Re: Respose to Joe Hall: Transparency and Access to Source Code in Electronic Voting

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sun Jul 30 2006 - 13:46:50 CDT

At 9:59 AM -0700 7/30/06, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:
>On 7/29/06, Arthur Keller <voting@kellers.org> wrote:
> >
> > I think that if any vendor that refuses to release its code at all
>> should not be in the market for selling voting equipment. Delaying
>> public release of the software is acceptable only with the agreement
>> to replace that software with publicly disclosable software, and then
>> full disclosure once it is replaced. Refusing ever to disclose
>> software begs the question of what is there to hide. Eventual full
>> disclosure is needed to confirm or refute the conspiracy theorists.
>> Eventual full disclosure is will make evident the benefit gained, if
>> any, in replacing the previously trade secret voting systems with
>> open source voting systems.
>
>Think about it from the other side, for a second.
>
>These codebases were not developed with the intention of eventual
>disclosure. A vendor and their representation might find it very if
>not exceedingly difficult to convince themselves that they know the
>full liability that might be encompassed by releasing their source
>code. There could be external patent trolls who see that a vendor has
>been using a patented algorithm without a license for years. There
>could be internal developers that have copied and pasted from other
>codebases into their code. There could be a whole slew of things,
>some rather benign and some quite bad, and there is an almost zero
>chance that they would have the resources to be able to convince
>themselves that they fully understand the liability associated with
>disclosing aging codebases.
>
>So, while some of a possible reluctance to disclose could very well be
>"they have something to hide" I would guess there is an equal if not
>greater amount of "they don't really know what they have and figuring
>it out is prohibitive". -Joe

Assuming the "disclose or replacement and cooperate" requirement, I
would be willing to have the disclosure after replacement be the
gradual process that starts at the commitment to replace and
cooperate, along the lines of what Doug said. However, the
disclosure option should result in immediate and full disclosure,
because there is no commitment to replace with disclosable software,
firmware, etc.

Best regards,
Arthur

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Received on Mon Jul 31 23:17:09 2006

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