal, and vice versa.
  • > Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things,
    > it would be illegal."

    This is ridiculous. The guy was using this quote as a signature. Come on!
  • Illegal voteing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basking2 ( 233941 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:56AM (#7336527) Homepage
    Be careful to not overanalyze that "illegal-votine" quote. It appears where a sig normally does (sans the '--'). It could just be cynacism... after all, if I took the quotes at the bottom of the /. main page this seriously I would probably stop reading the page! Good journalism is in part good history and anthropology.
    • Re:Illegal voteing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gatzke ( 2977 )
      Let this be another lesson to everyone that anything not encrypted online could be in public view.

      Email, web pages, newsgroup posts, whatever.

      You may think it is funny now, but others might not get your humor one day when your name pops up in a google cache or email archive.

    • If you've ever wondered why the Green Party never wins, check this [].

      LOL. I used the site search []. You can have fun too looking for words like:

      hide, investigator, coverup, suppress, alter, payoff, cleanup, forge, deny, lie, misinformation, etc.
  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:58AM (#7336535) Homepage Journal
    It would be quite easy to mirror these documents offshore. Of course, thats not the point; the need of the hour is to mirror these document inside the US to press home the point of "civil [] disobedience []".

  • !shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @07:59AM (#7336537) Journal
    Particularly shocking is the line: "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal."

    This line belongs to a .sig, why is this shocking ?
    This is taken out of context.
    • Because it is an employee of the company, and it appears to reflect a position that someone working for such a company should hopefully not have.
      • Re:!shocking (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mikey_boy ( 125590 )
        Because it is an employee of the company, and it appears to reflect a position that someone working for such a company should hopefully not have.

        But it's just a sig!!! If I was working for a company that was building a voting system, I'd probably be inclined to have something sarcastic along those lines in my sig. Frankly I think there are far more worrying things in the diebold case than someone having a (slightly warped?) sense of humour in the company.
  • mirrors (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:00AM (#7336544)
    list of mirrors here []
  • by Debian Troll's Best ( 678194 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:05AM (#7336553) Journal
    I've done a fair bit of contact work for a large Federal Government departments, and one issue which was recurrently faced was that of how to distribute important documents across the whole organization, without the loss of a document server or two bringing down the whole thing. The situation with the leaked Diebold memo reminds me of this situation. And here's how my team and I solved it in our contract work: apt-get.

    Yes, the power of apt-get could be used to form a type of ad-hoc distributed network for the distribution of the Diebold memo, without fear of a single server being shutdown making the document disappear. What we did for the Fed was to create a set of apt.sources files which contained the addresses of a bunch of mirror servers which contained the documents of interest. When a user needed to find a document, they would simply issue an apt-get instyall Document command at their workstation, and apt-get would do the rest.

    It gets better. When a new revision of the document was released, it was a simple task for the user to perform an apt-get upgrade Document, and the latest version was dragged across from what ever server happened to be available from their apt.sources file. We even spent a couple of weeks hacking dselect to launch OpenOffice when necessary to create a kind of crude distributed document management system. The users loved it! It's the UNIX way!

    But anyway, back to the problem at hand. What is needed are a bunch of Debian servers to host the offending Diebold memo which has been leaked, and for people to start adding these to their apt.sources files. That way, Diebold won't be able to shut down any servers, and if they leak new information, it can easily be upgraded with apt-get upgrade Diebold! apt-get just continues to amaze me.

    apt-get free speech!!!

    • As much as that is a fun solution... an easier one would simply be to get it on bittorrent. If it is popular enough it will be available and it will be less likely that those debian servers would be shut down.
    • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:36AM (#7336667)
      Ah how I like to spend my time re-inventing what others have done many times before but in an incompatible manner.

      How to distribute documents across a whole organisation in an available manner? I could install Usenet News servers and have them do it, or I could waste weeks writing wrappers round apt-get, hacking dselect and tie myself directly to Debian, and spend time installing apt on hundreds of machines.

      Or I could just post the document to a newsgroup... DOH!
  • Out of context (Score:2, Informative)

    by ownedbybill ( 716541 )

    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal

    The actual link was to the following text:

    >> Does anyone have the password for the TS Instructions from the ftp site?
    >>If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.
    >>Revolution Books, New York, New York

    It looks more like a joke sig than a corporate statement.

  • Since the outcome of the last presidential elections in the states was kind of irrelevant, why should anyone bother with wether these machines are any good, wether the company that makes them is run by men, machines or marketing-droids?
    If you don't need to score the most votes to become the president, why count them at all?
  • by yo303 ( 558777 )
    Associated Press is finally picking up the story (see here) []

    Diebold Inc. sent "cease and desist" letters after the documents and internal e-mails, allegedly stolen by a hacker, were distributed on the Internet. Recipients of the letters included computer programmers, students at colleges including Swarthmore and at least one Internet provider.

    Heh... and several million /. readers...


  • Diebold (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Majix ( 139279 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:09AM (#7336568) Homepage
    What sort of qualifications does Diebold have to be making voting systems? If I as a customer saw these messages, bug rapports and horror stories, I wouldn't trust them to design a cup holder for my car, let alone for something as critical as a voting system.

    Here's how you build a real voting system.
    - You get the best brains to really think about the problem. Forget the Diebold cubicle workers, you get someone like Rivest and pals to design the system. They solve the problems of audit trails, accountability, how to trust the machine etc.

    - You get a collaboration of the top research institutes and universities to implement the system. Implementation must be done completely in the open. Every party and faction will have a great interest in eyeballing the system, so that no other faction can exploit it. With enough eyes, every bug is shallow.

    - You don't design 52 systems, you design one or two. A well designed system will be used and paid for by virtually all the states. Done right it might cost as much as 30 bad systems, but it'll be worth it.

    - You maintain the system troughout the year, not just 2 months before each election. You reuse improved versions of the system with each election.
    • Re:Diebold (Score:3, Informative)

      by Davak ( 526912 )
      You asked: What sort of qualifications does Diebold have to be making voting systems?

      They are evidently good showmen and salespeople.

      In response to a question about a presentation in El Paso County, Colorado: "For a demonstration I suggest you fake it. Progam them both so they look the same, and then just do the upload fro [sic] the AV. That is what we did in the last AT/AV demo." [source: /msg00098.html ]

      Now, I've been to demostrations... and I've

    • No need to involve working engineers or people who have real world experience implementing similar systems. Right.
    • by JulianOolian ( 683769 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:57AM (#7336735)

      It's what we use here in the UK.

      You go into a little booth with a ballot paper, where you will find a pencil. Mark an X in the box next to the candidate you want, fold up the paper and post it in the ballot box.

      It's more auditable and even if the paper, pencils and boxes are manufactured by a company who make no secret of their support for one particular political party, it's difficult to see how it could make any difference.

      I'm not trolling - if someone could explain, please do.

      • well, here in 'merica, we used to use a similar method where you poke a little hole in a piece of paper and a suprising number of people managed to fuck that up so using anything more complicated than a touch screen with a picture seems to be out of the question. In my district, we use machines that have a little lever. The machines are like 30 years old but they are being replaced because they are too "unreliable". I've asked some of the election workers about them and evidently they work just fine but
      • You are so right. I'm from Austria, and here, voting works basically the same way as in the UK, with paper and pen. What I just can't understand why somebody would want to have some fancy voting machine (be it computer-controlled or not), if such simple technology as a sheet of paper and a pen would do it, too.
        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:24AM (#7337176) Homepage Journal
          I've lived in several communities in the US and have been voting since 1979 and I've never even seen a voting machine. I've always voted on paper forms that were designed to be read by an optical scanner. Other people have never seen anything but punch ballots, or "voting machines" with pull levers that mark ballots for people.

          There is no country wide standard of how voting is conducted.

          People outside the US may not be aware of this, but local governments (cities, counties and states) are extremely important in our system. US states are pretty much exclusively in charge of setting standards on how voting is conducted. For example, while every state has secret ballots, this is only a widely accepted custom; well into the nineteenth century people voted in some places by testifying publicly at the local courthouse. States typically don't have very stringent standardization. Local municipalities or counties (depending on the part of the country) actually conduct the polling and have a great deal of leeway in how they do it.

          Combine this local autonomy with the typically frugal funding of municipal functions compared to what a European would expect, our entrepreurial spirit and our love of technological quick fixes, it's pretty much inevitable that there should be an array of half baked systems out there. The Diebold system in question is only the latest.

          I wonder whether this chaos has a kind of protective effect, at least on the national and statewide level. Think about this: barring a knife edge result like the last presidential election, the only way to rig a statewide or presidential election would require undermining a variety of systems in a variety of places, using a variety of methods. The chancs of avoiding detection decrease hyperbolically in the number of exploits attempted.

          The real danger with electronic voting is that in our post-Florida mania for a technical quick fix, a de facto electronic voting standard will emerge. This has happened in the past, for example in states adopting the secret ballot. However, electronic voting provides a single point of vulnerability, in which a rogue staffer with sufficient skills could conceivably change the composition of the US government. Americans tend to dismiss the possibility of voting manipulation by corporate interests as class warfare paranoia, but think of the opportunity this presents to certain foreign intelligence agencies.

          What we ought to do is something that has never been done in the US: set real standards for polling methods, especially (but not limited to) electronic ones. I think most people here understand what this should include: things like auditabiliy, indepedent security analysis as part of system acceptance, etc. These standards could be implemented by multiple vendors, and for security reasons we would probably want to have at least four or five major players, and set maximums for the percentage of an electorate in a state voting on a particular vendor's machines.
      • The entire process is transparent and more importantly, independant of the government through the agency known as Elections Canada.

        If voting machines were introduced in Canada the same transparency and independance would have to be maintained. Automatic recounts are stipulated by law in close vote situations, that requires an auditable process. The Diebold machines are not auditable and would not conform to the law.

        In all, it would be impossible not to mention insane, to move from a transparent, independa
    • Re:Diebold (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hard_Code ( 49548 )
      "You get the best brains to really think about the problem."

      The best brains have already thought about it, and concluded it cannot currently be done with an acceptible level of fidelity. That is basically the reason the GNU-Free project stopped (yeah, there was a FSF electronic voting project).
  • by Craig Ringer ( 302899 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:11AM (#7336573) Homepage Journal
    By DMCAing people who host or link to these documents, they're implicity confirming their validity. I almost wonder if a "deny everything" policy might've worked better for them:

    "Nope, never seen those before. Guess somebody thinks it's funny to try to discredit a reliable, trustworthy company like us."

    Insead, they've chosen "arrgggh, give those back! You can't show people those - they're secret!". Hmm...
    • The documents are theirs, but they've been altered to increase the number of inflammatory statements, or to remove context.

      I'm sorry, but I've purchased to much herbal viagra to believe everything I read on the Internet...
  • by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:12AM (#7336579)
    I'm sure Diebold is fighting this.

    This is House Resolution 2239 which requires a paper trail and bans the use of non-open software.
    Here's a story about it: link []

  • Who is the most corrupt corporation of them all?

    Ok, I'll take back all the bad things I said about Germans over the whole Iraq thing just for this:

    From this page [] at How to get the files: Note that the location of the documents may change, but this page will always have the current links. In case Diebold takes down this page, bookmark [], a mirror being hosted in Germany of direct links to the memos.

    Now, who wants to take bets as to how big of an election fraud it will t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:16AM (#7336591)
    October 28, 2003

    James Bruce
    Vice President for Information Systems
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Room 10-219
    Cambridge, MA 02139

    Re: Copyright Infringement

    Dear Mr. Bruce:

    We represent Diebold, Incorporated and its wholly owned subsidiaries Diebold Election Systems, Inc., and Diebold Election Systems ULC (collectively "Diebold").

    Diebold is the owner of copyrights in certain correspondence and other material relating to its electronic voting machines, which were stolen from a Diebold computer ("Diebold Property").

    It has recently come to our clients' attention that you appear to be hosting a web site that contains Diebold Property. The web site you are hosting infringes Diebold's copyrights because the Diebold Property was reproduced, placed on public display, and is being distributed from this web site without Diebold's consent.

    The web site and Diebold Property are identified in a chart attached to this letter.

    The purpose of this letter is to advise you of our clients' rights and to seek your agreement to the following: (1) to remove and destroy the Diebold Property contained at the web site identified in the attached chart and (2) to destroy any backup copies of the Diebold Property in your possession or under your control.

    Please confirm, in writing, that you have complied with the above requests.

    To the best of my knowledge and belief the information contained in this notification is accurate as of the time of compilation and, under penalty of perjury, I certify that I am authorized to act on behalf of Diebold.

    Our clients reserve their position insofar as costs and damages caused by infringing activity with respect to the Diebold Property. Our clients also reserve their right to seek injunctive relief to prevent further unauthorized use of Diebold Property, including reproduction, distribution, public display, or the creation of derivative works, pending your response to this letter. We suggest you contact your legal advisors to obtain legal advice as to your position.

    We await your response within 24 hours.

    Very truly yours,

    Ralph E. Jocke


    • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:28AM (#7336856) Homepage
      "Dear James Bruce,

      I will promptly remove this document as soon as you send me an official statement stating it is Diebold copyrighted material"
    • How weird.

      The DMCA *does not* allow the ISP or carrier to destroy the items requested to be removed, just to remove them. They cannot destroy them because if the hosted site counterclaims, then the ISP or carrier must put the items back up.

      Diebold should be more careful in their requests.
    • You know, as skanky as I find this little debacle, it's kind of refreshing to have a company claiming infringement who actually wants you to remove the infringing documents. They're asking you to remove it, and instead of demanding money, they're simply providing clear and simple directions to regain 'compliance' with their 'copyrights'. None of this, "certain of your documents contain offending text, and if you don't pay us lots of money we'll take you to court and tell you which ones."

      I guess I prefer an
  • Shocking?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cally ( 10873 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:23AM (#7336615) Homepage
    Eh? Surely bllfrnch has not mistaken an old cliche ironically used in a sig (presumably by a Diebold employee, though that's not clear) for some sort of official policy statement?

    Whilst I'm posting, my take on this whole thing: I still cannot understand why on earth the US moved away from the pencil-and-paper, put-an-X-in-the-box system used (AFAIK) by the rest of the world (certainly that's how it works here in the UK.) Simple, cheap, robust, reliable, transparent... why complicate a system that's already a model of simplicity and correctness? Can someone explain to me what the problem is that 'voting machines' (of any sort, including the mechanical punched-card type) are trying to solve, exactly?

    I actually worked as a volunteer in a General Election back in 1987 - this included sitting outside the polling station politely asking voters how they voted as they were leaving, aka 'exit polls' done to give the parties an idea of how things are going. Of course people don't have to answer and many didn't. At the count, all the candidates and their agents, pluys local party workers, official observers etc can all stand around watching the ballot boxes coming in, being emptied out, counted & sorted. If there's a close result, the losing candidate has the right (which is often exercised) to call for a recount. Because the bits of paper are all still there it's easy to do this. Organised, mass tampering with ballots is for all practical purposes impossible in this system - there's too much oversight, checks & balances & transparency. Of course, the first-past-the-post electoral system itself sucks, and we should have proportional representation :), but the simple question of how many votes each candidate got is pretty much a solved problem. It's just, y'know, counting, really...

  • This is not a critique on voting... just one on voting systems. Voting is illegal in many countries, perhaps because it could bring unwanted change? Thus it is fair to assume that voting DOES change things. QED.

    So this person's (perhaps random) e-mail fortune sig has much truth to it? (And dual meanings, on which /. has only latched onto one)

    So why is voting legal in the States? Perhaps because people cannot change the really important things?

    When last has voting really had a profound effect? When last have we voted about issues and not FOR parties? A total swing in the political rulers have not had any noticable effect on the country... hence the opinion that there had been no real need to vote.

    More interesting reading HERE [].
  • Gore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Davak ( 526912 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:29AM (#7336642) Homepage
    "I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16022 when it was uploaded. Will someone please explain this so that I have the information to give the auditor instead of standing here "looking dumb"." [source: /msg00068.html ]

    I am not pro-Gore or anti-Gore or Republician or Democrat. But the quote cracks me up...

    No matter if he won or lost, quotes like this now make me understand why he at least wanted a recount.

  • by tehanu ( 682528 )
    There is a lot of talk about Diebold - but what about the people who bought the machines off them? They were all I believe state governments and agencies. I'd say that they have been guilty of gross negligence in the buying process. And even now when the truth is coming out they are still not even holding an inquiry or even publicly demanding answers from Diebold. Surely there must be some laws that can be used to hold the state agencies responsible. I wonder if they could end up being sued by a losing
  • Doesn't this fall under some sort of homeland security thing?

    Such the exposure is the right and duty of real americans?
  • People seem to be taking these links as gospel truth. Do we have any proof that these documents have not been doctored before they were put on the web?

    These quotes are amusing and energizing to be sure, but are they accurate?
    • Well if you read this:
      (originally from The Independent, UK) t oryID =3529556&thesection=news&thesubsection=wor ld

      You won't be surprised by the emails.

      "In July, a group of researchers from the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University discovered what they called "stunning flaws".

      These included putting the password in the source code, a basic security no-no; manipulating the voter smart card function so one person could cast more than one
      • The obvious flaw: (Score:4, Interesting)

        by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr@ticam.u ... edu minus distro> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @12:48PM (#7338646) Homepage
        Each voter after voting would receive a confirmation receipt showing who he voted for (human readable)+ ser no + date etc + nonce + digitally signed (e.g. pgp), with a code for the voter to later verify online who he voted for (the voter not being easily identifiable by the code). ...

        Sure there are probably flaws with this.

        There's one flaw: if you let the voter take a human readable receipt out of the booth, it's no longer a secret ballot, and it becomes possible to bribe, blackmail, or simply pressure someone else into voting the way you want.

        If that was the price we had to pay for untamperable elections, I'd willingly pay it; but it's not. Plain old pen-and-paper voting is untamperable within a couple percentage points, which is good enough for me; I don't care too much if someone gets elected by 24% of the voting age public instead of the usual 25%.

        Even electronic voting can be made untamperable: now that their website's back up (if it goes down again, check Google's cache) I'd like to post Yet Another Plug for []'s white paper on verifiable voting receipts. Basically you give the voter a receipt which:
        • Lets them verify that their vote was recorded correctly inside the booth, but not outside.
        • Lets them verify that their (multiply encrypted) vote was included in the final tally, and lets that vote be published instantly so as to prevent any votes from being lost.
        • Lets them verify (given a trustworthy public random number generator) that the final tally was decrypted correctly.

        Then, as long as nobody is adding votes to the final tally (so yes, we still need honest poll workers to make sure that the number of people walking into booths is the number of votes reported by the computers), the election results will be instantly countable, completely verifiable, and perfectly accurate. The only drawback is that it would require lots of expensive custom printers.

        Granted, I don't expect to ever see this system in use; I suspect public-key encryption may be next to Condorcet voting on the list of "stuff too complicated to explain to the politicians"... but just reading about the possibilities puts all the "why is my broken smart card sending out negative numbers?" incompetence at Diebold in perspective.
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:57AM (#7336736)

    Aren't there some principals/ground rules about how voting should take place? It seems a pretty fundamental thing, after all. I mean something along the lines of "the process should be observable and observed by ordinary members of the general public".

    When I went to vote in some local elections recently (in Europe), you post your vote into a transparent box. The people cross your name off the public electoral role with a pen. There are observers selected from the public at all stages of the process, both at the actual voting and the counting. It would be extremely difficult to rig such an election.

    I like it this way. I can trust that system. Knowing what we do about computers and electronic systems, can we ever really trust an electronic vote? My main criticism is that it is not observable, i.e. you can't have a neutral observer who can say, "yes, that persons vote has definately been counted" because they can't actually observe the process.

    Let's been voting manual.
  • Don't you see? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abe ferlman ( 205607 ) <bgtrio@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @08:58AM (#7336741) Homepage Journal
    This is actually pretty amazing.

    If Diebold is claiming copyright infringement, they are admitting that the memos are real!

    I hope people don't focus so much on the .sig file, even if it does become kind of creepy in this context. Don't be distracted, Diebold is strangling democracy in a bathtub while we stand by and watch.

    • Mod parent up. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:21AM (#7336821)
      If Diebold is claiming copyright infringement, they are admitting that the memos are real!

      I heard a story once about WWII. --It went like this; when the German death camps were discovered by the Allied forces, one high ranking General, rounded up as many people in his command as possible and marched them through the scene, telling them, "Look at this and do not forget it. People are going to try to deny that this has happened."

      You watch. Two years from now, when all the links and documents have been rounded up, there will be people swearing up and down that this Diebold thing is just another loony conspiracy. Just wait. The PR spin will put a rationalized face on it and raise lots of reasonable doubt, etc.

      Newsflash: Conspiracies bloody well exist. Those who swear they do not are chumps who think that watching television documentary 'science' shows makes them smart. And amazingly, many of them can also tell you who Joseph Goebbels was as well! (Cuz they learned about it from a television documentary.)


  • First off, I'd like to thank Wired News [] for linking me a couple of days back regarding this, and Why War? [] for providing a way for me to get at these files.

    Now, then, from a January 2002 memo titled, Nearterm AVTS 4.x roadmap [], discussing the classification of a major update as a bugfix:

    What good are rules unless you can bend them now and again.

    These are just the sort of people I want in charge of the machines that people vote on in my election. No, really. [/sarcasm]

  • by TPFH ( 92944 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:34AM (#7336889) Homepage Journal
    This Modern World comic for 10.28.03

    How do you like my Halloween Costume? []
  • by dotslash ( 12419 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @09:53AM (#7336987) Homepage

    I am a constituent in your district. I am writing to thank you for supporting HR 2339 and to tell you how important this issue is to me. When I saw you had co-sponsored the bill, I was very pleased. I recently moved to this area, and previously had the pleasure of Rep. Nadler of NY as my representative. Your voting record indicates that you are representing us very well.

    HR2239 is very important to me for two reasons:

    As a citizen, I was ashamed of Florida 2000 and found the whole mess reminiscent of a third world country. We are still paying the price of that election with GWB's policies. I fear that next time we won't even know we have had an election stolen.

    As a professional, I have been in the computer security business for over 12 years. I currently lead a global consulting practice specialising in computer security (we are based in NYC). I was very supportive of the analysis conducted by John Hopkins and I was glad to finally see someone discuss this serious issue. In my business I am responsible for securing some of the most sensitive systems such as banks, pharmaceutical R&D etc. I have a lot of experience both in securing and in "testing" systems. In our business we call this "ethical hacking" and we get paid to try to break into systems. I have seen how easy it is to subvert the security of many commercial systems. After reading the Johns Hopkins analysis of the Diebold system I was shocked at the level of risk these systems would introduce. I seriously believe that it is possible not only to compromise them, but to do so en-mass in a way that could subvert an entire presidential election. Even worse, I believe this can be done with subtlety so that it is undetected. This means our very system of democracy is at stake. In a way I wonder whether I should be surprised at the fact that republicans do not worry about this, or whether I should be concerned that they have reasons not to worry.

    Your actions in this matter are admirable and of great importance. You have my support.

  • by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) < .ta. .det.> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @10:41AM (#7337346) Homepage
    get yours today []
  • by Lumin Inverse ( 471513 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @11:18AM (#7337772) Journal
    Hello, I'm the Boston University mirror.

    I expect that BU will receive a DMCA notice in the next day or two, and ask me to remove the memos. Although I would very much like to find this, I simply don't have the resources to get into a legal battle (and it's doubtful BU would stick its neck out for me).

    But that's not even necessary. If I could just find two people willing to put up mirrors once my mirror goes down (I've already found one), than their takedown notice will have the net effect of putting another copy of the memos online. This seems to be the best overall strategy for those who can't fight this legally.

    If a willing mirror could email me, and let me know what the url of your mirror is, I'd really appreciate it.

    chrisn1 [at] bu [dot] edu
  • by praedor ( 218403 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @11:34AM (#7337966) Homepage

    Richard Lugar, and received a long reply letter. It spoke of this support for this and that legislation that lead to, essentially, a push for electronic balloting systems with "easy to read and use interfaces", etc. In the long reply to my original message in support of HR 2239, seeking a companion bill in the senate. HR 2239 calls for an ironclad requirement for a hardcopy printout of one's ballot for two purposes: 1)the voter can check their vote and 2) to supply a hardcopy for secure storage in case of recount: the hardcopies would be used in any recount.

    Lugar's reply made NO mention of hardcopy printouts, ignoring the primary thrust of my letter to him. All he indicated was that he would consider future enhancements to the law as they came along.

    No hardcopy? Then I flat refuse to use the voting machine. I have acquired the necessary absentee ballot request and will be using this for all future elections until a printout is part of the process.

  • by treebeard77 ( 68658 ) * <> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @12:50PM (#7338676)
    Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 21:24:48 -0800 (PST)
    From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall
    Subject: Students receiving cease-desists from Diebold...
    To: Dave Farber , Declan McCullagh

    Hi Dave, Declan,

    We could really use your help publicizing this.

    Myself, along with students from 20 other universities are starting to
    receive cease and desist letters from Diebold Election Systems. A copy
    of the cease-and-desist letter received by MIT is here: _c -d.pdf

    The letters are in response to our coordinated electronic civil
    disobedience effort to keep a compressed file of internal Diebold
    memos alive and force them to do a legal version of "whack a mole."
    We have other students with the files lined up ready to take our place
    as sites are taken down.

    For more on the disobedience effort, See: html

    We need help getting the word out and having other institutions/
    individuals post mirrors to the files. The Berkeley copies will be
    available here (below) until we are forced to take them down or can
    convince our University to fight the cease-and-desist actions on fair
    use grounds. ts .tgz .tgz

    We are within the bounds of fair use as the memos are highly
    newsworthy and seem to implicate illegal activity on behalf of Diebold
    Election Systems. A more extensive legal case is available by reading
    Wendy Seltzer's response to one of the cease-and-desist letters: cg i?NoticeID=912

    If you are a student reading this and can host a mirror, send a link
    and your institution's name to .

    Thanks for your time,

    Joseph Lorenzo Hall
    Graduate Student blog:

    "If voting could really change things, it would be illegal."
    --Excerpt from a Diebold Election Systems internal memo. .html
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @12:53PM (#7338707) Journal
    Here is my mirror, safely beyond the reach of the DMCA:
  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Wednesday October 29, 2003 @01:01PM (#7338790) Journal
    From the writings of Greg Palast []:
    • In 2000, 5 of the 12 directors of Diebold, a leading voting machine manufacturer, made donations totaling $94,750 to predominately Republican politicians;
    • Former Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham (R) and Former State Election Supervisor of California Lou Dedier (R) both have ties to Election Systems and Software (ES&S), one of our nation's leading voting machine manufacturers and tabulators. Sandra Mortham was a lobbyist for ES&S and the Florida Association of Counties during the same time period. The Florida Association of Counties made $300,000 in commissions from the sale of ES&S's voting machines;
    • In Georgia's most recent election, William Wingate, a lobbyist for ES&S, contributed $7,000 to Gov. Roy Barnes (D), $1,000 to Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor (D), and $500 to Secretary of State Cathy Cox (D);
    • Michael McCarthy is the Chairman of the McCarthy Group, of which ES&S is a subsidiary. According to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filings, McCarthy is also the Primary Campaign Treasurer for Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who (according to FEC filings) is also financially tied to the McCarthy Group by substantial investments (valued between one and five million dollars). According to officials at Nebraska's Election Administration, ES&S machines tallied around 85 percent of votes cast in Hagel's 1996 and 2002 senatorial races.

    Occasionally, politicians have used their ties to voting machine companies for fraud and illegal activities:

    • Former Louisiana State Elections Official Jerry Fowler (D), is currently serving five years in prison for charges related to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from voting machine scandals.
    • Bill McCuen (D), former Arkansas Secretary of State, pled guilty to felony charges that he took bribes, evaded taxes, and accepted kickbacks. Part of the case involved Business Records Corp. (now merged with ES&S) for recording corporate and voter registration records.
    Full Story here [].

As Will Rogers would have said, "There is no such things as a free variable."