[Fwd: Re: [E-voting] About Estonian e-voting]

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Mon Oct 24 14:45:01 IST 2005

Craig Burton wrote:

> Colm MacCarthaigh wrote:
>>On Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 09:40:43PM +1000, Craig Burton wrote:
>>>We wouldn't be discussing it if it was never successful.  One virtue of 
>>>electronic voting is that fewer hands touch the votes.  
>>That's not a virtue. That's a weakness. 
> This relies on the hands being virtuous.

But this is the problem--one cannot (and should not) rely on hands being 
virtuous.  Ever.  Not in anything relating to elections.  We must assume 
the opposite--which is closer to reality.  Given an opportunity, people 
will cheat--especially when there is much to be gained. 

>>You will need a clean compiler, a clean version of every library that
>>compiler uses, a clean version of the kernel running the compiler, and
>>clean version of the hardware running the compiler. And you'll need all
>>of that all over again for the running binary. It is a complete waste of
> There are no absolutes; that's bad form. 
> A hack has to work, it has to work silently and specifically and it 
> has to not be detected.  It has to work in the presence of other 
> software, it has to work on software that changes, it has to be 
> developed, tested, successfully deployed, it has to wait till the 
> right time.   You imply its a cakewalk to have whatever hack you can 
> think of hidden anywhere you can imagine on any machine anywhere.   
> That's simply impossible.   The real risks can be managed. 

I disagree.  Much time can be spent preparing a hack.

In contrast, the attention, resources and legal backup to detecting and 
acknowledging (let alone rectifying) a hack are minimal.  Rather we have 
already seen in Ireland attempts to coverup problems in a real-life 
election.  (And in the USA--well, the extent of the problems, the extent 
of the denials, the extent of the obstruction to investigation all speak 
for themselves.)

> If this software process looks cumbersome, you haven't seen a 
> Hare-Clarke recount with Robson Rotation (there are several 
> permutations of the ballot layout) for 200,000 votes.  Actually, I 
> haven't either, but it took a month.   That's enough.
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