Re: Is Open Source Enough?

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Sep 03 2007 - 22:16:39 CDT

Remember the "Ain't I a Woman" speech of Sojourner Truth?
Below is a copy, in case you don't recall it.
It came to my mind as I read your discussion of members of the public
inspecting software.
I thought, ain't I a member of the public? But I don't want to inspect
software to figure out if elections are honest and properly conducted.
Elections are about votes and ballots, and I want to observe my own
votes on my own hand-marked ballot, and observe the handling of the
ballots once they are cast.
Instead of spending the rest of my life reading 50,000 lines of bad
code, which is what it would take me, I would rather spend one or two
days per election watching the ballots and vote-counting with my neighbors.

Teresa Hommel

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something
out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the
women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a
fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages,
and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody
ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best
place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed
and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And
ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I
could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have
borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when
I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I
a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it?
[member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that
got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold
but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me
have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much
rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come
from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had
nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world
upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it
back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it,
the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing
more to say.

Arthur Keller wrote:

>I've been thinking about the role of open source in electronic voting
>systems. Here are some sketchy thoughts I'd like to share.
>1. One of the crucial reasons for open source in voting systems is
>the ability for the public to inspect the machinery of voting
>systems. This concept is related to sunshine laws, public records
>acts, or the Freedom of Information Act. However, "published" source
>is sufficient for many of these purposes.
>2. One key side benefit of published source is that systems
>*designed* to be open are designed with better inherent security than
>systems designed to be trade secrets.
>3. While it would be useful for anyone to be able to publicly inspect
>voting system software, there are valid objections to publicly
>releasing software not designed to be published while it is in active
>use for public elections. If the currently trade-secret voting
>system software is replaced (by open source, published source, or
>even new trade-secret software), then security reasons to keep such
>software secret not longer applies, and the software should then be
>disclosed for public analysis. However, because of various patches
>and versions, it is still possible that some version may have
>contained a Trojan Horse, and not be able to detect that from the
>version being disclosed.
>4. If we are to go through the trouble of replacing old electronic
>voting systems with new electronic voting systems run on open source,
>unless the new systems are designed to be secure based on a threat
>analysis model, the new systems may still have security
>5. I would like to see ACCURATE develop threat analysis models in
>conjunction with a new voting system design team. Preferably, the
>system developed would be open source, or at least disclosed source.
>Let us clearly understand what vulnerabilities are handled with open
>source voting systems and what vulnerabilities are NOT
>vulnerabilities are NOT handled with open source voting systems. Let
>us also understand what new vulnerabilities are potentially
>introduced by open source voting systems, particularly when
>disclosing existing systems not designed to be disclosed. I ask the
>last question because I think we need to understand the arguments
>against openness in order to counter them. In that regard, let us
>separate out disclosure of source code from disclosure of data
>formats and data itself.
>Best regards,

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Received on Sun Sep 30 23:17:04 2007

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