14 Sep

Freedom to Tinker – NJ election cover-up

Based on all of the above, it is clear that the election at issue was defective and must be voided by the Court. While I do believe I have the authority to certify the Plaintiffs as the winners, I do not feel that this is the ideal result in this matter.

I do not know and may never know exactly why this election was defective. I have suspicions that something happened here that was improper and I even question whether something happened here that may have been criminal. And I strongly encourage the Attorney General to turn this over to the Attorney General Division of Criminal Justice, so that appropriate criminal investigators can conduct a full and complete investigation of this matter, to assure that criminality did not take place.

Although the Board of Elections and the Administrator maintain that human error was all that was involved here, for me to believe that I have to believe that three independent errors, human errors, occurred here, and that somewhat stretches my belief of common sense and reality, but it’s possible.

Accordingly, I am ordering a new election to be conducted on September 27, 2011.

via Freedom to Tinker – NJ election cover-up. Just plain scary a whole election result considered null and void, no idea what happened, who to blame or how to fix the problem.

27 Jan

Freedom to Tinker – Seals on NJ voting machines, 2004-2008

Those five criteria are just common sense about what would be a required in any effective system for protecting something using tamper-indicating seals. What I found was that (1) the seals aren’t always there; (2) even if they were, you can remove the cartridge without visible evidence of tampering with the seal and (3) you can remove the circuit-board cover without even disturbing the plastic-strap seal; (4) even if that hadn’t been true, the seal-inspection records are quite lackadaisical and incomplete; and (5) even if that weren’t true, since the counties tend to re-use the same serial numbers, the attacker could just obtain fresh seals with the same number!

via Freedom to Tinker – Seals on NJ voting machines, 2004-2008. So security seals, not so secure.

17 Oct

Freedom to Tinker – Hacking the D.C. Internet Voting Pilot

The specific vulnerability that we exploited is simple to fix, but it will be vastly more difficult to make the system secure. We’ve found a number of other problems in the system, and everything we’ve seen suggests that the design is brittle: one small mistake can completely compromise its security. I described above how a small error in file-extension handling left the system open to exploitation. If this particular problem had not existed, I’m confident that we would have found another way to attack the system.

None of this will come as a surprise to Internet security experts, who are familiar with the many kinds of attacks that major web sites suffer from on a daily basis. It may someday be possible to build a secure method for submitting ballots over the Internet, but in the meantime, such systems should be presumed to be vulnerable based on the limitations of today’s security technology.

via Freedom to Tinker – Hacking the D.C. Internet Voting Pilot. Internet voting, yeah it’s a bad idea in theory and bad in practice.

28 Oct

You Should Educate Yourself and Vote, or maybe not

I was thinking about this little thing we have coming up in the US, that well is dominating everything. The Presidential election and at first I was going to urge that you should educate yourself and then go and vote on Nov. 4, and also point you to a place to go in case you have problems voting or think that your ballot wasn’t casted correctly.

However I can’t say that, because it’s un-economical to vote and frankly I can’t support something that’s illogical/un-economical.

I believe very firmly in the idea that humans, myself included should be more rational and make decisions based on logic, especially logic based in the economics of a decision. Essentially cost-benefit analysis everything, including cost-benefiting the cost-benefit analysis of something. Is the cost, be that time, money, energy, food, friendship, etc worth the benefit gained, money, food, energy, friendship, etc. Pretty simple to explain, only really hard to implement. However I try to make decisions based on this principle, only do something that generates at least an equal or greater return compared to what I put in.

The whole urging people not to vote sounds very weird coming from me for a variety of reasons:

  1. I’m a pretty political person.
  2. I’ve urged people to vote in the paste, even up to several weeks ago.
  3. Who in their right mind tells people not to vote around this time?

That all being said I can’t tell people that they have to vote, instead I will stick by my principles and actually not urge people to vote this election, it’s a waste of your time and except in very limited cases and very few states will it even matter.

That all being said, I must admit to being a hypocrite and I did vote this election (absentee ballot) and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The reason being is that I made a call in which my personal feelings towards voting and democracy outweigh the time spent educating myself on the issues and actually voting. I already care about politics so the time spent educating myself about the issues is wrapped into my normal routine. Also an absentee ballot, means no lines, no problems, just sign up (5ish minutes), get the ballot, fill it out (5 – 10 minutes) and I was done. So the time difference is pretty good. For most people to just drive back and forth from the polling place is 20 minutes.

So today I offer some weird advice with the realization, that I myself don’t follow this advice. Don’t vote people, it’s illogical.