More on Diebold voting machines
A friend, Tony, responds to the post directly below concerning security holes in Diebold Voting machines
“There’s nothing new about this. People have been warning about closed source code for many years. Bruce Schneier makes a habit of it. A lot of people do. Bev Harris has been making up conspiracies, and completely missing the point.
Plain manual paper ballots are susceptible to all of the same threats that Bev Harris is trying to make an issue of. Paper ballots aren’t encrypted. They have no password. They can be duplicated by anyone with an offset duplicator. There is no checksum. There is no audit trail. All of the controls are pure physical security — physically guarding the data, because anyone, with no technical knowledge, could tamper with it otherwise.
Those aren’t the real problem. The real problem is that with closed source, there is no way of knowing what the threats are, and therefore no way to even know whether they are being dealt with. That’s totally unacceptable for a voting system.
Like I said, Bruce Schneier is one of the people who has made a real issue of closed source, though he’s hardly the only one. He wrote about it here, in reference to voting:
He also has an example of a voting system that is actually promoted as secure specifically because the internal details are kept secret:
It’s really just a special case of the more general problem of: how do you know that a program is correct? That is, how do you know you’ve identified every possible problem and dealt with it? For example, how do you know there are no bugs? How do you know that nobody has done anything dishonest? With paper ballots, you have a pretty good chance of at least seeing what the potential problems are. With a computer, even with open source, that’s not possible. With closed source, it’s not even thinkable.
And it’s not unique to computers. Paper ballots are simple and easily understood. The more complex the technology, the harder it is to understand, and impossible when the details are kept secret.
The problems with computer voting go way beyond the details of a particular company’s machines. That serves as nothing more than an illustration of something that has already been proved.”