CT

TSA provides “Security Theater” , not “Peace of Mind”

The Intercept covers the lack of security and abundance of BS from the TSA: TSA Doesn’t Care That Its Luggage Locks Have Been Hacked 

In a spectacular failure of a “back door” designed to give law enforcement exclusive access to private places, hackers have made the “master keys” for Transportation Security Administration-recognized luggage locks available to anyone with a 3D printer…

Now that they’ve been hacked, however, TSA says it doesn’t really care one way or another.

What reminders and lessons can we learn from this?

Cyber risks of Internet voting and electronic voting

Two articles this week on cyber risks, one refuting Colorado’s Secretary of State on online voting. Another articulating the risks of hacking electronic voting in general.

Stay tuned and stay involved!

Top Six Ways Hackers Could (have) Disrupt(ed) an Election

The election system is particularly vulnerable because it involves a combination of state, local, and federal government agencies with their own systems, software, hardware, and security protocols. Often, government departments are running old “legacy” computer systems that are extremely vulnerable to malware and hacking; and even if they have new systems, these are often put into place without a comprehensive security audit and performance review.

Who exactly is in charge of securing these overlapping networks isn’t always clear in government either.

Wisconsin’s One-Up Connecticut moment?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to replace their election watch dog agency, apparently because it investigated his campaign.

Yet Wisconsin’s Governor may not be that far ahead of Connecticut’s.  Like Wisconsin our watch dog agencies were joined and weakened several years ago by Governor Malloy to “cut costs”.  How is that going for us?  It seems that the Governor is not out to do away with them, yet there has been some questionable attacks, just as the watchdog is working on investigating the Governor’s last campaign,

Concerned with two partisan registrars? Be careful what you ask for.

How to manage and judge our elections without partisan bias is tough. Occasionally Secretary’s of State act in blatantly partisan ways. Cases in recent history include Catherine Harris in Florida and Ken Blackwell in Ohio.

Here in Connecticut the Secretary of the State proposed turning elections over to a single unelected official in each town, rather than the current two elected registrars of opposing parties.

Meanwhile in Kansas a bill would give the Secretary of State the power to prosecute election fraud.

The limits of Democracy w/o Information

Last week Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, addressed the League of Women Voters of Northeastern Connecticut on a variety of topics. One of the items discussed was the lack of education in civics and its possible link to the lack of participation by younger voters. The two are certainly related, yet we also live in an age when the at least over the last two administrations, the Constitution has been ignored in the name of security – just when those voters have come of age.

Also I recently read “They Know Everything About You”, which I highly recommend. This week the author, Robert Scheer, was interviewed in a seven part series at the Real News. Part three is particularly relevant to the subject of Democracy and information available to the voters. <video>

Too Reliable Computers: A threat to life and to democracy!

Most people are aware of the risks of unreliable computers, yet tend to be oblivious to the distinct risk of too reliable computers.  If computers were as unreliable as people, we would not be at risk of excess trust and overconfidence.

One particular anecdote from lasts night’s Newshour highlights the risks of computers that are too reliable, yet not perfect.  When it comes to medicine (or robotic weapons) too reliable computers can cause harm, including death.  When it comes elections too reliable computers can kill democracy.

Non-Science: “What you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

Non-Science Nonsense is bad enough. But even worse is what we all thing is true that is not.  Five examples from just the FBI and our common understanding, as articulated in The Intercept: Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Forensic “Science”

When it comes to voting, the public, election officials, and legislators believe many false facts,

S.B. 1051: Too much, too little, too risky

Last week the Government Administration and Elections Committee passed a modified version of S.B. 1051, hailed by the Secretary of the State and ROVAC (Registrars Of Voters Association of Connecticut) as a ‘bipartisan’ compromise.

Yet, all the compromising seems to be the agreement of election officials on a bill that would make registrars jobs easier while adding largely undefined and unchecked powers for the current and future Secretaries of the State.

Bill to study regionalization of elections moves forward

Last week Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) on passed a modified version of S.B. 1083out of committee. It would empower a task force to study regionalization of election administration. Earlier we testified in favor of the bill pointing to the possible benefits of such a task force.

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