Diebold Trying To Stop Documentary On E-Voting Problems; Complains About Wrong Film

from the opening-the-dialog,-huh? dept

On Monday, we wrote about how it suddenly appeared that e-voting concerns were going mainstream, not even realizing that HBO was preparing to show a documentary called "Hacking Democracy." In that post, I linked to a Fortune article that is actually somewhat more encouraging about e-voting's number one target: Diebold. Beyond giving the history of the company, it suggested that the company more or less recognized that they had been both "stupid" and "naive" in getting into the e-voting business, without understanding anything about it. It also noted that almost all of the companies top execs have recently been replaced -- and even said that the company is considering getting out of the e-voting business altogether. All of these suggest that the company actually recognizes that they've screwed up big time. That's a big step forward, since every time a new problem comes up they react by brushing it off (often with outright lies), attacking their critics or simply cracking jokes about their security problems. And, by now, it should be clear that the security problems are very, very real.

So, with all of that, perhaps it was wishful thinking to hope that the new Diebold management would be a bit more willing to engage in discussion over issues, rather than just attack. Of course, given all of the recent problems the company has had, followed by the same old, same old response, it seems clear that the company hasn't learned a thing. To make that clear, rather than dealing with the problems, they're working hard behind the scenes (and failing) to convince HBO to cancel the documentary. They claim that the documentary is filled with false and inaccurate statements -- which would be more believable if (a) the company ever owned up to any of its mistakes and (b) they had actually seen the movie (which they haven't, apparently). In fact, the points that Diebold raised in their letter apparently refer to an entirely different film called Voter Gate, which has nothing to do with the documentary HBO will be showing. Diebold claims it's by the same people, but it's not. Now, isn't that a surprise? Diebold can't even accurately figure out who's involved in a movie about them.
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  1. icon
    Chief Elf (profile), 1 Nov 2006 @ 4:46am

    Always verify

    As you should always have at least two people when money is being counted as a matter of policy, regardless of how trustworthy the people are, the voting process should be treated just as carefully, and no person, and no company, should be trusted.

    Voting software should be trusted by no one. Voting hardware should be trusted by no one. At least two fully qualified people, one from each political camp, should monitor all software and hardware from its creation until it is retired from service. Fully qualified means understanding every line of code in the software, and every circuit in the hardware.

    What benefit is there to computerized voting machines? Speed? That's no benefit except to satisfy a totally unimportant, impatient media. Reduced cost? Not if a verifiable paper trail has to exist in addition to it... its cost is imposed on top of a paper-based system. And if you add qualified supervision of the system, voting machines are far more expensive than a paper based system.

    I see no worthwhile benefits, and an extreme danger to our most precious democratic republic.

    Polling officials don't understand the technology, and are buying "a pig in a poke," so its no surprise that they don't get what they were told they were getting. The rest of us have to make sure that the voting officials' desire to trust the machine venders is overridden.


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