[E-voting] Submissions to independent panel/John Lambe's application

Adrian Colley aecolley at spamcop.net
Fri Mar 12 23:22:24 GMT 2004

On Fri, Mar 12, 2004 at 06:39:45PM +0000, Paul Gargan wrote:
> Hmmm, but that's creating a mindset that deliberate rigging is the main 
> danger - it may or may not be, but if that's perceived to be our main 
> argument, we can get dismissed as a bunch of raving conspiracy 
> theorists. VVAT is required to protect against accidental *and* 
> deliberate tampering; however for the purposes of convincing the public 
> I don't think we should over-emphasise the deliberate tampering angle.

To paraphrase Bruce Schneier, things seem to have improved since
the bad old days of ballot-rigging, and I have many reasons to hope
we won't be back there again.  But the risk remains.  Technology
moves slowly, but intentions change quickly.  Even if we are sure
today that our politicians will follow all legislation, apply
software updates only cautiously and honestly, and generally behave
like upstanding public servants, we don't know about tomorrow.  Once
the technology is in place, there will always be the temptation to
use it.  And it is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that
could someday facilitate a police state.

(Secrets and Lies is an excellent book, well worth reading whether
you're a computer security expert or not.)

In other words, yes we are worried about deliberate rigging, and
we don't have to be shy about saying so.  Deliberate rigging happened
in the past, and it might happen in the future.  It doesn't happen
now because of our effective safeguards -- and the importance of
those safeguards in any new system is very relevant.


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