Re: A brief introduction and some questions. Follow up.

From: David Jefferson <d_jefferson_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Wed May 05 2004 - 12:58:21 CDT

I love Doug's example of the GUI change inadvertantly leaking
information from one voter to the next. It occurs to me that
there is a generalization here that might be worth pondering,
not so much for OVC as for all voting systems.

"Personal" operating systems, e.g. OS's that assume that one
person will be using the system for extended periods of time,
evolve in such a way as to remember a lot of usage history and
try remind, suggest, teach, guide, or anticipate the user over
time in order to relieve the user of cognitive loads and shorten
learning curves.

It seems to me, however, that a "personalized" GUI does not make
sense for voting applications. The voting machine is not used
by one user for extended periods, but by many users each for a
short period. Furthermore, those users' contexts have to be
rigidly isolated from one another.

This means that starting with something like WindowsCE, as
Diebold does, is asking for trouble of the kind that Doug's
example brings up. Using the Linux GUIs would have the same
problem, albeit less severely.

The lesson, I think, is that the GUI for a voting system should
be specifically designed for voting, and not derived from the
codebase of a GUI for any "personal" computer.


--- "Douglas W. Jones" <> wrote:
> On May 5, 2004, at 11:30 AM, Edward Cherlin wrote:
> > Let's talk about using Linux computers rather than Windows.
> I'm
> > working separately from this project on convincing
> governments
> > to switch to Free Software, for financial, security, and
> other
> > reasons.
> The change to Linux has no effect on this particular argument.
> The subject was what everyone thought was an insignificant
> GUI enhancement to the radio-button widget that ended up
> destroying ballot secrecy. The same misadventure could have
> happened with an upgrade to one of the X libraries that are
> distributed with Linux.
> Doug Jones
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:17 2004

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