Re: Shamos Rebuttal, Draft 3

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Wed May 11 2005 - 14:47:21 CDT

TIME OUT! I would humbly suggest that you two put
this discussion on hold for 24 hours from 1830 GMT 11,
May 2005.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy
--- Edward Cherlin <cherlin@pacbell.net> wrote:

> I don't understand your attitude to what I write.
> You read far
> too much into a few words, as though you have made
> up your mind
> what I think, and everything I say must be
> interpreted according
> to your preconception. Note I said, "as though". I
> didn't accuse
> you. I would like an explanation, though, and
> perhaps a mild
> apology over the misunderstanding, such as we have
> both given in
> earlier messages. Or you can forget about that and
> just come to
> the point. There are places here where you ignore
> the actual
> question and focus on something irrelevant like
> "dragon-fire".
>
> On Tuesday 10 May 2005 16:06, Ron Crane wrote:
> > On May 10, 2005, at 3:14 PM, Edward Cherlin wrote:
> > > On Tuesday 10 May 2005 13:23, Ron Crane wrote:
> > >> On May 10, 2005, at 11:59 AM, Edward Cherlin
> wrote:
> > >>> On Sunday 08 May 2005 18:13, Ron Crane wrote:
> > >>>> On May 8, 2005, at 2:11 PM, Edward Cherlin
> wrote:
>
> Whew!
>
> > >>>>> It is proverbial in the computer business
> (unlike
> > >>>>> politics) that incompetence is to be
> suspected before
> > >>>>> malice...
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> So we should not focus only on the malicious
> vendor. The
> > >>>>> known incompetent vendors together with the
> known
> > >>>>> malicious/corrupt politicians with the money
> to hire
> > >>>>> corrupt programmers and other technical
> people are here.
> > >>
> > >> Incompetence has been a huge problem. However,
> I think
> > >> you're treating some events as evidence of
> incompetence
> > >> when they could just as well have been evidence
> of fraud.
>
> Not in the least.
>
> > > "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but
> three times
> > > is enemy action."--Gen. George Patton
>
> We are way past three times, and we have to take
> malice
> seriously. But we have to deal with incompetence
> *first* because
> there is so much of it, and because it is amply
> proven and
> generally not in dispute, and because Shamos
> dismisses it as a
> problem so he can set up his vendor fraud strawmen
> and pretend
> to knock them down. And *that* is the problem. We
> can't let him
> get away with that, regardless of whether it is an
> error on his
> part, or malice (which you say you don't believe).
>
> > > No, I don't make such a judgment. It would not
> surprise me
> > > in the least to see it proved that a vendor
> committed
> > > election fraud, and I would be delighted for the
> evidence to
> > > come out, if so. The point at issue is whether
> we should
> > > emphasize fraud alone, or point out that Shamos
> is guilty of
> > > overlooking incompetence, and hit the vendors
> hard on it.
> > > Even though he mentions errors, he does not
> follow up on the
> > > point, and this is the greatest failing of his
> paper.
> >
> > I disagree. His biggest failing is trusting
> vendors, and his
> > second biggest failing is trusting himself to be
> capable of
> > identifying all the ways in which vendors might
> cheat.
>
> Well, I don't care what number you rate it. Is it a
> failing at
> all in your view? Does it not confuse the issue?
> Does it not
> distract the public from real and present danger?
>
> > >> Looking through
> > >>
> http://www.votersunite.org/info/messupsbyvendor.asp
> shows
> > >> many instances of lost votes, switched votes,
> inability to
> > >> cast votes for certain candidates, etc. Your
> "Occam's
> > >> Election Razor" would attribute all of these to
> > >> incompetence.
> > >
> > > I made no such statement. I said incompetence
> before malice,
> > > not to the exclusion of malice.
>
> Where is your reply to the point I am making?
>
> > > You have had trouble reading
> > > other statements of mine accurately. Please be
> careful.
> >
> > Thanks for the dragon-fire. I don't smoke, though.
>
> This is what you call dragon-fire? I could show you
> dragon-fire,
> compared to which you would call this snorkelling in
> a peaceful
> lagoon. I cited a fact. Perhaps it will turn out not
> to be the
> relevant fact, but it wasn't meant as an insult or a
> putdown.
>
> OK, I accept that you read my statement and that you
> think you
> know what it means, and that you object to it. That
> isn't what I
> meant, however. I think we should work on
> understanding before
> we attempt argument or refutation. And we should
> unquestionably
> lower the temperature. Where to start, though?
>
> > Again I disagree. I think "incompetence before
> malice" is an
> > inappropriate guide to understanding the issues.
> It basically
> > adopts Shamos's approach of requiring critics to
> prove that
> > e-voting systems are insecure, rather than the
> appropriate
> > heuristic of requiring their advocates to prove
> that they are.
>
> There you go again. Absolutely not. It says to
> consider the
> possibility of incompetence, which has been proven
> many, many
> times, **before** turning to the possibility of
> malice--unless,
> of course, you have the goods on them, the smoking
> gun, the
> internal e-mail about planning to steal some
> election. But one
> should always continue on to the possibility of
> malice. At no
> point did I say or imply that the public should
> blindly assume
> incompetence, or that the public has to prove
> malice, rather
> than the vendors proving that their code is both
> competent and
> non-malicious.
>
> The operative word in my statement is "before". You
> write as
> though you don't know what that means--No, I guess
> you write as
> though you do know what it means, but you just
> skipped right
> over it. Pay attention, Ron. I mean it. As a
> recovering
> mathematician, I still try to write with
> mathematical precision
> when making a logical argument.
>
> > I do not oppose mentioning error. In fact, I
> mention a variety
> > of cases that might be error -- or might be fraud
> -- in
> > s.3.2.1, next-to-the-last paragraph. But I
> disagree that error
> > should be the paper's focus.
>
> And again. I did not ask you to make error the focus
> of the
> paper. I want at most a paragraph taking Shamos to
> task for
> misdirecting the reader's attention away from error,
> as though
> malice were the only issue.
>
> > Error largely could be remedied
> > by better in-vendor review processes and better
> testing,
>
> You can't test quality into a product. Only public
> design and
> review has a chance of creating safe election
> software.
>
> > making an open system like OVC's unnecessary.
>
> All right, buddy, that's it. This dragon is loaded,
> and I know
> how to use it. ^_^
>
> If you believe that OVC is not necessary, what are
> you doing
> here?
>
> > It's potential
> > fraud (and issues of transparency that are, at
> base, largely
> > worries about fraud) that motivate open systems,
> not so much
> > error.
>
> o The original motivation for Free Software,
> including Open
> Source, is the prevention of limitations imposed by
> vendors of
> proprietary software.
>
> o Security errors in Microsoft products are one of
> the main
> continuing motivations for the development and
> adoption of
> Free/Open Source Software, most notably the Apache
> Web Server,
> and various mail and browser clients. Although
> plenty of people
> think Microsoft is the Evil Empire, I don't know
> anybody who
> thinks that they put these security holes in on
> purpose.
>
> o OVC is concerned about any lack of transparency
> that could
> cause voters to mistrust elections, and any kind of
> error that
> could compromise election integrity, not just fraud.
>
>
> On the other hand, it is possible that you didn't
> mean what you
> wrote the way I read it.
>
> > >> I don't
> > >> think that's a valid assumption, since it
> shortchanges the
> > >> strong motivation to engage in fraud.
>
> Not so.
>
> > >> I basically disagree
> > >> that the Razor is, itself, justified.
>
> It isn't a Razor. It says incompetence **before**
> malice, not
> **instead of**.
>
> > >> And its use makes it
> > >> more difficult to address vendor fraud.
> > >
> > > No. The law requires consideration of intent in
> criminal
> > > cases. The question must always be addressed.
> >
> > "Criminal cases"? I don't see what this has to do
> with the
> > paper.
>
> <incredulity>You don't see what "criminal cases" has
> to do with
> vendor fraud? ROTFLOL</incredulity>
> > ...
>
> > > I am not calling for much more than we have
> already written.
> > > We can refer to the specific studies of vendor
> error
> > > published elsewhere. We must call attention to
> them, and use
> > > them to discredit Shamos further by pointing out
> that he is
> > > misleading the public more by leaving that topic
> out than by
> > > any of his overt errors. We don't have to
> incorporate the
> > > other material wholesale.
> >
> > Write something, then.
>
> I did, and you objected to it. Put it back in, and
> let's have
> done with all this.
>
> > And please include references. I have
> > incorporated some of your other material, but do
> not have time
> > to research stuff where you say "[ref]".
>
> Ooh, look, dragon-fire!!
>
> > Please also answer my
> > emails in which I asked for a specific reference.
>
> Done, as I said I would beforehand. This hostility
> has no place
> in this discussion.
>
> > > [snip]
> > > Please edit your posts to avoid unnecessary
> verbiage.
> >
> > You too.
>
> I don't mind your arguments at all, but this
> gratuitous snittage
> crosses the line. I quote what I am answering. You
> left a huge
> previous post on the end of yours. Apologize.
>
> > -R
>
> --
> Edward Cherlin
> Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy
> and more
> "A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
> --Alice in Wonderland
> http://cherlin.blogspot.com
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>

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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:34 2005

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