[E-voting] Source Code

Mark Dennehy Mark.Dennehy at cs.tcd.ie
Sun Mar 21 22:32:39 GMT 2004

Ref:[Aengus Lawlor, Sun, 21/03/04 @ 22:19 -0000]
> Now you're catching on - your ability to read software doesn't add
> transparency, because you can't tell whether the software that you have
> vetted was the software that was actually used. You're still stuck with
> trusting someone else to implement the system.

So we shouldn't demand that the source code be in the public
domain because the government might screw up the procedures
for ensuring that the software in the machines is the
software that was released?

I'm not sure that's even an argument - you're saying we
shouldn't have an open model because incompetence or malice
could compromise it - but a closed source model is subject
to exactly the same problem.

> As for them changing the license terms, let them. What are they going to
> do, sue us in an Irish court for going ahead and using it under the old
> terms?

Are you saying that the government is above the law? Or EU
law for that matter?  

> Transparency in this case is an either/or deal. If VVAT makes the system
> transparent, then it doesn't become "more transparent" by changing the
> licensing terms or development model. If you want to pursue that issue,
> fine, go ahead. Just don't present it as an issue that impacts the
> "trustworthiness" of the system from an average voters point of view.
> Yourself and Mark have both made it quite clear that it's not a
> substitute for VVAT, but you can be sure that the Minister would be
> quite happy to present it as a substitute for VVAT.

Indeed, but as I've pointed out twice now, transparency is
only *one* reason for the open model to be used - and I
still don't see how you can declare that VVAT is a good thing
from the point of view of transparency and that publicly
released code isn't. In fact, I don't understand exactly what
your objection to an open model actually *is*.

> (By the way, there are literally hundreds of thousands of Irish people
> who "trust" Minister Cullen when he says that the system works. If you
> think that a "my friends and family can take my word for it" trust model
> is good enough, then you've already conceded the issue).

Not a valid comparison - family and friends would have
first-hand knowledge of your character and professional
qualifications. Do you have that kind of knowledge of Cullen? 
(And reading his CV doesn't count, as Bertie's CV has

Mark Dennehy,
Computer Vision and Robotics Research Group,
Computer Science Dept., Trinity College Dublin		
email:	Mark.Dennehy at cs.tcd.ie
www:	http://www.cs.tcd.ie/Mark.Dennehy

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