How Can You Test An E-Voting Machine For Malfunctions If You Don't Get To Test The Machine?

from the just-wondering dept

Now that Florida's governor has admitted that e-voting machines without a paper trail are not such a good idea (though, the optical scan machines he wants to replace them with have their own problems), you would think that Florida would be all for a thorough investigation into the problems of the old machines. Perhaps not. Remember Sarasota, where a bunch of votes appear to have gone missing? In the lawsuit over this, the judge denied the request to see the e-voting software source code, saying there needed to be more evidence that the machines malfunctioned first. At the same time, however, the Department of State in Florida has been trying to commission an "independent" study of the e-voting software, and even spoke to Ed Felten about joining the team. He's listed as one of the investigators, though he actually declined to take part. Why? Well, it turns out that they want the investigation to take place without actually letting the experts view the working software or the e-voting machines. Instead, it only wants to give them the source code and let them comb through the source code alone to try to figure out where the malfunction could have occurred. It's great that at least some experts are finally getting a chance to look at the source code, but it makes you wonder why all of these e-voting security tests always have strict limitations on them. If they really wanted to know what the security vulnerabilities are, shouldn't they make the test much more complete?
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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 7 Feb 2007 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When requested to see the source code, the company was happy to do so.

    You have some proof on that? Every time they've been asked, they've denied very publicly. Do you have some public info that shows they're willing to supply it?

    You can deny it all you want, but your conspiracy theory has skewed your perspective and now your thoughts are governed by your emotions

    Can you explain what "conspiracy theory" you think I have? I don't have one. I have stated repeatedly that I don't think the e-voting companies have done anything malicious. I just think that they haven't done a very good job convincing people their machines are safe.

    How is that a conspiracy theory? It's an opinion, but one that I back up with an awful lot of evidence. So far, your evidence has been "you guys are too ignorant to understand."

    You also, I note, refuse to explain how Ed Felten and Avi Rubin are conspiracy theorists, rather than well respected professors at top universities. Every time you ignore that question, it makes you look worse, by the way.

    The companies have always complied with legitimate requests to test and inspect the software. They handed over their source code for review on multiple occasions and have never denied the request of any U.S. government authority to review the code or test the equipment.

    This is provably false. You may believe it's true, but explain what happened in North Carolina? Diebold was asked for their source code and refused.

    At the same time, you sneak in that extra "request of any U.S. government authority" but fail to note that the testing on those machines by the "U.S. government approved" testers was flawed (something you earlier denied, though it's also proven fact).

    You still refuse to explain what's wrong with letting well respected security experts look at problems with the machines.

    You also (conveniently) leave out what has happened in the past when folks like Ed Felten and Avi Rubin have gotten access to those machines -- which is that they have found some very serious security flaws in them that absolutely could lead to problems. That is NOT saying that anything bad has been done -- but that there clearly are major security flaws with these machines.

    Jo, I'm afraid that as long as you continue to not answer any of these questions, but insist on calling everyone who disagrees with you a "conspiracy theorist" when the only conspiracy discussed in this thread is the one you've brought up about how the whole story is to create fear and make sure no one votes -- it's tough to take you even remotely seriously.

    Please try to answer the direct questions next time.

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