...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, December 11, 2003
      ( 1:18 PM )
Live Free or Diebold

There will hopefully be continuing outcry against Diebold and its stranglehold on the upcoming elections in this country. Today it appears from an article in a the Montgomery County Gazette that the company might be prepared to sabotage states that insist on paper printouts of the votes cast on the machines.

ANNAPOLIS -- An e-mail found in a collection of
files stolen from Diebold Elections Systems'
internal database recommends charging Maryland
"out the yin-yang" if the state requires Diebold
to add paper printouts to the $73 million voting
system it purchased.

The e-mail from "Ken," dated Jan. 3, 2003,
discusses a (Baltimore) Sun article about a
University of Maryland study of the Diebold

"There is an important point that seems to be
missed by all these articles: they already bought
the system. At this point they are just closing the
barn door. Let's just hope that as a company we
are smart enough to charge out the yin if they try
to change the rules now and legislate voter receipts."

While it may on first look seem hilarious that a hacker was able to get into the Diebold records and steal their documents, on a second look, the fact that a hacker was able to get into a Diebold system is appallingly frightening.

According to news reports, a hacker broke into
the Ohio company's servers using an employee's
ID number and copied a 1.8-gigabyte file of company
announcements, software bulletins and internal
e-mails dating back to January 1999.

The purloined files include discussions of the
security of Diebold's voting machines, which has
been a contentious issue in Maryland and other states.

I think states are starting to realize that they took a big step in the wrong direction by embracing these machines. While the federal government may try to mandate this type of voting, the states should have the right to demand accountability, security and "proof of purchase" - basically backup proof of what people voted for. What we're talking about is a way to recount. If there is no record kept of the votes made on these machines, there is no way to do a recount. Thus, the entire integrity of an election is thrown into jeopardy. No candidate should want to face the uncertainty of an impossible-to-prove recount on these machines.

Just the fact that someone hacked into Diebold itself gives me the heebeejeebies. Am I too paranoid? Go on, tell me the truth. I can take it.

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