This is a public . . . service . . . ANNOUNCEMENT!
I guess I sort of know Cory, because we're both Disney weenies and privacy advocates. He also "called" my boxing match with Barney last year at DNA lounge. Cory e-mailed me this a call to action earlier today. To be honest, I was *stunned* when I saw the other people he'd sent it to . . . I'm in some very good company!
I figure that I spent enough time this summer pimpin' my book. Now I can try to raise awareness about a very important issue. Nothing less than the future of electronic voting (and all that implies for the democratic process) is at stake.
Read on . . .
IEEE members: save democracy from a broken standards-committee!
The IEEE, normally the sobersided epitome of integrity and accountability, has had one of its standards-committees jump the tracks. The people who are writing the IEEE standard for voting machines have been doing their best to rig their deliberative process to exclude input from non-vendors who want the standard to include performance metrics that will guard against electoral malfeasance. This is heavy stuff: the standard this committee produces will likely form the basis of the US goverment's voting-machine purchases (as well as those of governments abroad), and if there are holes in the standard today, they will be biting our democracies on the ass for decades. There's never been a clearer demonstration that "architecture is politics."
IEEE is better than this. If you're a member of the organization, please take a moment to read up on this disaster-in-the-making and then use the form at the EFF's action-center to write to the IEEE and ask them to investigate this -- before it's too late.
...instead of using this opportunity to create a performance standard, setting benchmarks for e-voting machines to meet with regards to testing the security, reliability, accessibility and accuracy of these machines, P1583 created a design standard, describing how electronic voting machines should be configured (and following the basic plans of most current electronic voting machines). Even more problematic, the standard fails to require or even recommend that voting machines be truly voter verified or verifiable, a security measure that has broad support within the computer security community.
To make matters worse, EFF has received reports of serious procedural problems with the P1538 and SCC 38 Committee processes, including shifting roadblocks placed in front of those who wish to participate and vote, and failure to follow basic procedural requirements. We've heard claims that the working group and committee leadership is largely controlled by representatives of the electronic voting machine vendor companies and others with vested interests.
If you've made it this far, and you're scratching your head a bit, read this. The Accordion Guy puts this into layman's terms MUCH better than I could.