Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Threat of Electronic Voting

Velvet Revolution Interviews Stephen Spoonamore: segment 1, segment 2, segment 3, segment 4, segment 5, segment 6, segment 7, segment 8.

The problems with electronic voting are complex, and if you're even a tiny bit computer-phobic (like John McCain), you might be intimidated by discussions about computer memory, IP addresses, and encryption. But in segment 2, Stephen Spoonamore, one of the world's leading experts in cyber crime, gives us this metaphor:
Here's my finger, and if I were to write on a ballot, that ballot is now a permanent document. What is happening now is when you touch that screen, that screen has circuitry inside it and the circuitry inside talks to a datafield. That datafield below it is basically like you walking up and opening a curtain and there's a little man who says, "hello, what's your vote?" And you say "well I'd like to vote for this person," and he says "thank you," and then he closes the screen and goes to a different screen and tells someone else. That next layer is the operating system. Now you don't really know what the screen is telling the operating system because you can't see it, so unlike a vote that you marked, the screen now takes that information and passes it to a fieldset of the operating system. Who knows who wrote the operating system? Diebold won't tell us.
In another interesting segment, Spoonamore says that he believes that Kerry won in 2004, not Bush... and Spoonamore is a Republican. If you care about the election, if you care about democracy, you'll watch those 8 video segments.

On a related note, do you realize that in the U.S. there is no Constitutional guarantee to the right to vote? I think it's time for an amendment. But what a radical idea that is. Amending our Constitution to affirm basic rights? Our current government only passes legislation to take away rights and freedoms.

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