Friday, November 24, 2006

corporate voting bullshit

From a comment on my previous posting

You need to recognize that municipalities such as Markham are no less concerned about the integrity of the voting process, they simply live in the real world and recognize that offering Internet voting is clearly a solution for voter apathy.

Adam Froman
Delvinia Interactive

Ah yes. The real world. The modern world. The practical, down-to-earth, realistic, Common Sense Revolution world. Paper is obsolete, so old-fashioned, like the Geneva Convention and other inconveniences.


You want the real world?
The real world is run, to a very large extent, by corporations.
Corporations exist, their sole purpose is, BY LAW, to make money.
To make money, as constrained by the legal framework.
Corporations also must, under our system, continue to grow.
To grow endlessly.

There are only two ways for corporations to grow
1) By finding more ways to charge people more money for things
2) By changing the legal framework itself, to remove constraints on them making more money

A corporation is providing Internet voting in Markham not out of the goodness of its heart, not out of a passion for citizen involvement, but to make more money.

Delvinia is promoting the wonders of that Internet voting system because it was paid to.

Tobacco companies and their paid apologists promoted smoking, even when the evidence against them was damning and incontrovertable, because more smoking made them more money.

Carbon dioxide emitters and their paid apologists promote unrestricted carbon emissions, even when the climate change evidence against them is damning and incontrovertable, because emitting more carbon makes them more money.

Corporations hate, by their very nature, by their DNA, any activity that does not transfer money from the public to corporations. If they could charge us for thinking and breathing, they would.

Internet voting is not about getting more VOTERS it's about getting more MONEY from the government to voting technology CORPORATIONS.

Corporations that, as I have already noted, may have an interest in the outcome of the voting. Let's imagine that one party said they would eliminate the legal fiction of corporations as a person if elected, and the other would increase the rights of corporations and lower corporate taxes.

Now tell me, are you going to trust the corporate designed and run voting system to decide the outcome of that election?

But you don't even need to go to that extent.
Paying people to SAY stuff is much cheaper than paying people to DO stuff well.

How do I maximize profits at my corporation?
Make the cheapest, most quickly and half-assedly programmed system possible.
Don't pay to test it.
Don't pay security experts to evaluate it.
Don't bother with secure design at all.

Computer security COSTS MONEY.
Good computer security costs A LOT of money.

Instead, just pay some people to go out and say "hey, look at this wonderful system, it's improving your quality of life. It's yet another modern convenience, like the washing machine and refrigerator. It's all about serving you, the customer."

Who are you going to trust on electronic voting?
Paid corporate advocates?

Or neutral observers, with no financial incentive, who are trained security experts.

I am a trained computer security expert.
I make zero dollars from anyone for opposing electronic voting.
In fact, it costs me greatly in my own time to oppose it.

The reason I oppose it is that history teaches us that the integrity of our voting systems is always at risk. We have a good, cheap, transparent voting system.
To destroy that would be folly.

Everything in life is not a financial transaction, with a service provider and a client. Voting is not electronic banking, it's not paying your taxes, it's not selecting the latest reality show contestants online, it's not online gambling.

Voting translates voter INTENT into voter CONSENSUS through TRUST.
It's a civic duty. It's a free interaction between citizens and the society as a whole.

Internet voting undermines that trust.
There is no way to do secure, anonymous, independent Internet voting.
It. Is. Impossible.

To compromise a paper election, I must either compromise the ballots, the local counting, or the total tally. People understand security in the physical world extremely well. Any citizen (for that matter, any child) can understand the current paper-based voting system, and could explain to you clearly the small number of ways in which it could be compromised, and how to mitigate against those risks.

To compromise an Internet election, the easiest thing is for me to compromise the voter. This may be in charming ways, like a bottle of hard liquor in exchange for your voting code. Or in less charming ways, like holding a gun to your head and watching you vote the way I want.

I can also attack:
- the home computer
- the home computer software
- the computer network
- the corporate voting software
- the corporate vote counting software

Most citizens have not the faintest idea of the security risks involved, nor do they have the skills to rationally assess the risks. Many citizens, in fact, do not even own a computer, and instead of being empowered by Internet voting, are instead further marginalized.

Wow, that's a boon for democracy, that is.

I have written thousands of words in this blog about the folly that is Internet voting. I may, on my own free time, go back and find some of those links, for those of you too afflicted with apathy to bother to do a search.

If someone who is an actual neutral computer security expert would like to debate this issue, I would be more than happy to do so.

PS When carrying your paid advocacy over to Wikipedia, at least respect the Wikipedia rules and syntax. Thanks.
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