Saturday, November 6, 2010

Was the DC Hack a Conspiracy?

RE: Washington Post article on DC hack, at

One true statements in this article is, “For more than a decade, computer security scientists have been warning of certain core dangers related to Internet voting." Yes, "warning," but never offering any evidence!

Simons and Jefferson, especially, are experts in what I call the Halloween method of opposing Internet voting; that is, telling really scary stories about what COULD happen if a system was hacked.(1) After a decade of crying "wolf!" without any actual facts to point to, the alarmists needed something concrete. The DC fiasco seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Now they use the DC hack as if it were proof that ALL Internet voting systems are as easy to hack. How convenient! Never mind the fact that in Europe, Canada, and the US Internet voting trials have all worked well – right now West Virginia and Arizona are having great success with well-built Internet voting systems.

Besides those pesky facts, all the facts have yet to be discovered about the DC incident. The article neglects to mention that the team at Trust the Vote, who built the DC system, have been long-time critics of Internet voting. That raises some yet unanswered questions.

Why did they submit a bid to build an Internet voting system? Why did the DC officials hire them, as opposed to the companies that built the currently successful West Virginia and Arizona systems?

One observer wrote on Slashdot (not me) that the system seems designed to fail.(2) Could that be true? Was the very construction of the system an insider attack? Did the builders plant a back door? What kind of communication did Trust the Vote members have with Halderman, after they got the DC contract? Just how duped and used were the DC officials?

1. For more details on this history see "Scary Stories Fail to Stop Internet Voting"
2. More details and citations at,

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Twitter: wjkno1
FB: William Kelleher

Posted as a comment to the WashP article by: wjkellpro | October 30, 2010 3:50 PM

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