Voting as safe as the big banks. Hypocrisy to go around.

Another installment in our observations of Cognitive Dissonance in Connecticut, especially the Legislature. The latest dissonance/hypocrisy involves the breech of personal information by state contractor JP Morgan Chase. From the Courant: Tax Refund, Other Debit Card Data Exposed In Computer Breach <read>

When the state suddenly ended its longstanding practice of sending paper checks for tax refunds nearly two years ago, some taxpayers criticized the decision to provide refunds via debit cards.

Now, the state is scrambling as some data on those tax-refund cards may have been exposed to potential identity theft.

State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced Thursday that the personal information on some prepaid debit cards was exposed during an attack on the computer servers of JP Morgan Chase, the international banking giant that oversees the debit card program for Connecticut.

The computer breach covers multiple states, and 14,335 accounts were exposed in Connecticut, Nappier said. Nearly 7,000 of those accounts involved taxpayers seeking refunds, and the remainder covered items like unemployment benefits and child-support payments that are now issued on debit cards. Those included more than 4,400 accounts at the state Department of Social Services, nearly 3,000 accounts at the Department of Labor, and seven at the Department of Children and Families.

Actually sounds like pretty standard stuff these days. Company servers are breached or somebody steals a State laptop with data that should or should not be there etc. The public effected will be offered a number of months or years of free credit monitoring. But this is an election year and politicians are running for Governor.

Last year Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield raised concerns when his constituents complained about the switchover on tax refunds, saying the decision had been made unilaterally without notifying the state legislature beforehand.

When told Thursday about the security breach, McKinney said, “You gotta be kidding me!”

McKinney, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, immediately called for a public hearing to obtain a full explanation of the details of the breach. He had sought a similar hearing nearly two years ago to answer questions about security and why JP Morgan Chase was

chosen for the job. The Democratic-controlled legislature, however, rejected the idea of a hearing and said the switch was a decision by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration.

“We were told this was a perfect solution,” McKinney said in an interview Thursday. “We were told this was foolproof and secure, and obviously the administration was wrong.”

State tax Commissioner Kevin B. Sullivan, a former lawmaker who served in the state Senate with McKinney for nearly six years, started laughing when he heard that McKinney was calling for a new hearing.

“Sen. McKinney wants to have a hearing on everything, and I appreciate that his gubernatorial campaign needs” publicity, Sullivan said. “His response to everything is to have a hearing.”

Sullivan said that no hearing is necessary and that state officials are working with the bank to resolve the issue.

So where is the hypocrisy? readers will recall that the Legislature did have hearings on Internet Voting this year, and clearly received information that the Internet voting was unsafe for voting. We provided testimony and documentation that computer and security experts, including Federal Government experts agree the Internet is unsafe for voting.

Where was Rep McKinney on that?  He voted for it, as did every other Representative and Senator, democrat and republican.

In 2012 Internet voting was put into an unrelated campaign finance disclosure bill by parties unknown. Such a provision, without hearings, is known as a “rat’. The bill itself had no hearings either and passed both houses, only stopped from becoming a law by the Governor’s veto.

There is no shortage of hypocrisy to spread around since the Governor signed this year’s bill despite his veto message from last year.

All we are left with is more proof that Internet Voting is no more safe than Internet banking. Actually less so because vote fraud, without double entry bookkeeping is harder to detect and prove. We also have, yet another, lesson on human nature, driven to believe what we would want.


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