Latest Attempt at Secure E-Voting

Something largely missing from the run up to the elections here in the US yesterday was discussion of e-voting, either recent advances or new problems. Maybe the absence was a consequence of it being a mid-term election. TED released this talk into the void on the day of the elections.

The speaker, David Bismark, hits on some of the key challenges of e-voting. Reliability and privacy are indeed critical but accuracy and accessibility are missing from his presentation. I cannot find anything when searching for Bismark’s name and evoting other than this TED talk. The paper receipt he shows seems very similar to systems about which I’ve read before like David Chaum’s Punchscan.

Does anyone have any more info about this project, even a name? So far, promises of software independent, accurate, and reliable voting haven’t passed muster, mostly due to the intense difficulty of mastering conflicting goals. I’m curious for more information on how Bismark’s work stacks up.

An Anonymous, Verifiable E-Voting Tech, Slashdot

feeds | grep links > UK Teen Jailed Over Encryption Key, OLPC’s New Tablet Not for the Developing World, Data Portability Comes to Facebook, and More

  • British teen jailed over encryption password
    Slashdot has the details and link to the full story. I cannot say that this would have end better here in the US as there is a fairly straightforward dodge to 5th Amendment protections. In and of itself, an encryption key is not incriminating. I don’t know that all judges hold with that interpretation but I am sure some prosecutors have pushed the argument or will do so.
  • More details on hacking the DC internet voting pilot, Freedom to Tinker
  • DC suspends online voting test, Slashdot
  • OLPC’s new tablet not for the developing world
    I didn’t catch this aspect of the new grant to the OLPC project to work with Marvell in producing a new tablet. The device in question, as The Register explains, won’t be produced for distribution in developing nations like the XO. Negroponte is explaining the tablet, a departure in many ways for efforts past, will be an interim step to the XO 4, the next devices meant to serve the project’s main mission of affordable educational technology.
  • Libyan, .ly, domain shut down for violating that countries standards, ReadWriteWeb
  • Data portability finally comes to Facebook
    Jacqui Cheung at Ars Technica was one of many to cover the announcements today from the dominant social network. She doesn’t speculate about the ability to export all of your data or the new dashboard, similar to Google’s privacy dashboard, that gives a more comprehensive view of your apps and what data they access. I am skeptical they’ve turned a new leaf. The other announcement, about ways to group your friends, also seems like it is reactionary to me. Rumors have been floating around for a bit now about a Google social network and the most compelling evidence would have the service strongly differentiating based on a user’s ability to segment their friends into different contexts and audiences.

feeds | grep links > iPhone Apps Leak Personal Data Too, Monitoring Employees Online, Why Comcast Can Read Your Email, and More

  • Many top iPhone apps collect unique device ID
    I wondered about the reality of data leakage on the iPhone after last week’s story about a studio of Android apps that were snarfing up location data and other tidbits. Slashdot links to some research that answers that question, not surprisingly demonstrating that both mobile platforms suffer from these issues.
  • Monitoring employees’ online behavior
    Bruce Schneier links to a piece that I believe made the rounds late last week. It didn’t really catch my eye until you pulled out the two most interesting points. The first is the sort of social data mining being discussed isn’t just for workplace behavior but encroaches into the personal life of employees. The second is the usual fear based rhetoric being used to whip employers into a lather so they’ll more likely buy this load of nonsense instead of trusting and respecting the privacy of their workers.
  • Why Comcast can, but probably won’t, read your email
    Nate Anderson at Ars Technica draws attention to a clause in the cable operators Ts&Cs that shouldn’t be surprising at this point. He goes on, though, to ask them why they need the broad right to monitor customer communications. The answer should resonate with concern over the recent news of a renewed push by US law enforcers to gain broad, new info gathering powers over the net. If you think Comcast is covering its rear, now, imagine how much worse this could get.
  • Free Software Foundation turns 25, Slashdot
  • Malcom Gladwell critical of potential for social media to effect change
    Sara Perez was one of a few folks who linked to a piece by the author at the New Yorker. I cannot say I entirely disagree with Gladwell but I think the tools are immaterial. No new capability is going to spark motivation to act in and of itself or more critically fuel the determination to overcome challenges. That being said, I think he definitely underestimates how social networks and messaging can aid devoted change agents and possibly awake those who don’t realize they have a calling to act.
  • Technology cases on the Supreme Court docket, Wired
  • DC voting systems pwned by UMich researchers, Wired

Following Up for the Week Ending 9/19/2010

Following Up for the Week Ending 9/5/2010

feeds | grep links > Why Privacy Isn’t Dead, H.264 Royalty Waiver Extended Again, and More

  • Why privacy is not dead
    Many of the people I follow online re-posted the link to this brief article by danah boyd on Technology Review about how our implementation of privacy in networked systems needs to evolve. Much of what she says resonates with what I was trying to say in my podcast rant about complex privacy and privacy controls. Hopefully more people will pay attention to a researcher whose focus is in this area than did to my muddled rantings. If you struggled to understand what I was trying to communicate in my own rant, please read this post by boyd.
  • A new coalition forms to offer self-service private cloud
  • MPEG-LA extends royalty fee period for H.264
    The H was one of several sites to have this news. Its still a little unclear exactly when the new waiver period ends, what exactly “end of the license period” means in practical terms. Regardless, this is only for players, not for encoders. By comparison, Google’s patent grants for WebM make both ends of video, production and consumption, free as in beer and liberty. There is also nothing stopping the MPEG-LA from changing terms on new licenses, even if existing licenses are still in some royalty-free grace period. Chris Foresman at Ars Technica clarifies that the waiver of royalties only covers free internet streaming, excluding for-pay video and other uses.
  • Police extend detention of e-voting critic

feeds | grep links > Pacman on a Voting Machine, PS3 Jailbroken, the Sound of Sorting Algorithms, and More

  • Researchers re-program voting machine to play Pacman
  • PS3 hacked bis USB dongle
  • The sound of sorting algorithms
    Rob at Boing Boing shares some videos that show what sorting algorithms would sound like. Go directly to andrut’s videos on YouTube and read the associated info for details on how he generated the sounds as well as a bit of history as this was apparently not the first time someone came up with and implemented this idea. I love it, it adds a nuance and texture to thinking about these algorithms above and beyond the usual visualization used.
  • Fate of net neutrality in France in the balance
    Fabrice Epelboin at RWW has a good overview of the politics and the likely outcome in the policy making on the subject of net neutrality. On the one hand is strong support for online censorship to fend off the usual demons conjured forth to justify such curtailing of online freedom. On the other Epelboin gives more cause to hope in the form of a few savvy MPs and considerable higher consciousness and activism in the space in the wake of Hadopi, France’s three strikes law.

feeds | grep links > Data Retention Snuck into Child Protection Declaration, Where Are the Promising E-Book Readers, Another Case Against Apple’s Tools Restrictions, Macedonia Enables Massive Online Surveillance, and More

  • Search data retention clause snuck into EU child protection declaration
    EFF has the details, including that a majority of members of the EP didn’t spot the close and signed the declaration. Several have since withdrawn their signatures. Once again, no one is suggesting that protecting children online is a goal not worth pursuing. As the post says, it is not worth utilizing measures to do so that compromise other human rights.
  • Where are the promising e-book readers, post-Kindle, post-iPad?
    Jon Stokes at Ars Technica takes a look at two of the more promising e-book readers announced but not yet on the market. Both appear to have succumbed to delays and possibly an inability to deliver on ambitious technology promises. Both may be in financial trouble, with rumors of sale being sought for the companies behind them. Stokes sees the iPad as contributory but not entirely causative for the once promising future of these devices having evaporated. I’d be more upset if I, like Stokes, wasn’t still being print editions and enjoying them more than any kind of screen.
  • Apple’s iOS tools should compete on their strength, not arbitrary rules
    Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet’s Open Source blog has a decent rant that sums up many of the issues with Apple’s restrictions on tools and languages for its mobile platforms. He talks up Appcelerator, a company and tool caught in the middle that translates from other languages to Objective-C, seemingly getting around Apple’s restrictions. It is unclear whether this tactic will work but the adoption by developers points to a clear opportunity if Apple would just relax about its proprietary tool chain.
  • Macedonia introduces law allowing deep, persistent online surveillance
    Cory shares the horrifying tale at Boing Boing, what reads like any cyberlibertarian’s worst nightmare. Just about everything a law enforcement agency could want for wire-tapping online appears to be included. I don’t know what the history of policy is in Macedonia but it seems clear that the government ignored advice from several NGOs that gathered to discuss the human rights implications of the draft being passed without amendment.
  • Did SC use 2nd hand voting machines de-certified in another state?
  • Why banning filming of police is a terrible idea
  • New technical paper on ways to shift TV spectrum to wireless broadband

feeds | grep links > Speeding an Algorithm through Intuition and Experimentation, Apple Rejecting for RegEx, Objectively Studying Danger of Software Patents, CFP Kicks Off, and More

Following Up for the Week Ending 3/14/2010