Re: Barcode Redux

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 16:45:10 CDT

-----Original Message-----
From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>

>> OCR con:
>> Hideous design issue concerning paper jams( and fatal to project if
>> not resolved)

>This one is a barcode "con" also though. The BVA probably won't use a
sheet feeder.

No not quite the same. A bar code scanner has much looser tolerances to sheet feeding since their is no image plane or strict orientation requirements. bar codes can be read standoff. Moreover for those bar codes read by contact scanners (like pen scanners) the hardware is unbelievaby robust with very few moving parts. for example a conventional pen scanner can be built out of a wear resistant saphire ball an led and a photo diode all cast in plastic. bar codes are designed to be tolerant of misprinting as well.

>> potential for stenography is high yet we may not care
>> No, but if the only machine that reads ballots is a bar code reader,
>> the reality of accessing things embedded in the text portion is
>> essential nil.

>Well... read by whom?

>Suppose the main ballot hides something malicious, but the barcode is
>copasetic. But the planted pollworker spy who handles the
>ballot will have an opportunity to compile a blacklist of the people
>who didn't vote as commanded/purchased

To be effective The poll worker is still going to have to have unrestricted access to the ballots and a machine do decipher the it. As long as there is no such machine (e.g. an OCR reader) around no one is going to be sneaking one in. at some point other attacks, like the touchscreen machine simply recording the same info covertly, become more plausible.

By the way As long as were talking as freinds here I'll toss a truly way-out idea onto the stack. RFID tags! a new technology developed recently will allow printing of RFID tags. the cost is expected to be pennies per tag (requires special inks) Other technology also developed recently should allow an entire box of goods (e.g. stack of ballots) to have all their RFID tags read through the box walls. this will be relatively cheap equipment ruggediazed for portable warehouse usage by unskilled workers.

I think any worries about people covertly scanning your ballot can be eliminated with tinfoil privacy folders and simple $20 RF detectors.

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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:06 2004

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