So you want to connect voting machines to the Internet?

Among the other reform calls in Connecticut are those to “do anything to get results faster on election night – any results”.  One proposal is to connect our voting machines directly to the Internet to collect results. There is a reason our voting machines are not connected to the Internet. UConn and other researchers have long pointed out the risks <October 2007 article>

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: DARPA: Nobody’s safe on the Internet <video at 6:45 > Or watch the entire video to understand that the Defense Department is regularly attacked and how they can attack the appliances in and around your house.

If the Defense Department can’t protect itself, if auto companies can’t protect us, why would we think the State of Connecticut could protect us? Or local registrars of voters in our 169 towns?

In fact, Arthur House, Chair of our utility control agency is concerned that utilities and the State together cannot protect our power infrastructure. <here>

Yet its even worse.  Not only can’t the Defense Department protect itself, the Federal Government actually makes it harder for private enterprise to protect us – in the name of “national security” they make us more vulnerable, while they also make “security theater” claims of increasing security, NYTimes:  Obama Heads to Security Talks Amid Tensions <read>

President Obama will meet here on Friday with the nation’s top technologists on a host of cybersecurity issues and the threats posed by increasingly sophisticated hackers. But nowhere on the agenda is the real issue for the chief executives and tech company officials who will gather on the Stanford campus: the deepening estrangement between Silicon Valley and the government…

Now, the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent companies from greatly strengthening encryption in commercial products like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones has set off a new battle, as the companies resist government efforts to make sure police and intelligence agencies can crack the systems…

“What has struck me is the enormous degree of hostility between Silicon Valley and the government,” said Herb Lin, who spent 20 years working on cyberissues at the National
Academy of Sciences before moving to Stanford several months ago. “The relationship has been poisoned, and it’s not going to recover anytime soon.”…

The F.B.I., the intelligence agencies and David Cameron, the British prime minister, have all tried to stop Google, Apple and other companies from using encryption technology that the firms themselves cannot break into – meaning they cannot turn over emails or pictures, even if served with a court order. The firms have vociferously opposed  government requests for such information as an intrusion on the privacy of their  customers and a risk to their businesses.

Meanwhile in the wake of the theft of health records from Anthem, Connecticut legislators are demanding encryption for health insurers <read> We wonder if they will ask the U.S. Government to stop compromising encryption. Others are asking who is benefiting from the Anthem attack? <read>


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