[E-voting] Source Code

Éibhear evoting at gibiris.org
Mon Mar 22 20:42:25 GMT 2004


Aengus Lawlor wrote:
> 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.

The point I am trying to highlight is that the State would be in a 
better position to vet and trust the code that implements the country's 
election processes if it was to use a Free Software solution. As it 
stands, all the Government knows is what the vendors are telling them 
and what 6 commissioned reports told them. 6 commissioned reports, it 
has been pointed out, that are not especially reliable in terms of coverage.

> (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).

Every day I read articles on web sites like OS News, Newsforge, The 
Register, and so on, providing critical analysis of various software 
applications. These critiques are performed by qualified professionals, 
often commissioned in a free-lance manner by the editors of the sites in 
questions. While I was pointing out that the average voter (whatever 
that is) could ask some one they personally know who has examined the 
source code of a Free Software solution, a logical extension of the 
argument is that the editorial staff of organisations like The Irish 
Times, The Irish Independent, The Star, RTÉ's Prime Time, etc. could 
just as easily commission such examinations and publish them.

Everyone who cared would be informed.

Éibhear
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