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Diebold in the news on the eve of a November Election

Welcome to the Korporatist Republik der Amerika. Where votes represent the vote of the only people that count.
Diebold in the news on the eve of a November Election

So why do Democrats and Greens still believe that the "electorial process" somehow represents the "voice of the people"?

current Diebold stuff in the news:

ALSO: State Report Finds Sensitive Voter Registration Database Vulnerable to 'Across-the-Board Access'
Diebold, State Election Director Lamone Continue State of Denial...
Guest Blogged by John Gideon (with additional snark provided by Brad Friedman)

The Washington Post is reporting in Friday editions that the FBI is investigating the "possible theft" of Diebold electronic touch-screen voting system source code in Maryland.

While the Maryland State Board of Elections admits that the disks contained "the software... used in Maryland in the 2004 elections," Diebold denies everything. Of course. They gave their catch-all apologia the software is for "versions... that are no longer in use in Maryland" although they were forced to acknowledge "the version of one program apparently stored on the disks is still in use in 'a limited number of jurisdictions.'"

The disks feature logos from Ciber Inc. and Wyle Labratories, Inc., two labs that test voting machines and software (sort of) for Diebold. Both firms deny the disks are theirs.

According to the article...

The disks delivered to [ex-Delegate Cheryl C.] Kagan's office bear labels indicating that they hold "source code" the instructions that constitute the core of a software program for Diebold's Ballot Station and Global Election Management System (GEMS) programs. The former guides the operation of the company's touch-screen voting machines; the latter is in part a tabulation program used to tally votes after an election.

Three years ago, Diebold was embarrassed when an activist obtained some of its confidential software by searching the Internet. The company vowed to improve its security procedures to prevent another lapse.

The release of such software poses a risk, computer scientists say, because it could allow someone to discover security vulnerabilities or to write a virus that could be used to manipulate election results."

WaPo goes on to report...

The Washington Post obtained copies of the disks Wednesday and allowed Avi Rubin, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague and a graduate student, to review the software on the condition that they make no copies of it.

"I would be stunned if it's not real," Rubin said.

Rubin, who has said that electronic voting systems that do not produce a paper record of each vote cannot be secured, led a team that produced an analysis that pointed out security vulnerabilities in the Diebold software found on the Internet in 2003.

Sam Small, the graduate student, said the version of Ballot Station "was consistent with what we've seen previously." Small could not gain access to the GEMS software because the material on two of the disks was protected by a password."


The Diebold statement said "it would take years for a knowledgeable scientist" to break the encryption used on the software apparently contained on the disks delivered to Kagan. But Rubin said "the data and files were not encrypted" on the Ballot Station disk he reviewed.

So will Diebold just continue to deny that anything has happened or can happen? Will MD State Election Director Linda Lamone just pass on Diebold disinformation as she always does (despite knowing better... since she's seen the unredacted scientific reports on these systems from security organizations like SAIC and RABA?) Or will someone finally understand that this is a massive problem that needs immediate attention?

Maryland, along with Georgia, was one of Diebold's original "showcase states," implementing Diebold's hackable paperless touch-screen voting across virtually the entire state since 2002. With failure after failure, we might add.

If it's all not bad enough, in what is reported by WaPo as "an unrelated development" in the same article, a new report from Maryland state auditors revealed that the state's new voter registration database does not have proper security controls in place for access to the data...

Maryland state auditors said in a report yesterday that the State Board of Elections is not properly controlling access to a new statewide database of registered voters or verifying what changes are made to it. The report comes at a time of heightened concern over the security and effectiveness of electronic voting systems.

Legislative auditor Bruce Myers said it was unusual to allow "across-the-board access" by local election officials to a sensitive database, but Lamone defended the board's practices. In a letter released with the Office of Legislative Audits report, she wrote that the board "is unaware of any allegations of the falsification of additions or deletions to the system."

Phew! Lamone is "unaware of any allegations" of changes to the voter registration database. We feel better. If she's "unaware" of them, they couldn't possibly exist... even though the state found they could possibly exist and she's unaware of them.

Not bad enough for you yet? Read on...

The Office of Legislative Audits report also said the Maryland elections board has paid bills submitted by contractors without proper documentation and has not taken appropriate steps to safeguard its computer network and Web site.

Lamone said, "It seems inappropriate to base findings on a partially implemented system," referring to the new MDVOTERS database, which Maryland has established to comply with federal law.

She said it is appropriate for local election workers to have access to the database and said procedures are in place to verify changes. Lamone concurred with the auditors' criticism of her staff's accounting practices and said they had "obtained nearly all necessary documentation" for contractors' bills.

Providing the sort of local oversight envisioned by the auditors, she said, "simply cannot be conducted with existing resources."

Apparently Lamone who incredibly still has a job feels wide and uncontrolled access to the state's database of registered voters is just fine because it's only "partially implemented."

As usual Lamone, a Democrat by the way, uses 'smoke and mirrors' to cover for her own egregious failings as the state's elections administrator.

Have we mentioned how incredible it is that she still has a job?

found at  http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3644


Another Diebold Source Code Leak
By Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University
October 22, 2006
This article was posted on Avi Rubin's Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.

This week, three disks containing Diebold source code, that appear to have come from Wyle Labs and Ciber Inc, the independent testing authorities that certify voting machines for federal qualificaiton, were delivered anonymously to a former Maryland state delegate. The story was covered this morning in the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. I was asked by a reporter to inspect the disks to verify their contents, and I enlisted Adam Stubblefield and my Ph.D. student Sam Small, and together we examined them.

The disks contained source code for the BallotStation software, which is the software on the voting machine, and what was labeled as GEMS, which is the back end tabulation system. The GEMS disks were password protected, and while I'm certain we could have cracked them, we chose not to. The BallotStation source code was not protected at all. It was the 2004 version, which is newer than the source code we analyzed in 2003, and appears to be slightly later than the version analyzed by the Princeton team. I would love the opportunity to perform a similar analysis on this code, but yesterday, we were only given the opportunity to inspect to the code to determine whether it was genuine. As a condition to inspecting the disks, we agreed not to make copies or to perform any other activity with the software. An analysis of this source code would answer many questions that I've been asked about whether Diebold fixed the problems we encountered in our previous analysis. Of course, I don't believe that all of the problems we found back then are even fixable, but some of them are.

I've been getting calls all day asking exactly what the significance is of the new software leak. I'm not really sure. If the software leaked out of Diebold, then they obviously have not learned any lessons about securing their proprietary information. If, as I suspect (due to the labels on the disks), the software leaked out of the testing labs, then that is a serious problem that has to be addressed. Don't get me wrong - I think that voting system software should be available to the public, but that is a different issue from whether or not testing labs are competent at protecting things that they are trusted with and that they believe they are supposed to protect.

found at  link to www.votetrustusa.org


Ex-delegate gets Diebold voting code in mail
Posted Oct 22nd 2006 7:11PM by Conrad Quilty-Harper
Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

With all the recent blunders and whistleblower interviews about the Diebold electronic voting fiasco, it would have been easy to believe that it couldn't get any worse for Diebold Systems. That's probably what Cheryl C. Kagan, an ex-Democratic delegate and an outspoken critic of Maryland's election chief, thought before she received a parcel containing the code that ran Maryland's electronic voting machines in the 2004 election, along with a note calling for her to "alert the media." Although Diebold Election Systems claims that the code is old and does not infringe the security of the current up-to-date system, the fact that it was sent at all exposes a fundamental security flaw in Diebold System's supposed "glitch-free" setup. The only viable solution to all this -- which would make voters happy and give Diebold Systems *some* credibility -- is if the code is released in an open source form. Even though we'd like to believe that the current version of Diebold's voting code (4.6) is more secure that the leaked code (4.3.15c), the litany of security failures on Diebold's part gives us little reason to trust them.

found at  link to www.engadget.com


Diebold Election Systems at the center of security breach maelstrom
Posted on : Mon, 23 Oct 2006 07:18:00 GMT | Author : Ravi Chopra
News Category : Technology

The FBI is investigating the alleged theft of the electronic voting software which was used in Maryland touch screen voting machines for the 2004 elections. A former state legislator reported that three disks containing the high security code were anonymously delivered to her office.

A known critic of the paperless system, Cheryl C. Kagan said that the accompanying note said that she was "the proud recipient of an 'abandoned baby Diebold source code," and also mentioned that the disks had been taken from office of the State Board of Elections. "You must save democracy" the letter added.

The revelation has sparked concerns about security of these paperless computerized voting systems, also called direct recording electronic systems, or DREs. For years security experts, academics and government officials have been protesting against the use of these paperless DRE machines citing security risks such as technical and security related glitches and the probable risk of a malicious code that could affect election results.

Diebold, a major vendor of DREs is not new to controversy. Three years ago, the company was embroiled in a similar mess when its software code was found on an open site on the internet. Studies at various universities have also exhibited how the supposedly secure code could be altered and used to manipulate election results.

The company was also in the news in 1997 when it was warned about its sloppy key management. It was alleged that only one key was used for its entire gamut of voting products which were hard-coded into their source code.

The company however has defended itself against this Maryland fiasco. A spokesman for Diebold Inc., Mark Radke allayed the security fears. The disks contained versions of the software that were not in use anymore he said. "The availability of this software poses no threat to the safety, security and accuracy of elections in any jurisdiction using Diebold Election Systems voting machines," David Byrd, the company's president said. The code that was being used now had various new security features that were not part of the earlier code, they added.

Critics however continue to remain skeptical. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., said that the suspected leak was disturbing but not surprising news. He said the security breach "raises yet another unanswered question about the Diebold technology on which our election system depends" and urged voters to take to voter-verifiable audit trails or absentee ballots. Kagan too said it was high time to put an end to the numerous glitches within the Election Board.

"Why is it that Marylanders cannot go to vote in a couple of weeks with confidence that their voting machines will work and that their votes will be counted accurately?" she asked. One however wonders if the troubles are more linked with the dubious practices of the officials manning the machine than with the technology itself.

found at  http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/9692.html
Such a simple solution 23.Oct.2006 09:07

tsalagi red

'So why do Democrats and Greens still believe that the "electorial process" somehow represents the "voice of the people"? '

So, Greens and Democrats should just stop voting. The Republicans won't have to cheat, and the problem will be fixed. I get it!

tsalagi red 23.Oct.2006 10:55

Ecotopian Yeti

yes not vote, but actively take over the election centers and news agencies. Demand the corporate media to show all the evidence that we have been living under a non democratic regime for almost a decade (at least the democracy white middle class Amerikans claim is democracy). Then we start having democratic dialogue with direct democracy. We use the electorial centers for open forums and democracy teach ins. Educate the people that democracy should me all the people regardless. For an Evergreen Revolution!

corrections 23.Oct.2006 11:54

Ecotopian Yeti

mean not me

and personally I do not think the general population is educated enough about what democracy really is or organized enough for such a revolution yet and mostly the middle class is still managing to fake their survival. So sadly enough we will mostlike continue this fascade of a system. But to those getting tired of the Soda Pop democracy of Amerika and want a paradigm shift that focuses on our relationship with the bioregion and biosphere as a whole then start asking can we fix the whole country in one sweap or do we start with our bioregion as a model of other bioregions.



Ecotopian Yeti 23.Oct.2006 13:36

tsalagi red

I will try to bite my sarcastic tongue, but what you propose is foolish.

How does conceding the entire electoral arena to the fascists going to further your cause? You admit that people are not ready, and yet you are willing to let the right-wingnuts finish trashing the few liberties we have without a fight in every forum we can. Do you think it will drive the people to rebellion when they start rounding us up and taking us to the Concentration Camps? Nazi Germany is all the evidence you need to know that won't work.

Just because I vote does not mean I believe in the system. It does not mean I believe it's not all rigged. It means I am holding on to every inch of ground I have. Every arena is important! Every one! Think about it.

tsalagi red 23.Oct.2006 15:56

Ecotopian Yeti

Ok if you know its rigged and I know its rigged then what are we doing to change that? Is voting then just giving a false legitamacy to a corrupt system. We are right now not ready for a revolution and that is pathetic and trust me I have been posting and talking about this for at least 4 years now. What might make people finally rebel is the feeling that this is no other choice a week after the elections when the media and politicians start doing their dance of "who won" and call for recounts and outright disbelief. It is at that moment that for a few the unbelievable might be possible. I am with you in this frustration and I keep thinking should I vote for Keating or Kulongoski, but is this where some of us were with Kerry before in in fear of Bush or Gore again in fear of Bush or even Clinton in fear of both Bushes. Some of us woke up and said a third party is needed and others woke up to say no the whole system is the problem. I do not want to give legitamacy to a system based on who do you fear the least nor a system that is blatantly rigged. Voting at this point gives any of the parties to continue on as if nothing changes and these, usually professional, politicians manipulate their images to keep and make more money (power in this system).

Yes the population is not ready for a revolution... has any population been ready for a revolution? But if you and others read this and come to a similar conclusion of not being apathic in our rights to determine our government but instead to be active by literally marching to these election centers, news stations and even to the capitol to refuse to leave until we have a RealDemocracy then .. just maybe then we might have that moment in time where things change. Please remember Hitler was elected and then concessions were made to his demands to make him chancellor. The Democrats right now would be those in the Weimar Republic giving Hitler a little power to feed the beast and now he has Hitler's Enabling Act (Military Commission Act). Imagine if the socialists, communists, anarchists, unionists, liberals, social democrats and conservatives (conservatives are also enemies to fascism by definition) had simply marched into the Reichstag and said we are here until Chancellor Hitler is gone. By voting we are legitamizing a system no different from what happen in the Weimar Republic did for Mr Hitler. Do you not realize we are doing the same thing that led to the concentration camps and the sad thing is we already have them too (built by Haliburton). Albert Einstein once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". We have seen that literally taking the streets, electorial offices, capitols, media centers, even taking the police stations have worked in Ukraine, former Soviet Georgia, Milosevic's Serbia and Kyrgyzstan. We have seen in these countries that when there is a hope for democratic change that the tools are the spraypaint, the banner, the symbolic flag, the vigilance of the mob, the loudness of a unifying song, "sacred color", quick gathering for a concert in from of city hall, the sign language interpetor telling the deaf community that your government lies, the embracing police that know when it is the tipping point and so much more.

Tools for a Revolution

yeti 23.Oct.2006 16:31

tsalagi red

If we vote, and they (Dem or Rep) steal our vote, then we have a legitimate claim when we say we've been ripped off.

Just how does it legitimize the system if we vote against it, or to reform it? The voters of the Weimer Republic weren't the ones who legitimized Hitler. It was those who failed to protest when the Nazis slowly and deliberately siezed the levers of power and destroyed what vestiges of democracy remained in Germany. We still have those vestiges in this country, and we need to use them until they wrench them away from us. Then it will be time for revolution if we have our shit together.

I realize that you are a seperatist (as opposed to a traditional revolutionary) and I have some sympathy for that. But a more nuanced approach to change is needed by all of us. I suggest you read the Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci, and his discussion about "war of position".

tsalagi red 23.Oct.2006 23:18

Ecotopian Yeti

I had thought about this before as well.. "how can it be a stolen election if one does not vote?" All that assumes that the candidates in the first place started off on an equal playing field (finacially) and that the people had already gone through a process of determination of who those candidates were as opposed to corporate sponsors and political parties making that choice.

Weimar Republic's politicians literally enabled Hitler with their votes just like most of the Democratic representives have enabled Bush with the patriot Act and the Military Commission Act, but it is the people that empowered that system. The people casting any vote or allowing a corrupt system to function are at fault. It is our (the people's) responsiblity to stop even the assemblance of legitamacy and function of a system that is not truly of all the people or has become the enemy of the people. We MUST disempower this corrupt sysem and to cast any vote other than the democratic right to demonstrate free speech and freedom of assemblely would be to say you still believe in this system.

vestiges are actually gone 23.Oct.2006 23:36

Ecotopian Yeti

do you (we) really have the vestiges of freedom? How do we know this? How was the World Cant Wait protest? Right now, as of the world of the post-Military Commission Act signing, do we have those rights that were endowed to the people? Ask the people who are the friends and families of victims of the GreenScare if we have those vestiges. Ask those last year who were and still are suffering from the lack of assistance from Katrina or reporters like Greg Palast after he photographed near the detention centers for refugees of that tragedy. Ask the Ohio voters who were disenfranchised or the Florida voters who watch John Bolton hault a recount in 2000. These vestiges are only allowed until the National Guards from different states are reassigned to states not their own and when Blackwater USA is there to enforce the removal of those vestiges. When is that to happen? My guess is anytime "they" need a national crises.

note I do not call myself a separatist. I am a bioregionalist who believes that in whatever bioregion you reside in you should support ecological sustainablity, healthy local economy and human rights.