Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Diebold goes from shonky to shonkier

Inspection of a Diebold voting machine by the Open Voting Foundation has discovered that the machines are even less secure than thought.

Diebold machines have an internal switch which allow the machine to boot a modified operating system. So, using nothing but a screwdriver and a few moments, a crooked operator can take an audited Diebold machine and flip the switch to run hidden, unaudited software.

I find it difficult to credit that this could be incompetence on the part of Diebold's engineers. It seems likely that this is a deliberate feature built into the machine. They have made the testing and certification process irrelevant: no matter how good your tests, you can have no expectation that on the voting day the machine will be running the certified software.

Since Diebold voting machines were used in large numbers, perhaps even the majority, of polling booths in the 2004 and 2000 US Presidential elections, there can be no confidence in the legitimacy of the results.

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