[E-voting] Stormontgate/Qinetiq/Shell

Justin Mason jm at jmason.org
Sat Dec 17 20:49:38 GMT 2005

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Catherine Ansbro writes:
> Very valid point.  And Qinetiq is not just any average corporation.  
> They are intimately involved in NSA-type security and communications.  
> Have a look at their website.  In any case the point you make about the 
> potential for conflict of interest is very apt.  I'd feel better if 
> several independent security consultants (e.g. Harri Hursti in Finland) 
> were carrying out these tests.  The testing must be free from anyone or 
> any organisation where there is a real, potential or perceived conflict 
> of interest if it is to be taken seriously.
> There are some news reports that claim the current FF government has an 
> agenda to reduce SF's political clout.  Regardless of whether or not 
> this is accurate, any decisions relating to our voting system or 
> equipment should be insulated from those who might have a personal, 
> corporate or political agenda.

Qinetiq are more than just any average corporation -- they were originally
part of DERA, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, the R&D arm of 
the British armed forces.

Certainly seems like an odd choice, if bias towards/against some parties
may be a potential issue...

- --j.

> Catherine
> Ciaran Quinn wrote:
> > When it was revealed that the original government consultants on the 
> > Shell pipeline project in Mayo were part-owned by Shell, the minister 
> > concerned, Noel Dempsey, had to appoint independent consultants to 
> > conduct a new investigation. Given the recent revelations about 
> > British government agents within Sinn Féin, doesn't this raise 
> > questions about whether Qinetiq, part-owned by the British government, 
> > should be involved in testing the electronic voting system?
> >
> > Clearly there is a conflict of interest here:-
> > - the British govt. are interested in preventing Sinn Féin doing well 
> > in elections here
> > - a company part-owned by the British govt.  is employed to verify the 
> > accuracy of the electronic voting system.
> > Clearly Sinn Féin candidates cannot be expected to accept election 
> > results based on the assurances of British govt. owned companies that 
> > the system is safe. In some ways it doesn't matter - the system is not 
> > going to be used and the charade of testing is taking place so that 
> > govt. candidates can deflect criticism of the money wasted on it 
> > during the general election campaign.
> >
> > Maybe a question or 2 could be asked:-
> >
> > Will Minister Roche appoint an independent company to re-do and 
> > re-examine all work carried out by Qinetiq in relation to the 
> > electronic voting system?
> >
> > In view of recent suggestions in the media that British agents are 
> > active in Irish political parties, will the Minister exclude British 
> > government-owned companies from contracts involving the electronic 
> > voting system?
> >
> > If there is genuinely a prospect of the system being used, he would 
> > have to exclude Qinetiq. If the testing is only a charade, he will not 
> > want to waste more money on it. Maybe this is a way of finding out 
> > which is the case?
> >
> > Ciaran
> >
> >
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