EMAIL PAGE THREE
COLUMN 101, JANUARY 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
CAN YOU TRUST YOUR VOTING MACHINE?
"'Steve Schwartz'" email@example.com
Subject: Hack the Vote
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2003 01:37:48 -0500
latest in voting
technology promises no more hanging chads.
In fact, it does away with the paper trail altogether!
And guess who is most likely to benefit from this innovation?
is incredibly scary stuff, and Krugman is right to wonder why the hell this
isn't front-page news. I urge you
to forward this column to as many of your friends and associates as
possible--and, while you're at it, to your representatives in Congress, along
with a short note expressing your concerns.
This shouldn't be allowed to happen!
Hack the Vote
December 2, 2003
Bush supporters to a fund-raiser, the host wrote, "I am committed to
helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." No
surprise there. But Walden O'Dell " who says that he wasn't talking about his
business operations " happens to be the chief executive of Diebold Inc., whose
touch-screen voting machines are in increasingly widespread use across the
example, Georgia " where Republicans scored spectacular upset victories in the
2002 midterm elections " relies exclusively on Diebold machines. To be clear,
though there were many anomalies in that 2002 vote, there is no evidence that
the machines miscounted. But there is also no evidence that the machines counted
correctly. You see, Diebold machines leave no paper trail.
Rush Holt of New Jersey, who has introduced a bill requiring that digital voting
machines leave a paper trail and that their software be available for public
inspection, is occasionally told that systems lacking these safeguards haven't
caused problems. "How do you know?" he asks.
we do know about Diebold does not inspire confidence. The details are technical,
but they add up to a picture of a company that was, at the very least, extremely
sloppy about security, and may have been trying to cover up product defects.
this year Bev Harris, who is writing a book on voting machines, found Diebold
software " which the company refuses to make available for public inspection,
on the grounds that it's proprietary " on an unprotected server, where anyone
could download it. (The software was in a folder titled "rob-Georgia.zip.")
The server was used by employees of Diebold Election Systems to update software
on its machines. This in itself was an incredible breach of security, offering
someone who wanted to hack into the machines both the information and the
opportunity to do so.
analysis of Diebold software by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Rice
Universities found it both unreliable and subject to abuse. A later report
commissioned by the state of Maryland apparently reached similar conclusions.
(It's hard to be sure because the state released only a heavily redacted
leaked internal Diebold e-mail suggests that corporate officials knew their
system was flawed, and circumvented tests that would have revealed these
problems. The company hasn't contested the authenticity of these documents;
instead, it has engaged in legal actions to prevent their dissemination.
isn't this front-page news? In October, a British newspaper, The Independent,
ran a hair-raising investigative report on U.S. touch-screen voting. But while
the mainstream press has reported the basics, the Diebold affair has been
treated as a technology or business story " not as a potential political
diffidence recalls the treatment of other voting issues, like the Florida
"felon purge" that inappropriately prevented many citizens from voting
in the 2000 presidential election. The attitude seems to be that questions about
the integrity of vote counts are divisive at best, paranoid at worst. Even
reform advocates like Mr. Holt make a point of dissociating themselves from
"conspiracy theories." Instead, they focus on legislation to prevent
there's nothing paranoid about suggesting that political operatives, given the
opportunity, might engage in dirty tricks. Indeed, given the intensity of
partisanship these days, one suspects that small dirty tricks are common. For
example, Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently
announced that one of his aides had improperly accessed sensitive Democratic
computer files that were leaked to the press.
admission " contradicting an earlier declaration by Senator Hatch that his
staff had been cleared of culpability " came on the same day that the Senate
police announced that they were hiring a counterespionage expert to investigate
the theft. Republican members of the committee have demanded that the expert
investigate only how those specific documents were leaked, not whether any other
breaches took place. I wonder why.
point is that you don't have to believe in a central conspiracy to worry that
partisans will take advantage of an insecure, unverifiable voting system to
manipulate election results. Why expose them to temptation?
discuss what to do in a future column. But let's be clear: the credibility of
U.S. democracy may be at stake. ##
KEITH RICHARDS ABOUT MICK JAGGER'S KNIGHTHOOD: 'I'D TELL THEM WHERE THEY COULD PUT IT'
Subject: You Gotta Love Keith!
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 16:15:07 -0500
From: "'Steve Schwartz'" firstname.lastname@example.org
Richards Criticizes Jagger for Knighthood
LONDON - Keith Richards (news) has criticized his old friend and fellow Rolling Stone Mick Jagger for accepting a knighthood.
In an interview published in the December issue of the music magazine "Uncut," the Stones' guitarist was quoted as saying, "I thought it was ludicrous to take one of those gongs (awards) from the establishment when
they did their very best to throw us in jail," in a reference to his and Jagger's 1967 conviction on drug offenses, later overturned on appeal.
"Just as we were about to start a new tour, I thought it sent out the wrong message. It's not what the Stones is about, is it?" he said. "I told Mick, 'It's a ... paltry honor.'"
"He defended himself by saying that (Prime Minister) Tony Blair (news - web sites) insisted that he took the knighthood. Like that's an excuse. Like you can't turn down anything. Like it doesn't depend how you feel
Jagger said Tuesday that his busy touring schedule has finally allowed him to arrange a date to collect his award from Queen Elizabeth II (news - web sites) at Buckingham Palace: Dec. 12.
Richards, who was once briefly imprisoned for allowing marijuana to be smoked in his home -- another conviction that was later overturned -- said he doubted he would ever be offered a similar honor.
"Because they know what I would've said ... they knew I'd tell them where they could put it," he said. ##
* * *
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN 101
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ