Saturday, September 17, 2005

Mock The Vote

BradBlog has a stunner for you -- a Diebold employee coming clean about the voting hijinks last year, from those wonderful electronic machines we just had to fucking have:

In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a "Diebold Insider" is now finally speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws within Diebold, Inc's electronic voting systems, software and machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company's "upper management" -- as well as "top government officials" -- were keenly aware of the "undocumented backdoor" in Diebold's main "GEM Central Tabulator" software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.

Pointing to a little-noticed "Cyber Security Alert" issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold -- who "for the time being" is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company -- is charging that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it.

"Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal," the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. "In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated."

In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.

The "Cyber Security Alert" from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that "A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could [sic: allow] a local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes."

The alert, assessed to be of "MEDIUM" risk on the US-CERT security bulletin, goes on to add that there is "No workaround or patch available at time of publishing."

Definitely check out the whole thing, because it's never going to get covered on the network media. It's shit like this that makes me want to go back to just not voting. And as much as we all dump on the apathetic Americans who refuse to get motivated and involved in their political process, as long Diebold and the Bushies get away with this shit, the apathetic folks have a point.


Craig Heath said...

Heywood - there is the "apathetic" non-voter, then there is the "protest" non-voter. If you decide to "go back to just not voting" I expect you will be the latter, as I was for years.

It's just too bad that being a "protest" non voter accomplishes nothing except to concede the field to the jerks. As Jon Stewart wrote, Democracy neither needs nor particularly wants voters.

Maybe we could campaign for some kind of quorum rule - without 30%, 40% or 50% voter turnout, the election is null and we start over. Of course, it could then take 10 or more election cycles for people to get pissed off enough to turn out and kick the bastards to the curb.

And anyway, if Diebold can code the machines to achieve any result, then they can certainly show a quorum turnout.

We're fucked.

Error 404 said...

The protest non-voter exerts power over his own party.

Here's an example: the Democratic party can pretty much guarantee I won't vote for the Republican presidential candidate. It just isn't going to happen - I used to tell myself I vote for the person not the party, but it always ends up a certain way and I don't even tell myself that anymore.

So what's to keep them from picking a DINO and raking in still more of that sweet corporate campaign cash, completely ignoring my in-the-bank vote?

Me not voting, that's what. And the cool part is, it doesn't matter whether I stay home to protest the DINO or because I just don't care. Either way the party has to get my ass out of the couch.

As polarized as politics are now, there are really only two forces left: Diebold and the non-voter.

Unfortunately, I don't practice what I preach: I haven't missed an election since I turned 18, and I doubt I'll miss one while I'm still breathing. And since I am a dual-national Mexican who grew up near Chicago, I doubt that death will disenfranchise me.

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