Electronic Vulnerability

Aging Voting Machines Sitting Rusts for Hacking

Over the last few years, we have provided many posts on the real risks of Internet voting.  A new report and article highlighting that report, remind us all of the risks of voting machines in use several years ago: Hack the vote: Cyber experts say ballot machines easy targets

Reminder:  We are still using those machines.

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.

Elections and Voting Summit Joseph Kiniry: Technical Tradeoffs

Last January I attended the annual Elections and Voting Summit. I was most interested in a presentation by Joseph Kiniry on Technical Trade0ffs. It is a relatively brief presentation, with some important thoughts: Online voting convenience vs. risks, transparent systems vs. proprietary rights etc.

Internet Voting Roundup: At the Not-OK Corral

Texas likes to do things big. But when it comes to Internet voting it is as they say “All hat and no cattle”.

We always tend to side with science and the best independent expert analysis, and tend to be skeptical of vendors seeking profit and officials looking for the easy way to look good.

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.

New South Wales wails: Researchers find flaws in Internet voting system

New South Wales, Australia is holding an election with a significant number of online votes. Researchers point out several concerns…

So you want to connect voting machines to the Internet?

60 Minutes Shows Threats to Autos and Voting Machines are Real

We need a system that does not rely on trusting the Government or the abilities of officials and pollworkers. Sometimes the risks sound crazy and too theoretical and unlikely. For several years it has been known that many vehicles can be taken over via the Internet – but not really understood at a gut level. Last week 60 Minutes demonstrated the risks to Lesley Stahl so she will never forget, and perhaps by watching her we will also understand.

Ambitious agenda should be reasoned and well-planned

In today’s print edition of the Courant, one in a series of editorials setting an agenda for the State, Agenda 2015: Ambitious Goals For The State, one portion focuses on elections,

We diverge from the Courant in our opinion. We continue to point out that the most comprehensive system of election administration reform would be to regionalize elections, obtaining some of the same benefits obtained by regionalizing probate.

Also, Professionalization does not include ignoring science. There is a reason we do not connect our scanners to the internet to report results.

Connecticut not alone in election adminstration challenges

MapSince the election on November 4th we have had all sorts of complaints about Connecticut election administration. Claims that we are the slowest, with the most clueless election officials. And all sorts of cures proposed including more mail-in votes, electronic calculation of results, and reorganization of election administration.

We agree with that their are many problems. We agree with the general outlines of some of the cures. Yet, we caution against knee-jerk reaction, and change without planning and analysis.

We suggest looking at the best practices from other states. Yet, we can also learn from the mistakes and foibles of other states. Often those employing some of those very cures proposed for Connecticut.

How can we vote on Internet that is unsafe for banks, Canada, and alarms the President?

Recent articles highlight the folly and blind faith in technology leading many to trust voting on the Internet.

As Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” seems to apply here.

There are real cyber risks, we need to protect or digital assets. Yet it does not help to jump to the conclusion that every breech is the work of our biggest enemy of the moment.

Like building new civic centers, baseball stadiums, and bankrolling fishing and hunting retailers there is plenty of real world evidence that Internet voting does not work well, yet we persist despite the evidence. Apparently the technology that actually works to protect Democracy, a technology actually under assault in Connecticut, is Freedom of Information.

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