2004-09-22 11:05 am (UTC)
But its a turnkey solution which lowers the TCO and help improve your revenue stream! Thats all these people who make big decisions understand.. Its really really sad..
And even better, they can dispense $20 bills when you vote correctly. Everybody would want to use one to vote ;)
Easy: Show me a good solution that OSS has developed.
I'm a strong supporter of open source. But, Diebold didn't require a grant from the government to start, they had a sorta-solution in place. Plus, they have a network of ATMs, which means they "know". (Don't get me started on the security issues of their ATMs!)
If a group of OSS developers:
a) Delivered a system that could provide secure voting kiosks
b) Delivered a vote tally system, secured from the internet, that gathered data from the kiosks.
c) Deployed a secure communication network to bind them.
d) Had one ring to rule them all
e) Had someone to lobby the government to look at the crap
Then, we'd see something. For now, we have the lowest bidder with present technology.
2004-09-22 11:30 am (UTC)
What they delivered is
(a) a system running on Windows, a big no-no for a good secure solution
(b) using Access as its engine. A much bigger no-no, as it is a product for small groups (5-6) and is said to have issues when overloaded, i.e. starts making mistakes and crashes.
This is outright moronic and in itself testifies to the level of engineering.
(v) Even bigger no-no is the insecure programming (the use of 3 tables and flags, the "secret code" of the article)
(g) All and everything running on the central system runs as admin (!!), i.e. anyone with access to the central aggregator machine, whoever that may be (operators, admins, officials) can have TOTAL CONTROL of the system.
(wrote from memory. The full report by Harris is floating around on the Net. Suggest you read it)
Now, I'm not saying Diebold's solution is good, or stable, or right. I'm saying that in the eyes of the government, it's all the same.
I'll try not to tie in the conspiracy theory involving the CEO's ties with the Republican Party.
But, it is what it is.
There is just so much to be angry/disapointed about with our government these days. Its hard to keep up.
Sadly the masses, including our government, are just plain ignorant when it comes to technology. If you inform people there are alternatives to windows...some people might say "ewww mac" but most will say "huh? there are?"
While all of us can so clearly beat our heads against the wall screaming that open source is the ONLY solution for this...We have well respected corporations like Microsoft spreading FUD regarding open source. Also, I think the whole concept of open source confuses people. Many people want to know what our motivation is and why we'd give something away. How can you convince jaded people that open source authors really just want good software to benefit everyone and be free?
I guess we need to figure out how to bridge between the geek within and buisness-speak if OSS is to have a shot.
Call it conspiracy if you want, but when the CEO of Diebold is one of Bush's biggest campaigners, I can't help but draw some conclusions as to why a government in power might want to adopt a poorly secured, error prone, and easily manipulated voting system. Its just too obvious, especially from an administration that has already demonstrated its not afraid to muck with the electoral process already.
2004-09-22 01:45 pm (UTC)
I don't think anybody in politics should be able to own stock in any of these voting companies, nor do I think anybody in the voting companies should be allowed to donate money to or endorse any party or candidate.
Major conflicts of interest there. It seems like laws should already exist for this class of problem.
It seems like laws should already exist for this class of problem.
Yeah, i'm sure we could use the laws that prevent government officials from running defense contractors, or that keep former lobbyists from taking positions within government.
Err, wait, we're fucked.
I suppose it goes back to "You can't legislate morality." I like to think that one could legislate ethical conduct for government officials, but one apparently cannot. Depressing, but true. I think a decent first-pass partial solution (read: quick kludge) is to make government employees lower than citizens somehow, to reinforce the view that they are there to serve us, not vice-versa. Unfortunately, this is simply evil, unamerican, and will never get passed into law by those who see themselves as above their fellow citizens.
"In his own mind, he who writes or enforces the law is himself above that law."
Well, they don't care for the same reason that Karl Rove doesn't care:
Because they want Bush to win. And if you don't, you're a terrorist.
2004-09-22 04:02 pm (UTC)
2004-09-22 04:09 pm (UTC)
Smells like grated cheese!
Don't confuse the interests of People In Charge to the interests of the democracy.
That's a crazy story. Cluelessness all over the place.
2004-09-23 04:37 am (UTC)
Brazil and electronic vote
Look for our electronic vote mode here in Brazil. It's a miracle how it works, considering that all adults must (not should) vote, including old people that can't even think about a computer.