Re: SB 1376 passes senate...

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Aug 18 2004 - 10:55:02 CDT

On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 08:42:11 -0700, David Jefferson
<> wrote:
> Personally I am not happy at all with SB1376. It continues the theme
> that putting software in "escrow" is some kind of public protection,
> whereas it is just a device to help keep the software secret. Also
> note that the provisions of SB1376 apply only to "ballot tally
> software", which I interpret to mean the back-end system, not to ballot
> capture "firmware" in the DREs, which is the most critical software.

I understand, Dave... but it does increase the access to the software
allowed by the SoS... which means that he can, as a part of getting a
system approved, fund consultants and even red team excercises to do a
better job at testing than the ITAs. So, the software is not *as
secret* as it was before and the SoS seems to have wide latitude with
respect to access. Considering how little we know about the hardware
in most electronic voting systems, I consider this to be a big step.

I would urge you to suggest and even pressure the SoS to order
evaluations of certain software systems (the big 4 vendors first, then
as needed) or as a part of state certification. Those evaluations
should be made public as much as possible (at least an exec. sum.
listing possible vulnerabilities, etc. should be available to the
public... maybe not highly detailed software structures, etc.)

> The Secretary of State should have a full copy of all voting system
> software for any analytical purposes he wishes, at the very least. (Of
> course, in my opinion and yours it should all be public source.)

I think, with SB 1376, he has exactly this.

the relevan part is here (19103(c)):

(c) The Secretary of State shall have reasonable access to the
materials placed in escrow, under the following circumstances:
   (1) In the course of an investigation or prosecution regarding
vote counting equipment or procedures.
   (2) Upon a finding by the Secretary of State that an escrow
facility or escrow company is unable or unwilling to maintain
materials in escrow in compliance with this section.
   (3) In order to fulfill the provisions of this chapter related to
the approval of voting systems.
   (4) In order to verify that the software on a voting system,
voting machine, or vote tabulating device is identical to the
approved version.
   (5) For any other purpose deemed necessary to fulfill the
provisions of this code or Section 12172.5 of the Government Code.

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:15 2004

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