Day: December 24, 2006

20 facts about eVoting in the US

I’ve cherry-picked the best ones from the list, some of which I knew about and bear repeating (the quote from the boss of Diebold) and some of which I wasn’t aware of (Jeff Dean planting back doors is software).

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

5. 35% of ES&S is owned by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, a long-time friend of the Bush family, was caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush’s vice- presidential candidates.

9. Diebold’s new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

12. Diebold employs 5 convicted felons as developers. These are the people who write the voting machine computer code.

13. Diebold’s Senior Vice-President, Jeff Dean, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree.

14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a “high degree of sophistication” to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

vBulletin threatens site over ‘depravity’

Jelsoft is the British developer of the popular vBulletin forum software that I use on and several other sites. They pay a third party, Howard Spinks, primarily to manage their licencing, but also for plausible deniability in the cases where he fucks up. (He’s your lawyer Jelsoft; he’s your responsibility.)

Like this one, where he’s effectively ordered a site to remove “morally devoid” comments from the site in order to “avoid a likely revocation of license”. Or the time he threatened me with legal action – despite having zero ability to follow through on it – because he didn’t do his homework and check licencing correctly. In other words he’s a scumbag opportunist that gives real lawyers a bad name.

Whatever about the moral standing of the posts in questions – I don’t doubt they were dodgy – trying to somehow police how software is used is not just ignorant, it’s positively stupid. One can only hope Jelsoft will finally put this monkey outside the door. They’re already trying to put the fire out on their forum.