Re: BusinessWeek published my letter to the editor

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sat Jun 17 2006 - 17:01:03 CDT

I look forward to reading your article and Levine's.

Best regards,

At 9:34 AM -0700 6/17/06, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:
>On 6/17/06, Arthur Keller <> wrote:
>> The principle that votes are cast in secret and tallied in public is
>> incompatible with voting systems being protected as trade secrets.
>> Besides paper trails, or even better paper ballots, voting systems
>> should be open to public inspection, including source codes and
>> design specifications. Public scrutiny helps Linux to be secure. It
>> is secrecy that invites errors or fraud.
>Right to the point of Arthur's comments, I've recently read a great
>paper that talks about eliminating trade secrecy in public
>infrastructure... very neat:
>Levine, David S., "Secrecy and Unaccountability: Trade Secrets in Our
>Public Infrastructure". Florida Law Review, Forthcoming Available at
>Secrecy and Unaccountability: Trade Secrets in Our Public Infrastructure
>Stanford University - Center for Internet and Society
>Trade secrecy - the intellectual property doctrine that allows
>businesses to keep commercially valuable information secret for a
>potentially unlimited amount of time - is increasingly intruding in
>the operation of our public infrastructure, like voting machines, the
>Internet and telecommunications. A growing amount of public
>infrastructure is being provided by private entities that are holding
>critical information about their goods and services secret from the
>public. This Article examines this phenomenon, which is largely
>unexplored in legal scholarship, and identifies a significant conflict
>between the values and policies of trade secrecy doctrine and the
>democratic values of accountability and transparency that have
>traditionally been present in public infrastructure projects.
>This Article argues that in this conflict trade secrecy must give way
>to traditional notions of transparency and accountability when it
>comes to the provision of public infrastructure. Although there are
>good reasons for trade secrecy in private commerce, when applied to
>public infrastructure, the basic democratic values of transparency and
>accountability should prevail, especially given that the application
>of trade secrecy doctrine to public infrastructure projects causes
>some unanticipated outcomes, like hiding information that could be
>useful for the public at large and for the improvement of the specific
>infrastructure project at issue. This Article examines the background
>and history of trade secrecy and contrasts its values with those of
>democratic government. It then shows the increasing impact of trade
>secrecy on public infrastructure through three examples. Finally, the
>Article suggests some potential remedies to this sphere of
>increasingly conflicting values.
>OVC-discuss mailing list

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
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Received on Fri Jun 30 23:17:08 2006

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