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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


November 21, 2003

Kucinich Posts Diebold Memos to His House Web Site; Says Investigating 'Diebold's Legal Abuses'

Privatized Voting, Private Interests (11/20/03 - Rep. Kucinich House Web Site)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), 2004 candidate for President, has posted to his official House web site information about serious security problems in e-vote systems produced by Diebold Inc. A statement there says Kucinich is "working to investigate Diebold's legal abuses" in covering up the security problems and ignoring required software certification. The statement also says Kucinich is "working with his Congressional colleagues to draft legislation that would create an open-source design process for voting machine software."

Kucinich's site summarizes the most serious findings of computer security analysts who have examined Diebold's products. The site also posts several Diebold internal memos and emails, among those leaked to journalists earlier this year and now circulating on the internet. The documents show Diebold employees and senior management knew the company was making insecure changes to its voting software, illegally releasing uncertified software for use in elections, and making exagerated claims about their products' capabilities. Other internal email messages include technical instructions on how to hide important technical problems from election officials.

Diebold's e-vote products are used to tally votes in 37 states.

Posting the memos is a direct confrontation with Diebold, which has been on a concerted campaign of legal threats and intimidation to force ISPs and universities to shut down web sites that make the internal documents available. Diebold has even made legal threats over pages that so much as link to sites offering the documents for download. In its cease-and-desist letters, Diebold claims the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) empowers it to demand the sites be shut down. However, critics maintain the DMCA does not apply in this case because of the documents' direct relevance to a major public issue -- the sanctity of elections. As reported here recently, a lawsuit has been filed to force Diebold to stop its "blatant abuse of copyright law" in its effort to stop the distribution of the incriminating documents.

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