Re: VoteHere

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_pobox_dot_com>
Date: Fri Dec 15 2006 - 14:05:32 CST

Many thanks. -Joe

On 12/15/06, Richard C. Johnson <dick@iwwco.com> wrote:
> Mazeltov! I remember well passing my own qualifying exam in a Ph.D. program
> long ago, and it well deserves celebration!
>
> -- Dick
>
> Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12/13/06, Charlie Strauss wrote:
> > transparent. Indeed the new system seems less transparent, worse
> > usability, and prone to vote selling (with the use of a cell phone
> > camera one could sell one's vote by snapping a photo of the on-screen
> > correspondence table.)
>
> I'd like to add a few points to this discussion.
>
> I fall in between the dominant strains of conversation on this thread:
> I believe that ideas from open-audit and cryptographic systems are an
> important frontier in voting systems research, but I remain
> unconvinced that the level of understanding of these systems has yet
> been brought down to the smart high-school student level and that
> we're leaving a major constituency, election officials, out of the
> discussion that also need to be able to understand how these systems
> work at a basic level (they're having a rough time with integrating
> digital technologies, let alone clever voting protocols). Here are a
> few points
>
> 1. My thesis, which I passed my qualifying exam for last week (yay!),
> involves policy mechanisms to embed transparency back into our
> election system. However, I urge you all to be more specific when you
> use the word "transparency". I've looked at a lot of literature and
> when people talk about the need for transparency in elections systems
> they generally mean one of four things:
>
> * Access: How much can people know about the system?
> * Oversight: How much can people supervise the system?
> * Accountability: What mechanisms exist so that good deeds can be
> rewarded and anomalies penalized?
> * Comprehension: To what degree can voters understand the system?
>
> Note that all of these apply to people, processes and machines
> (for example, when we talk about accountability of processes and
> machines, we usually talk about auditability). Access is the basic
> prerequisite for facilitating the rest of these things. Also note
> that social science literature tends to conceptualize trust as been
> related to risk and uncertainty. I see increasing transparency (the
> means) along these dimensions as being fundamentally about reducing
> the uncertainty (the end) that voters have in the system (be it
> perceived or actual). (When election officials lament a reduction in
> voter confidence, what they are really talking about is an increase in
> uncertainty.)
>
> 2. There is emerging research from the crypto-voting community that
> aims to solve some parts of Charlie's criticisms. That is, most
> crypto-methods now have computational privacy, where the secrecy of
> the ballot can be compromised by an adversary with unbounded
> computational ability. However, there are a few researchers working
> on information-theoretic privacy, where a similar adversary (with
> unbounded computational ability) doesn't ever learn anything about
> individual votes other than what is revealed by the tally. See: Tal
> Moran and Moni Naor, "Receipt-Free Universally-Verifiable Voting With
> Everlasting Privacy", CRYPTO 06, available at:
> http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~talm/papers/MN06-voting.pdf
> .
>
> 3. Charlie brought up the camera-phone problem. Charlie, is there a
> system that doesn't suffer from a camera-phone attack? How confident
> would a vote-buyer or vote-seller have to be for this to serve as
> proof of a vote cast? This is similar to the ["analog hole"] problem
> in DRM/TPM research: if the voter gets to see their ballot, they'll
> always have ways of recording it.
>
> ["analog hole"]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_hole
>
> best, Joe
>
> --
> Joseph Lorenzo Hall
> PhD Student, UC Berkeley, School of Information
>
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>

-- 
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
PhD Student, UC Berkeley, School of Information
<http://josephhall.org/>
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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:15 2006

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