Dr. C. Scott Ananian (cananian) wrote,
Dr. C. Scott Ananian


From RISKS 23.34:
The three winners of this year's EFF Pioneer Award (announced at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2004 on 22 Apr 2004) are Kim Alexander, David Dill, and Avi Rubin. The three were honored for their "pioneering work spearheading and nurturing a popular movement for integrity and transparency in modern elections."

Relating to the question of whether the vendors' claims that pre-testing and post-testing demonstrate that nothing can go wrong during an election, Kim Alexander's acceptance speech cited this quote: 'An extra bias routine could be added to the vote-counting program that would have certain characteristics to make it undetectable by the official "logic and accuracy" test. This routine could be arranged so as not to go into effect until a larger number of ballots had been counted than were in the logic and accuracy test sample, or could be prevented from being operative during the test and be activated by a computer operator only for the official count.'

Her speech continued as follows:

"It sounds like something Dave Dill, or Avi Rubin or David Jefferson, or Rebecca Mercuri or any number of computer scientists might have said in the past year or two. But it dates back to 1970, when computer experts, working with civil rights leader Dr. James Farmer, first sounded the alarm over computerized vote counting risks.

"When I first read this passage in a 1975 study by Roy Saltman, I had a sinking feeling. People have been warning of the potential to accidentally or deliberately alter election results through computer software for decades, ever since we started using software to count punch card ballots in the 1960's.

"This is not a new problem. It's an old problem that never got solved. But I'm optimistic we will solve it. And the reason is because we have the tools to do so. We have the Internet. We have the ability to share information, to connect with each other, and to make a public problem so apparent that it can no longer be ignored.

"The history of this country has been one long struggle for freedom. It continues today through the efforts being made by thousands of people across this country who are working to ensure we have voting systems which produce results which can be verified."

Tags: elections

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