Iowa Caucus: Democrats to vote by “Magic Pony” Express

Des Moines Register: Democrats abroad can phone-in caucus votes <read>
No matter how much we warn about Internet voting, it seems nobody learns.  In this case it is telephone voting, just as insecure.  These days the phone goes over the same paths as the Internet:

The Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday announced the first ever Tele-Caucus initiative. It will allow deployed service members and other Iowans living abroad to participate in the first-in-the-nation event.

The effort piggybacks on a satellite caucus initiative the party announced this fall. Both programs aim to expand participation in the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus to those who are normally unable to attend.

“This is to try and be more inclusive as a party,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire said. “We want as many people as possible to participate in this caucus.”

We would add, perhaps there will be people participating they would rather not have, such as hackers.

The Tele-Caucus will be facilitated through a telephone consulting firm, Stones’ Phones.

?Founder of the company, Marty Stone, said participants will essentially phone-in their caucus vote by selecting a candidate with the push of a number on the dial pad. It’s compatible with any landline, cellphone, Skype or other program used for calling abroad.

Anyone planning to participate in the inaugural Tele-Caucus must register online, at, by Jan. 6. Those eligible should be registered to vote as a Democrat in Iowa and qualify for the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

As with other such schemes, saying it is secure is not the same as it being secure.  No word of actual testing and certification by third parties.

Just this week, we learned a new technical term, Magic Pony, in this article from the Intercept:   Comey Calls on Tech Companies Offering End-to-End Encryption to Reconsider “Their Business Model” <read>

It is an educational read about the fallacies of the “Security” of placing back doors “only for the government” into encryption software.  One of those things likely only to be used by the public.  Anyone aiming at skulduggery would use encryption without backdoors, or avoid the Internet altogether.

Comey had previously argued that tech companies could somehow come up with a “solution” that allowed for government access but didn’t weaken security. Tech experts called this a “magic pony” and mocked him for his naivete.

Now, Comey said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday morning, extensive conversations with tech companies have persuaded him that “it’s not a technical issue.”

“It is a business model question,” he said. “The question we have to ask is: Should they change their business model?”


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