notes from JK

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notes from JK

Links 10-08-2011

Lots of good writing on the web at the moment, trying to get to grips with the turmoil in the world. Three good, different reads:

e-democ / e-gov voting

Links 9-8-10

  • Some super slides (well worth reviewing in full, links below) from leading computer security experts presented at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s workshop in Washington DC on however overseas citizens should vote. Choice quotes below. (via Ian Brown and FIPR)

Prof. David Wagner (UC Berkeley):

It is not technologically feasible today to make Internet voting safe against attack.
Operating an Internet voting system safely requires expertise and money way beyond what election officials are likely to have.
There is no known way to audit Internet voting. UOCAVA votes might fall “under a cloud of suspicion.”

Prof. Ron Rivest (MIT):

Remote voting is trade-off between franchise and risk
The risks of “internet voting” more than negate any possible benefits from an increase in franchise
Unsupervised remote voting vulnerable to vote-selling, bribery, and coercion.
We may view internet voting as voting on a contraption consisting of a collection of […] puzzle boxes, all connected by untraceable wires to every possible adversary on the planet.

We do not currently have the technology to make internet voting secure (and may never).
We can’t make such technology appear by wishful thinking, just trying hard, making analogies with other fields, or running pilots.
It is imprudent (irresponsible?) to assume that determined effort by adversaries can’t defeat security objectives of internet voting.
“What are best practices for internet voting?” to me sounds like “Pleash jush help me inshert the key in the lock, (hic), and I’ll be on my way…”

notes from JK

Links 30-06-10

notes from JK

Links 10-09-2009

A few links I’d like to push your way:

  • Disappointed, but hopeful”
    Rupert and my response to the result of the Green Party executive elections.
  • Stop Disconnection Without Trial
    Support the Open Rights Group’s campaign to stop Lord Mandelson’s barmy plan to disconnect suspected file-sharers.
  • Reheat Britain
    A much better idea than the car scrappage scheme — a boiler scrappage scheme. Of course upgrading boilers alone isn’t the answer, but it’s a start and while they’re there I’m sure the fitters will be keen to offer insulation and other energy efficiency services.

Links: 27-04-2007

  • In Parliament – Prentice challenged on vote security
    Again and again MPs ask questions about electoral integrity only to be rebuffed by Bridget Prentice.
  • AEA Chief Exec expresses fears over signature checks
    John Turner, Chief Executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, seems like a very sensible guy when we’ve spoken briefly in the past. In this Kable article his quotes are spot-on about the rushed signature checking system for May 3rd’s postal votes.
  • Software project aims to erase e-voting fog
    An article on Joe Kiniry’s work with open source e-voting systems. As Joe said at ORG’s February e-voting events, he’d rather vote with pencil and paper, but e-voting is a juicy problem worth working on and open source is the best way for academia to do it.

Links: 20-04-2007

  • Doubts raised over e-count system
    BBC Newsnight Scotland and News Online have provided the BBC’s best ever coverage of e-counting including interviews with Prof Doug Jones and Dr Rebecca Mercuri. See link in top-right of page for video. The piece includes the revelation that Neil Kinnock (the former Labour Party leader) is a non-exec director of DRS, the key e-counting supplier in Scotland. Furthermore David Cairns MP, a minister for the Scotland Office, said that the UK was not ready for voting without paper citing Ireland as an example of the problems that could bring.
  • SMS Texts to help citizens monitor Nigerian elections
    Factored in with a more conventional EU election observation mission, this is a great way to boost the amount of data collected concerning election irregulatories.
  • ORG Election Observer Handbook published
    I’m sure it’s not perfect yet but we’re still very happy to share our Election Observer Handbook which will guide the Open Rights Group observer teams watching this May’s elections.
  • Hackers Invited to Break Into Philippine Internet Voting System
    Scytl are busy not only running e-voting in upcoming UK pilots but in the Philippines come July 10th. The report is a bit tragic as an election commissioner is obviously impressed by Scytl’s holding a patent – if only they knew the problems with software patents. Inviting hackers to attack a system proves very little indeed: Smart hackers wouldn’t be detected or even attempt penetration during a test, also how do we know Scytl would admit being hacked even if they did detect it? And so on…

Links: 18-04-2007


Links: 30-03-2007

Hacking Democracy DVD


Links: 21-03-2007

  • AP: Ohio Election Workers Sentenced
    Other than the ‘Hursti Hack’, one of the other main stories in Hacking Democracy was the manipulation of the recount in Ohio in a populous swing county, Cuyahoga county, which could have actually changed the result of the 2004 presidential election. Two of the workers shown in the film were found guilty of rigging the recount by handpicking the 3% sample so that it would match the overall result certified. They’ve been sentenced to 18 months in prison each. Why they rigged the recount and for who still hasn’t emerged, the judge said that “I can’t help but feel there’s more to this story.” This case (where investigations are continuing) shows that just requiring a recount isn’t enough, how it is conducted is vitally important.
  • BBC: ITV’s Ice final hit by vote fault
    In the continuing controversy over TV phone-in votes, Vodafone have announced that 11,500 text message votes were not delivered until Monday morning (the show was Saturday evening). ITV claim that this represented less than 1% of votes cast and would not have changed the result whilst Vodafone will be issuing a 50p refund for each text sent. SMS text is such an unreliable platform for communications, I’m glad the pilots are not trialling its use again this year. These stories also highlight the lack of scrutiny over the results counts for these shows, something that Avi Rubin touched upon on his blog recently with a shocking admission of reality TV viewing!
  • BBC: 10,000 passports go to fraudsters in 12 months
    This is astonishing. The UK Identity & Passport Service, the Home Office agency who will be responsible for issuing and administering identity cards, have wrongly issued 10,000 passports in response to fraudulent applications. How they know this number or can be sure it’s not more or less is an interesting question. The Home Office cite the figures as further justification for their plan to interview passport applicants. I think interviews, done properly, would be a useful but expensive measure. However one must wonder about the agency’s competence if this really is the level of fraud that they allowed under the existing system.
  • The Times: Drafting error scuppers move to beat election fraud
    It’s been known for a while but The Times chose yesterday to report on the flaw in the Electoral Administration Act which prevents electoral officers withholding ballots from electors whose signatures don’t match their council-held sample.
  • Heise Online: ES&S demos the wide-screen e-voting they want to sell in Germany (in German)
    Due to legal requirements over the effects of candidates not all being displayed on the screen at one time ES&S have shown a wide-screen system for use in Germany. It’s a shame they are flawed single-use systems because I’m sure schools could benefit from big touch-screens like that.