[OVC-discuss] Dechert's Feb 8 Testimony at Secretary of State's Hearing

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Mar 22 2010 - 11:15:28 CDT

A few of you were at this hearing. A full transcript can be found at the
Secretary of State's web site.


I did not submit written testimony at the time because I wanted to hear
what was said and respond to that. I have now submitted my comments in
writing (copy attached). Posted to the web here,


Also, consider this interesting passage I took from the transcript:

 2 MR. FINLEY: On the COTS issue, COTS is defined
 3 for our purposes here as commercial readily available
 4 hardware or software products. For example, operating
 5 systems or printers. And the issue is that the problem
 6 has emerged because various COTS components tend to have
 7 very short life expectancies. And the example given here
 8 is that by the time the EAC had completed the testing of
 9 ES&S's Unity 3.2 voting system, every single one of the
10 Dell PC computers that was part of that system was no
11 longer being made by Dell.
12 --o0o--
13 MR. FINLEY: The EAC naturally is concerned that
14 if this is the case with the Dell computers and with other
15 components, the benefit of their certification program may
16 be called into question because jurisdictions literally
17 cannot comply. They can't buy something that literally
18 complies with the tested system.
19 That jurisdictions can purchase COTS, PCs, or
20 other components that appear to be or are represented as
21 being equivalent and identical will find unexpected
22 compatibility issues when they actually attempt to put
23 those into use.
24 So to address these problems, the EAC is looking
25 to systems that the Department of Defense is attempting to

1 develop to deal with similar problems.
2 One is just keeping track of what is going on in
3 the COTS marketplace so that they have a good sense in
4 advance of when they're going to face these problems.
5 Another is to determine how long COTS products
6 that are in the field may last, how maintainable they are.
7 Developing relationships with the COTS
8 manufacturers in order to learn their product development
9 life cycles so that planning can be made for future
10 upgrades.
11 And, finally, working with manufacturers to see
12 if for purposes of voting systems use they may be willing
13 to adopt some design freezes and continue to make models
14 that had been certified for at least three to five years.

--Alan D.

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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:02 2010

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