[E-voting] Irish Times Article This Morning (23/4)

Adrian Colley aecolley at spamcop.net
Fri Apr 23 15:07:10 IST 2004


On Fri, Apr 23, 2004 at 04:44:43AM +0100, Keith Martin wrote:
> The move follows the refusal of the provider of the new system to allow
> the commission examine the confidential "source code" without an
> assurance of substantial compensation should details of the computer
> programme fall into the hands of competitors.

It's good that Nedap/Powervote are supportive of the general idea of
assuring compensation for damage caused by another's carelessness.
Perhaps this could be used against them -- by contrasting it with the
notable lack of assurance of substantial compensation should their
voting system fail to perform correctly.  (Joe McCarthy's questions
67-72 (ex 20) and question 116 (ex 35) raised this issue.)


> The move is understood to have resolved the stand-off between Nedap
> Powervote, the supplier of the e-voting system, and the Department of
> the Environment over access to the source code.

This hints at the probable underlying gambit: the vendors were demanding
something (indemnity) which they thought would not be given, as a way of
preventing Prof. Parnas and others from taking a close look at the
source code.  Parnas is incredibly thorough, as a look at his list of
publications will show.  In contrast, Nedap/Powervote are incredibly
casual, as a look through the PTB and ERS reports will show.  Having a
code review by Parnas would give any developer a cold sweat;
Nedap/Powervote have a lot to lose and a very strong likelihood of
losing it if it depends on passing this inspection.

Of course, there's no way the Commission will get very far in a code
review before May, and as Keith points out, it's unlikely they'll even
have started by then.  The big risk now is that the Commission's initial
report will be "ANSWER UNCLEAR -- TRY AGAIN LATER", which Cullen's media
managers will spin as a statement that the Commission wasn't able to
find any problems despite having the best expertise, access etc.

 --Adrian.

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