Re: A Diebold network connection Question

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Wed Aug 17 2005 - 23:45:48 CDT

Charlie Strauss wrote:

> There are four problem worth separating.
> ...
> 4) It's not transparent and thus should not be used.
> How do I know it is off during election day? (diebold allegedly left
> there's on during election day in CA). I mean how do I, joe voter,
> really know. It's not enough that the elderly precint judges are
> satisfied. How do I witness the transfer. How do I know the tunnel
> is securely encrypted. How do I know what goes on at the City hall
> side. How does city hall know what goes on on the precint side.

This problem affects essentially every step involved in
computer-assisted voting. The general public has no way to know what the
machines are doing, and even those well-versed in the art cannot tell
what's happening without having levels of access never granted by actual
elections officials. Neff-Chaum attempts to solve this problem by
allowing the voter to determine whether her vote was included in the
data used for the final tally (though not necessarily in the tally
itself). Whether it technically solves this problem (I suspect it does
not), it creates transparency in one area while destroying it in
another: the cryptography is opaque even to many software engineers, and
so, of course, it is utterly beyond the general public.

I don't see any way around computer-assisted voting's "we must trust the
experts" requirement. I am now leaning toward tilting at the
precinct-based hand-counted paper ballots windmill. That approach can,
at least theoretically, be made transparent enough to effectively be
supervised by a person of average intelligence. And, frankly, I think
that's a critical goal. I suspect that Jefferson and Madison would be
foursquare against any voting system that ordinary citizens cannot
effectively supervise, and that even Hamilton would have misgivings
about it.


> On Aug 17, 2005, at 10:34 AM, Kathy Dopp wrote:
>> A Question from Scott in MS
>> (this may also apply in UT)
>> The following is a term of the Diebold contract with
>> the state of Mississippi. It is taken verbatim. This
>> looks like an internet connection between Diebold and
>> our (Mississippi's) election equipment and software.
>> Please give your feedback on this:
>> Contractor [Diebold] and MSOS [Mississippi Secretary
>> of State] understand and agree that the State of
>> Mississippi's Enterprise Security Policy mandates that
>> all remote access to and/or from the State network
>> must be accomplished via a Virtual Private Network
>> (VPN.) If the parties agree that remote access is
>> required at any time during the life of this
>> Agreement, Diebold and MSOS agree to
>> implement/maintain a VPN for this connectivity. This
>> required VPN must be IPSec-capable (ESP tunnel mode)
>> and will terminate on a Cisco VPN-capable device (i.e.
>> VPN concentrator, PIX firewall, etc.) on the State's
>> premises. Diebold agrees that it must, at its own
>> expense, implement/maintain a compatible
>> hardware/software solution to terminate the specified
>> VPN on Diebold's premises.
>> The parties further understand and agree that the
>> State protocol standard and architecture are based on
>> industry-standard security protocols and manufacturer
>> engaged at the time of contract execution. The State
>> reserves the right to introduce a new protocol and
>> architecture standard and require Diebold to comply
>> with same, in the event the industry introduces a more
>> secure, robust protocol to replace IPSec/ESP and/or
>> there is a change in the manufacturer engaged.
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Received on Wed Aug 31 23:17:27 2005

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