Nixed News, Hidden Headlines, Suppressed Stories

"History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."
— Justice Thurgood Marshall (1989)

Vote Fraud: Internal Documents from Diebold Election Systems
De-BS: A Guide to 'Senior Administration Officials'
Space: NASA Mars Exploration Project
The Junta: Bush Admin

Movable Type
Powered by
Movable Type 2.63

(not paid advertising)

Click for NameBase

The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


December 09, 2003

E-Vote Companies Join to 'Counter Mounting Concerns'

Voting-Machine Makers To Fight Security Criticism (12/9/03 - Washington Post)

From the Washington Post: Electronic-voting-machine companies announced yesterday [12/8/03] that they are banding together to counter mounting concerns about whether their machines are secure enough to withstand tampering by hackers.

Although less than 20 percent of the nation's counties use electronic voting machines, their use is growing in the wake of the problems with punch-card ballots in Florida that threw the 2000 presidential election into turmoil. Last year Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which provides funds for states and localities to modernize their election systems.

But several academic and cyber-security experts argue that the new machines, which let voters make their choices on video screens, have disturbing security flaws.

In July, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Rice University identified potential security holes that would allow vote tampering in systems made by industry leader Diebold Election Systems Inc.

That report led Maryland state officials to delay purchasing $55 million in systems from Diebold, although Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) ultimately decided to move ahead.

Critics argue that at minimum, the machines should be equipped to provide companion paper records of the votes as a check against simple malfunctions, someone commandeering the operating systems and voting multiple times, or causing others' votes to be lost.

Last month California said it would require a paper verification system.

The leading voting-machine companies, which argue that their systems are safe, have yet to put forward any proposals on addressing the concerns. But under the umbrella leadership of the Information Technology Association of America, the industry hopes to foster conversation that includes security experts, academics, local elections officials, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency overseeing technical standards.

"This is an an inflection point in the history of voting in this country," said Harris N. Miller, president of the IT association and a former Democratic Party chairman in Fairfax County. "There's a certain amount of controversy . . . the companies have decided they want to deal with that controversy positively."

Bill Stotesbery, vice president of Hart InterCivic Inc., which has 25,000 machines in use in Virginia and several other states, said the electronic voting systems are not connected to the Internet, which would be a prime avenue for hackers.

He said his company and others have the capability to provide printed verification of an individual's vote, which would at least allow the voter to determine whether the machine properly recorded his or her choices.

But he said that many local jurisdictions have not yet demanded such a capability, nor have they prescribed technical standards. Paper printers could add $500 to the cost of each machine.

But the Johns Hopkins study, and others, said the systems could be compromised by preprogrammed "smart cards" that each voter uses to activate the machines, or other tampering.

Security experts also worry about mischievous insiders at the voting-machine companies. That fear was fanned when Walden W. O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc., told Republicans in an Aug. 14 fundraising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

The company also has angered critics by suing two Swarthmore College students who posted on the Internet internal Diebold memos indicating the company's awareness of security flaws.

A Diebold spokesman said the firm has dropped the legal action.

[Read the source...]


All original content copyright © 2003 by subliminal media inc. unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
Subliminal News compiles news and information from a variety of Internet-based sources. This web site is provided as a public educational and research resource on a wholly non-commercial basis, without payment or profit. No claim of copyright is made, intended or implied by Subliminal News for any materials that we link to or quote from. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 USC section 107 of the US Copyright Law.