Wednesday, December 03, 2003
::: Steal the Votes Continues :::
Lots of news from the Bev Harris site.
BlackBoxVoting.org was the very first Web site to publish memos, and was the first to get a Diebold DMCA pulldown demand over the memos — it very nearly decapitated us, taking us down for 30 days! You can see just how important these memos are by visiting The Kucinich Project in the Activism Forum. Rep. Kucinich's staff used this forum, which was private at the time, to prepare his Web page with the Diebold memos
Links to some of the memos and other goodies.
U.S. Voting At Stake
This site is dedicated to publishing some of the inner workings of Diebold Incorporated, "the world's leading voting solutions provider". Both the systems developed by Diebold (and other corporations) and the cynical and sloppy methods with which they are marketed and developed threaten to damage the voting process in the U.S. by rendering it unaccountable and vulnerable to mischief.
The less trusting among you might want to load up on venerable media sources before proceeding or after doubting the reading below:
THE INDEPENDENT (article copy--must be subscribed?)
THE NEW YORK TIMES (Another for $$ archive)
WIRED Be sure to click the other stories on the left as well!
ASSOCIATED PRESS / SEATTLE PI (Uh Oh - article expired)
THE SEATTLE TIMES
So, what's the Fuss About?
To state the obvious, voting is the starting point and linchpin of the conventional democratic process in all "developed", "western" countries and many more.
Apart from being well established as the main channel for reflecting peoples' choices in politics, it is also the proclaimed political orientation for almost all countries in the world.
Keep in mind that even the most dire regimes insist on having a semblance of representative democracy installed.
In the U.S., this process failed in the presidential election of 2000 very publicly.
Improving the Process to Shreds
Under cover of the obvious need to improve the process and in the name of general innovation, the powers-that-be renewed their effort to revamp the voting infrastructure into networks of foolproof ATM-like voting machines.
Without calling into question the motives of the political and corporate players at this point, the simple fact is that IT-based processes always bear the risk of getting hacked. Even if the risk were small, and that is not the case here, we are not talking about someone sending nuisances to everyone in my Outlook address book. Something as important and valuable as the voting process should not be open to any risk whatsoever, especially since there are reliable alternatives (most of Europe does it with - PENCILS and PAPER).
Just imagine some whiz kid finding the way to (for instance) to the heart of Diebold's Accuvote-TS™ for election night, declaring himself president elect. The joke of the century for the hardened humorist, but remembering 2000, this would lead to a temporary breakdown of the federal political system, at least.
More probable and no less sinister is the idea of paid IT-professionals, engaged in tweaking the results just enough to remain believable. Because belief is all we have. Belief is all we can muster in the face of even the most absurd result, because the systems can not be reliably and independently monitored.
Ugly, Ugly, Ugly
In the case of Diebold Incorporated, a pretty ugly scenario has coalesced.
- In a number of elections (e.g. the mid-term election in Georgia, 11-2002; read this) using their technology, extremely surprising results were generated.
- Due to Diebold's copyright to the programming of the used equipment and due to the lack of regulatory bodies to insist otherwise, the inner workings of the technology are known only to Diebold. How this equipment generates results can not be verified by anyone else.
- And finally, and this is what the presented documents help prove, this technology is being developed and marketed unprofessionally and cynically.
Land of the Free, Redux
Combining this development with the massive deconstruction of constitutional rights following 9/11 (Paranoid rah-rah, you say? Read this and this), we risk irretrievably losing our most basic rights as citizens, leaving us vulnerable to a society in which power alone breeds power, not your will as citizen, however diluted, not the constitution, not a political system that we can influence.
So take a look and have a think. Maybe you will agree that it is time to help defend the influence that we still have and to retrieve the freedom that we had just a while ago.
This site is being hosted outside the U.S., because First Amendment rights are currently safer abroad.
Super WOW ... that should be enough to light a few fires under a few butts.
Hope So, besides ... tummy is growling and cats are outside in freezing cold.