Editor's note: Updated 13:11 on 11/02/06
First let me preface this with the following: I am not a liberal, democrat, or leftist of any kind. I have some anarchist tendencies, but am generally a 'righter'. So this blog is not your typical Democrat/liberal/whacker cryblog about how 'the election was stole'. On the other hand, I am a computer geek, with a fairly deep background and long career in the computer and electronics industries. While currently employed in the financial systems programming world, computer security is a hobby of mine and I can establish my 'hacking' bonafides, so when I tell you I feel uncomfortable about a piece of computing machinery, you might want to respect that. We really need to get this information out there to the voting public.
So, like, Oh man, my paranoia meter is off the charts. The more research I do on the Diebold TSX DRE voting machine, the more I think we are headed for disaster, here (Okaloosa County) and the country as a whole. These things are just not anywhere near trustworthy. Diebold, of course, claims the machines are secure. However, Diebold is in the business of selling these machines, so any thing they say is suspect as more marketing hype. You certainly wouldn't sell a lot of machines if you admitted they had flaws. I have read report after report from independant academics and researchers who have uncovered flaws and, in some case, gone on to successfully comprimise these machines in actual election (mock) style settings.
The problem? Once a DRE machine is comprimised, its nearly impossible to tell that the comprimise has occurred. It can be covered up by any number of subterfuges. No audit, and certainly not the one the state ran to certify these abominations, will tell you the truth, if you let the machine do the auditing. How would you comprimise an electronic voting machine? Simple, install your own applications. All the physical security (inspections, tamper evident stickers, etc) in the world are useless, IF YOU LET THE DAMN THING UPDATE ITS SOFTWARE ELECTRONICALLY, THROUGH AN OUTSIDE PORT, USING A STANDARD INTERFACE. Please remember that most likely the machines are hidden from view when the voter is voting! There is NO way to protect against someone updating the boot loaders to allow the import of malicious code if they really want to bad enough. Let me count the ways, there are JTAG ports on the motherboards, hidden SD card slots and PCMCIA card slots hanging out of these things. It's said that at any point in the manufacture, sale, transport, setup and use of this systems that they are vulnerable to being modified. To quote from the Blackboxvoting study, "The attacks can be deployed any time during the life cycle of the machine". And a system audit will probably not uncover the modification, ever. I could install a wireless LAN card in the hidden SD slot and control your vote from the parking lot......Yikes!!!!!
I prefer the old optical scan systems. Reliable! We know the security model forwards and back, procedures are in place to handle fraud, it's an easily auditable system and at the end of the day YOU STILL HAVE THE PAPER BALLOTS IN HUMAN READABLE FORM!
Oh, and by the way, MSN's Keith Olbermann voted Diebold as top 'worst person of the year'
So, just please keep the old system around for us luddites and let the ID10T's vote on the DRE's
If I get any official feedback on this, I'll post it, but there's not much that can be said at this point that will change my mind. You can reach me at:
P.S. I am sure our election supervisor here in Okaloosa county is just misinformed about the security of the Diebold TSX, that's all. Really.....
P.P.S. - If you think I am just being paranoid (and that's always a possibility), then read this and this and
this and this or this or this.
See for yourself, here are some of the reports:
The Princeton report (yes i realize Diebold responded to the report and said (to paraphrase) "poppycock". I rather liked Princeton's response to Diebold O_o )
The famous blackboxvoting.org report:
Dioebold TSx Evaluation
How to steal an election