For Sale! Crappy E-Voting System With A Horrible Reputation For Security! What? No Takers?

from the who-wouldn't-want-to-buy-it? dept

Last October, Diebold admitted that all of the bad publicity around the security problems related to their e-voting machines had the company thinking not about fixing those security problems, being more open with the security community and admitting their past mistakes -- but about getting out of the business entirely by selling the unit off to some other company to deal with. Of course, when just about every headline about your company is trashing it -- and the best you can do is crack jokes about the security problems and deny any problems exist (despite tons and tons of evidence by well-known experts in the field) -- you might imagine it would be tough to find a willing buyer. You'd be right. Diebold admitted today that no one wants to buy the e-voting unit, so the company is stuck with it. So what's the company going to do? Admit it made mistakes in the past and is now going to fix them and take e-voting concerns seriously? Of course not! They're simply going to distance the e-voting business from the rest of the company. They're going to run the e-voting unit entirely separately from the rest of Diebold (which is a big ATM maker). The quotes from Diebold's CEO don't sound like someone who is trying to fix a struggling business, but someone who wants to distance himself from the business, saying that they'll support it for the "foreseeable future." Perhaps if the company had actually taken all of the concerns seriously the business wouldn't be struggling and the rest of the company wouldn't be so ashamed to be associated with the e-voting portion.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    anonymous coward, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:28pm

    this is great news. i want to see diebold exit this industry. what government organization is going to invest millions in an essential, high visibility system that the company doesn't want to support?

    oh, wait, we're talking about politicians and bureaucrats.....never mind. diebold sales continue...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    David B, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:44pm

    It's the voters

    oh, wait, we're talking about politicians and bureaucrats.... No we're talking about the 40% of people who don't vote and just complain. Don't blame the politicians and the bureaucrats, at least put their time in.

     

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  3.  
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    overstressed admin, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:45pm

    voting machines

    How hard can it be to write some code for the simple task of e-voting? As a former programmer and present-day admin, I am amazed that someone can't do it. That's one project I'd love to see open sourced. Everyone runs thesame code, just the boxes are diferent...
    Maybe someday.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Nick (profile), Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    How about one at the museum (if they have one) at the office of the US Government Accountability Office?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    I am surprised the DNC didn't step up and buy the unit, just to ensure that voting would be fair and balanced.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    I am surprised the DNC didn't step up and buy the unit, just to ensure that voting would be fair and balanced.

     

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  7.  
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    geographic memory, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 2:05pm

    i've got about $38 bucks in my pocket. i'll buy it.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Daniel, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 2:07pm

    Don't they have security experts from the ATM division that they can borrow to make the E-Voting machines more secure? I mean how hard could it really be. Obviously the banks trust their ATM or they won't be in the business.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    bry, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 2:21pm

    Re: voting machines

    I have a company with patents in this area, if you want to write some related code let me know.
    Regards, Bryan

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    zcat, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 2:33pm

    Oh really?

    The problems with Diebold's voting system appear to be so deeply embedded that the only real answer is to scrap the entire existing system and begin again, from scratch.

    There's no useful technology to be bought. There's no goodwill attached to the name. I'm not surprised nobody wants to buy it.


    My suggestions;

    There are some nice touchscreen terminals around. Source one.

    Attach a reliable eftpos-style PRINTER inside a solid perspex box in a way that votes can be seen printed on paper, agreed with, then scrolled out of view onto a 'take-up spool' for random auditing, independent optical scan recounting, or even manual counting if necessary.

    Build an embedded voting system for it based on Linux or Freebsd (using recorded prompts or festival TTS for accessability) and one of the following projects.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/votesystem/
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/stv/
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/free/

    Sell the whole 'voting solution' including source and documentation to the appropriate voting agencies in a GPL-compatable manner. Patches to GPL code become GPL, but your hardware modifications, configuration work, and any code you wrote from scratch (glue-scripts) are not required to be GPL, so you CAN claim copyright on the system-as-a-whole. You can also sell support services.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    CoJeff, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 2:53pm

    Re: It's the voters

    How does how many people vote do with the security of these evote machines?

    Don't blame the politicians and the bureaucrats, at least put their time in.
    Do you really believe this????? Are we talking about the same politicians that continuously try to pass video game laws that always get shot down. Or are you talking about the politicians that try to pass a no cell phone usage while walking the streets in NY? As far as I'm concerned voting doesn't do much anymore. I'm sure if the American people want something and vote to have it but the government doesn't want you to that the government wouldn't pass it?

     

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  12.  
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    zcat, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 3:54pm

    The security of the machines has more to do with how many people vote.

    If you believe strongly (as many people do) that the votes aren't being fairly counted, why bother voting? Here's my vote, scrawled on the back of a shopping receipt. I'll save you the effort and just drop it in the trashcan myself and get back to work. Thanks for caring.

    Seriously.

     

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  13.  
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    hyphen, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 4:04pm

    week.... just week

    Did you know their voting app data was stored in an access database? Yeah, it is and it's really easy to make changes to the data within the tables as long as you know where to look.

    You would think they would attempt to use something a little more secure....... ** ROLLS EYES **

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    thomas siekierski, Aug 16th, 2007 @ 4:15pm

    e-voting

    hey I live in Palm Beach County Floriduh, it sounds just like a system we need. Wait a minute, I think we have one we are scrapping too.

    I requested a pull handle like on the slot machines, so when I vote, I can pull the handle and if I'm lucky my vote will count, but then again I'll never know who my vote went to

     

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  15.  
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    SimonTek (profile), Aug 16th, 2007 @ 4:42pm

    Open Source

    I want to create an Open source voting machine project for a while. even once designed my own machine. Just haven't gone with it yet. anyone interested?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: voting machines

    How?

    You may just have forgotten to provide an email address, but OTOH, would anyone be interested in buying a bridge...?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 8:43am

    Re: Oh really?

    Diebold ATMs are built on NT4 (I saw one which had crashed), suggesting another avenue of attack for their voting machines, since there are likely to be unpatched exploits in NT4 which were carried over in to XP, and patched for XP but not NT4.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 5:51am

    Re: e-voting

    The puncher should be separate from the ballot box.

    In my ideal voting system, the ballot marker should be separate from the ballot box, so that the voter can verify his vote before submitting it, the names of every voter to vote in each polling station should be recorded and the votes from each station counted separately, so that if the wrong number of votes are returned from anywhere, everyone who voted there can be called in to vote again (making it very difficult to stuff ballot boxes). The filled ballot boxes should then be transported and guarded by at least two people, and observers from any of the candidates can observe but not intervene at all stages of the counting process. Furthermore, the counting should be done under video surveillance, providing evidence for a court case. This would make a very secure voting system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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