Justice Department Decides To Break Up E-Voting Company

from the how-about-just-opening-the-source-code? dept

As was rumored at the end of last year, the US Justice Department has decided to break up Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the dominant e-voting provider in the country. You may recall that just a few months earlier, ES&S (who has a long and troubled history of inaccurate, buggy and insecure e-voting machines) had purchased the remains of Diebold’s e-voting business for just $5 million. Of course, Diebold also had a long and troubled history of inaccurate, buggy and insecure e-voting machines, so the two made a perfect match. In both cases, the companies relied on security by stonewalling — insisting that nothing was wrong, despite lots of proof to the contrary, and refusing to let third party security experts ever look at their machines. Rather than breaking up the companies, why don’t the feds just require that any e-voting machine use open source software that can be tested by anyone?

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Companies: diebold, es&s, premier

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Comments on “Justice Department Decides To Break Up E-Voting Company”

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18 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Open Source For Security ...

I can only guess that you commented out of pure ignorance, most of the top security solutions are open source(some food for thought: most people use multiple open source security algorithms and or tools on a regular basis.), because people can read the code, make sure it works properly, and is not worth the effort to crack if for no other reason than the sheer amount of time required to do so. The physical implementation of the product is just as important though.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Greed and Idiocy. no further explanation required for in excess of 60% of stupid human decisions.

(number totally made up on the spot because i needed one for the line, also possibly foolishness or ignorance should replace Idiocy, but it usually Looks more like Idiocy, and only listing one is snappier. I’m also not the Spanish Inquisition.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Also, the very point of a cryptographic end to end user verified voting system IS to prevent voter buying. an end to end user verified voting system that doesn’t prevent voter buying has been developed long before the cryptographic versions but the problem with the non cryptographic ones is that they do enable voter buying. The cryptographic ones do not, that is unless someone brought a camera or something inside the voting booth or something (ie: maybe a camera phone), but our current voting system is also vulnerable to such attacks just as well. End to end user verifiable voting systems are NO MORE vulnerable to voter buying than our current voting system, a camera in the booth, for instance, can be implemented to allow voter buying can be implemented with our current system just as well.

minijedimaster (profile) says:

Never Trust the Government

From the Article

The department proposed a settlement that, if accepted, would dissolve the merger and force ES&S to sell its Premier business to a buyer approved by the Justice Department.

Read: “A buyer that the Justice Department controls”. As true and bothersome as the security issues are with these systems, this is all about the government gaining control over it’s own voting system to make it easier to fix elections.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Never Trust the Government

a cryptographic end to end user verified voting system will fix this and it will make it MUCH harder to fix elections than our current voting system does. End to end cryptographic voting systems also prevent vote buying, again, Ph.D’s in cryptography have spent YEARS studying and researching and thinking about the issue and developing a system that does just that (that’s the whole point behind the cryptography, because non cryptographic end to end user verified systems have been developed before the cryptographic ones have, so what was the whole point of spending years developing the cryptographic ones if not to prevent voter buying?). Figuring out who you voted for would require a successful cryptographic attack (and yes, our ability to crack algorithms does tend to improve over the years but even so we still have old algorithms that can, to some degree, do a pretty good job at concealing information).

We already use cryptography when we online bank and, frankly, if you know the servers correct public key and your computer (and the servers computer) is not compromised with malware then transmitting information to the intended recipient via https is safer than doing so via the phone (being that there is no encryption via the phone and so an eavesdropper working for the phone company can potentially listen in on your conversation. Also, don’t use cordless phones since they don’t usually provide encryption either).

If we use the best cryptographic algorithms we have and use the most secure keys possible (ie: largest) then I don’t see them being cracked anytime soon. Perhaps 15 – 20 years from now we may need to update the algorithms (as a precaution) to a more modern and secure algorithms to ensure that future generations don’t crack the current algorithm and use it against a future generation. But that’s fine, we’ll update the algorithm every once in a while perhaps.

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