Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Request for clarification from ORG

I've got a request for the good people at ORG. Could you clarify the scope of your objections to eVoting in the UK?

Are you opposed to :

  1. Any eVoting system
  2. Any eVoting system that doesn't include VVPAT
  3. Any eVoting system that isn't OSS / include VVPAT
  4. Any eVoting system that is commercial, but has a code release policy
There's some confusion I think in the ORG ranks on this. I've read different articles from different people calling for different things.

New views on the GNU.Free issue

I managed to have some good discussions yesterday about the issue of hating eVoting and distributing an eVoting system.

I know my previous idea was complex so a number of new ideas were put forward:

  • Jason has no idea of the contradicition inherent in saying eVoting is a danger to democracy and then distributing an eVoting system
  • Jason builds his credibility in the eVoting sphere upon GNU.Free (and therefore can't take it down, I really hope it's this one, as I've been pulling GNU.Free to pieces recently, it's very poor, very poor indeed)

I'm sure there was another one, but can't think of it now. Maybe I'll post it later if it comes back to me.

AEA Brighton 2007

I spent yesterday afternoon at the AEA conference in Brighton, very strange experience as there was a clutch of people waiting for me, ready to shake my hand and be my friend! Turns out I've become something of a darling within eVoting circles, without really trying.

Apparently Jason was there (on Monday, along with two "helpers", Ania and Becky) pretending to be a "student", although he didn't stick around for long... wonder why? I don't think he got anything out of his fishing expedition as there's been nothing posted about the conference (apart from his twisted intepretation of Sir Grahams speech).

Sunday, 25 February 2007

GNU.Free availability

I know I've asked this question many times before : "Why if Jason Kitcat is so set against eVoting is the source for GNU.Free still available on his website?".

I've had problems resolving these two, surely if you're set against something you're not going to attempt to provide a mechanism for doing it.

I asked Jason about this (for about the fourth time) on his site and received a response basically saying he'd already answered here. I'm afraid I don't agree, and I'm sure any sane reader would agree, that page advocates eVoting within a certain context (i.e. free and open software), which is a direct contradicition to his and the ORGs stance that all eVoting is a "bad thing". Nowhere on that page does it say that eVoting should never be used, which is his general opinion.

So what's the story? It seems that Mr Kitcat is fighting against all forms of eVoting in an attempt to stop commercial organisations from being involved. Why? So that a free and open implementation can be pushed... guess what's (in his mind) the top candidate? GNU.Free of course! Please bear in mind this is just my thinking on the subject, I've got no concrete evidence to support this, just my conclusions from Jasons arguments.

I wonder how the good people at ORG would feel knowing that they're possibly being used to kill commercial eVoting to promote one persons agenda (and product)?

As I've said these are just my thoughts and are not presented as fact, if anyone else has a different intepretation of what may be going on please comment. I'd love to have a different view on this.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Old Slashdot discussion

From November last year, suprisingly (given all the problems the Americans have had with their suppliers) the tone is quite upbeat. The answers provided by Hugh Thompson indicate his willingness to accept eVoting within the framework of... good auditting and well defined security procedures! Just like I was advocating. We really need to get together.


Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Estonian elections

Looks like the Estonians are gearing up for their next online parliamentary election.

Good luck guys.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Blogging about logging

It's been a while since I've nearly snarfed (the top definition, not the one about sniffing bike seats), but just came close. There's was a well balanced report on Click On last night on the BBC I was listening to again (about the Estonian experience), when I remembered that Mr Kitcat had commented on this at some point in the past. A quick search of his site turned up this article which contains the near-snarf-inducing passage:

"(I'm still pretty proud of GNU.FREE's logging and there may be better logging designs cloaked in corporate secrecy)"

For those that haven't been following the story check this article from my blog and this comment from AmmoQ on TDWTF.

The only thing that stopped it being a true snarf incident is the fact that Jason honestly believed this... scary huh?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Hello Wayne!

Glad to see you're taking an interest as well. Any chance you could convince Jason to answer some of my questions, particularly re: Postal votes & why the heck GNU.Free is still available?

Brett Kimberlin

Just came across this article on the Time magazine website about a very strange individual who seems to be at the root of some of the anti-eVoting movement in the US. I'll let you draw your own conclusions...

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Still there

The source for GNU.Free is still available at the site (linky). I'm still unclear as to why this tremendous threat to democracy is still available online, particularly since the author now feels that eVoting is the worst thing to happen to the world since the A-bomb, why hasn't it been removed? To prove his programming credentials? In the vain hope that someone, somewhere will pickup and finish what he couldn't? Who knows. We can only hope that common sense will prevail and this blot upon the coding landscape be removed, won't someone please think of the children?

Monday, 12 February 2007

Choice quote

"There are concerns about voters' perceptions of these issues. Electronic voting is potentially far more secure than the existing system. At present, I could walk into the polling station, say that I was Mr. Smith of 23, the High street, get a ballot paper, and vote. That system is insecure, but we still have confidence in it because if the real Mr. Smith comes along later and is told that he has already voted, he can prove his identity. It is therefore clear that the other person is the imposter, and people will not lose confidence in the system.

The potential biggest difficulty in the electronic voting pilots will be when Mr. Smith arrives at the polling station and is told that he has already voted electronically. The assumption might then be that someone in his household has stolen his voting card, pin number and user ID. In the same way, banks assume that someone who queries a transaction has had their card and pin number stolen and is at fault for not keeping them secure.

Such problems will challenge voter perceptions, and they raise important questions, particularly given our curious confidence in a system that is the most insecure that we could possibly create and does not even require us to produce ID when we arrive at the polling station. Those questions will be dealt with only by a clear independent report, and I suggest that the Electoral Commission should have that major responsibility."

Couldn't have said it better myself, taken from :