[E-voting] Re: Re: a new voting system

David GLAUDE (PourEVA) dglaude at poureva.be
Thu May 17 22:46:50 IST 2007

There is no point for me to discuss the bad idea of software patenting.

Even if patent are made to be publicly disclosed, a pending patent is
keeped secret by the patent office until a specific step in the procedure.

Even in a perfect "computer assisted voting" (Fergal), the voter must
trust that the system does respect the secrecy and that stay a valid
reason to ask for the source code to be public.

I do not believe that ClearSoftware, whatever it is, is a valid way to:
* Proof the software correctness
* Proof that the right software is running the day of the election
* Proof that the hardware is actually executing the software and does
not have a loophole

And all of that must be proven to the citizen in front of the voting

The really sad thing about ClearSoftware and ClearVoting is that some
critics to electronic voting spend time trying to solve an non existing
problem. I do believe that it is not "our" job to try to present a
working acceptable technical way to vote when and where paper is a valid
and working solution.

The popular believe amongst technical minded opponent to electronic
voting in country where it is already adopted... is that we have to
offer an alternative solution for politician to save their face and not
have to admit that they went in the wrong direction, speended a lot of
public money in a dead end solution to an non existing problem.

I can hear the politician ask us "So what is your solution".

Searching for such a technical solution can be an interesting journey,
but the answer at the end will be that nothing can beat paper voting on
the cost, secrecy, trust, simplicity, ...

The money saved by not investing in electronic voting can be put at good
use to:
* increase participation (by educating)
* increase accessibility (good ballot design)
* ...


Michael McMahon wrote:
> vote at electronic-vote.org wrote:
>> Hi Michael.
>> I decided not to disclose details about ClearSoftware
>> because I'm looking for companies willing to invest in it
>> and I want to give them the competitive advantage they
>> deserve. Despite the lack of disclosed details, I'm sure
>> that the good points of ClearVoting can be evaluated
>> assuming that ClearSoftware really works as I claim:
> Ok, but I guess you haven't patented it then, because in order to patent
> an idea
> or design, you have to publicly disclose how it works. It sounds like
> ClearSoftware
> is trying to solve a problem similar to what groups like The Trusted
> Computing Group
> are working on. I'm sceptical because TCG have been working on this for
> a number
> of years and they have defined a large stack of protocols
> and specifications, all of which are published so they can be evaluated
> widely.
> Their system also depends on specialized hardware components.
> Given all this, even then they don't make claims as broad as "ensuring
> the total absence " of
> any computing tricks.
> But, even ignoring that question, there is a more fundamental problem
> with all
> trusted platforms. It might be reasonable for voting authorities to
> trust them, since they
> can run various tests to verify the authenticity of the software, but
> why should voters trust them?
> How do voters know whether the software running
> on a particular DRE is constructed as you say? A PC is just a box. Nobody
> can see the software that is running on it.
> If your system uses voter-verified paper ballots, which are audited
> independently
> of the software, then that's fine, but all of this additional stuff, is
> superfluous,
> and there isn't really anything new about it.
> all the best,
> Michael.
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