2006/12/13

The Battle To Hack Sequoia Voting Systems

As usual Brad Blog has the story. Harri Hursti, the Finnish computer security expert who hacked Diebold's optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines has accepted the challenge--and presumably the 1000 to 1 odds--layed down by Riverside County Supervisor, Jeff Stone.

Let's review again how Mr. Stone inserted his big fat foot into his mouth:
I'm gonna bet a thousand to one that they cannot do it...we should bring the media in...
Right you are Supervisor Stone. Diebold's been getting all the attention, but democracy demands that we put all these infernal machines through the wringer, and Hursti is just the man to try. So Jeff, with VelvetRevolution.us sponsoring $1000 toward Mr. Hursti's attempt, you gonna put your money where your mouth is? You gonna risk a cool million? It's a small price to pay, right?

11 Comments:

i wish someone would invest money in good technology in regards to voting machines instead of baby bush's friends broken machines...
I for one would like too see the idiot Stone cough up a million dollars. Maybe then they will give us paper trails.

They need a new vote in Katherine Harris's district. 18,000 votes don't just not happen. Fraud at work there I'd say.

God Bless.
Does the "hacker" get to pick any machine at random from any state, provided it's made by that company, or does he have one forced upon him? If it's the latter, they beef up one machine to near or perfection, call in the press, and make a fool out of the hacker, when actually, he's right about the other xxx machines in the nation. I agree with anon-paranoid. Simply too much "stuff" has happened to say these things are close to "right" or safe. It may not be hacking that skews the numbers, but if you get beat by a billion votes, and there's only 3,000 voters in your state, does the knowledge the machine wasn't hacked provide any consolation? Imo, this is eye and ear candy to draw attention away from a serious problem.

Conceding for the moment they are hack proof, there is STILL the matter of paper trails.
AZG, not sure there are any ties between the powers that be and Sequoia, but I'm not really up on the company.

AnonP...well said. Though Brad Blog is now reporting that Riverside County and Sequoia are trying to weasel out of this.
Does the "hacker" get to pick any machine at random from any state, provided it's made by that company, or does he have one forced upon him?

TFWY, couldn't say, but from what I've read Hastri is very good and had to deal with a pre-prepared machine in Utah.

But you raise a very good point: There needs to be a way to reconstruct the vote, to audit it for the public's sake, and we *still* don't have that.
Goodlord. A paper and a pencil cost, what, about $1. GO BACK TO VOTING ON PAPER!!! A computer will ALWAYS be hackable. I adore technology. But I adore the ACCURACY and PROOF and PAPER TRAIL of my vote more.
We must remember that this group of people who are touting this techno-marvel were also people who were involved with - or involved with people who were involved with - Arthur Anderson and the Enron scandal.

The concept of a verifiable audit trail is somewhat outside their ability to comprehend.
HillCountryGal...well said!

Sewmouse, that's true at a higher level, but these Riverside County dorks are just a bunch of ignorant nitwits who couldn't shut up one of their own when it mattered.
Stone has demonstrated what an idiot he is. You don't give 1000 to 1 on anything. I think you would have to parlay pretty much the entire NFL season to get 1000 to 1.

Hell, I'd put $5 bucks on Hursti anyday. With those odds, I'd be fool not to.
IdiotGal said,
"Goodlord. A paper and a pencil cost, what, about $1. GO BACK TO VOTING ON PAPER!!! A computer will ALWAYS be hackable. I adore technology. But I adore the ACCURACY and PROOF and PAPER TRAIL of my vote more. "

Are you people REALLY that naive? Or are you all just so completely ignorant? How is a paper and pencil vote any less secure? Are you telling me that elections that were run with people voting on paper and tossing into a ballot box were never rigged, fraudulent, or tampered with??? Absolutely laughable. If paper and pencil was so superior, why were lever machines invented in the first place?

Do the current systems need improvement- sure. Is paper and pencil voting a viable option? Hell, it's way easier to make a box full of ballot disappear or switch them out than a well developed "electronic" (nay evil) system, with redundancy checks.
The opinions of anonymous cowards carry about zero credibility around here, especially when they shoot their mouths off without thinking the issue through or reading the comments carefully.

Here's the deal bozo: Electronic voting machines without a physical audit trail hide election fraud because the tallying and verification mechanisms are the same. Subvert one and you subvert the other. At least in a 'paper and pencil election', if ballots disappear, fraud is exposed. The only way to expose fraud with current electronic voting machines if to add a paper trail, given to each voter, from which the tally can be manually constructed. That's what this post advocates, congressional legislation advocates, and my commenters advocate.

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