HR 811 -- undisclosed software prohibited

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Tue Feb 06 2007 - 22:51:49 CST

1 "(9) PROHIBITION OF USE OF UNDISCLOSED
2 SOFTWARE IN VOTING SYSTEMS.-No voting system
3 used in an election for Federal office shall at any
4 time contain or use any software not certified by the
5 State for use in the election or any software undis-
6 closed to the State in the certification process. The
7 appropriate election official shall disclose, in elec-
8 tronic form, the source code, object code, and exe-
9 cutable representation of the voting system software
10 and firmware to the Commission, including ballot
11 programming files, and the Commission shall make
12 that source code, object code, executable representa-
13 tion, and ballot programming files available for in-
14 spection promptly upon request to any person.

This paragraph is breathtaking. This reminds me of one of those cartoon
drawings where you are supposed to find the 10 things that are wrong in the
picture.

Is there a hidden agenda here?

It appears to me that, if passed as written, we'd have to have a separate
voting system for federal elections. This must have been written by someone
hell-bent on having only hand marked hand counted paper ballots for federal
offices.

So, how do you meet accessibility requirements with this? You don't.

There is no exemption for COTS components! This means that a vendor can't
use these components unless, somehow, the maker of the COTS component agrees
to disclose their code.

There is no way to there from here. Ultimately, we want both hardware and
software in the voting system to be entirely nonproprietary. The way this
is written, it's like we wave our hands and it just happens.

Our soon-to-be-introduced Assembly bill (Krekorian) gives a huge incentive
to makers of systems based on truly open source software. The CA Secretary
of State will be able to forego federal certification for open source
systems (the state will set up a special certification process for these
applicants). This removes a large barrier to entry for these types of
technologies. Our bill makes sense in this regard. HR 811 makes no sense.

Consistent with the EAC empire building goals apparent in HR 811, you have
to go to the EAC get the software. What chance is there that the EAC could
have copies of all the components from all the vendors accurate and
up-to-date ready for you to download? Never mind. The whole thing is
make-believe anyway.

Oops! Nothing here about hardware. Let's build some vote rigging hardware
and give them all the neat software they want.

Thanks, Holt, for the funny language. What a riot!

Alan D.

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:08 2007

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