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March 04, 2009


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Stever Robbins

Love ya, Kerns, but I'm way more cynical than you are. I don't believe for a moment that software quality is the issue; it's the human factor here. NO ONE (except the voters) has anything to gain by reliable, transparent, functioning electronic voting.

Wally O'Dell, Dieobold's CEO and a huge Bush supporter, was quite explicit in his statements in 2004 that he wanted to help Bush take the White House.

In the presence of a stated intention by the CEO of Diebold to produce a certain election result, I just can't bring myself to believe that they would adhere to rigorous quality and integrity standards. It's much easier to be a little lax in a world where 99% of the people know nothing about software standards, and leave in all kinds of fun back doors that might let you tweak things now and then. For testing purposes, of course.

Microsoft used "we're crappy software engineers who don't know how to write modular code" pretty successfully as a defense in their anti-trust case.

In the worlds of business and politics, there's tremendous advantage to the players to have lax, sloppy software that lets them achieve organizational goals that might be very much in conflict with the technical goals.

Bob Kerns

Interesting point in general about motivations.

Do you have a reference to O'Dell's specific statements handy? Otherwise, I'll see what I can turn up.

Such things are useful, but not so much to hold Diebold to account. CEOs can have opinions. My big question is WHY ARE WE BUYING THIS CRAPWARE? Diebold should not be able to include backdoors -- any attempt should be caught by the customer -- independent auditing and testing, including full access to the source code, and independent build and PKI signature on that build and independent install.

So -- turn your cynicism for a moment on the purchasing entities. What's going on there? Given Diebold's record and policies, why aren't they out of business for lack of customers? What do the people charged with ensuring a fair election have to gain by this complicity?

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