Towards more effective approaches, by Bev Harris
TOWARD MORE EFFECTIVE APPROACHES (AND WHY HACKING DEMOs ARE NOW INSANITY)
by Bev Harris
About once a week, I am asked to bring in a team somewhere and demonstrate the hacking of a voting system. I don’t, because I’ve concluded this is a form of insanity, tracking the old adage that insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over again and expecting a different result.
If you want to see a demonstration of hacking voting machines, just click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hNxBa6KENE to watch the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy.”
That was a groundbreaking effort, by the Black Box Voting organization and two exceptional British filmmakers (Russell Michaels and Simon Ardizzone). But in the end it changed nothing, and new hacking demonstrations never will.
That’s because they focus public attention on security, diverting attention from the real issue: Our right to self-government, and how current election systems have stripped away necessary public controls.
The crucial concept here is not “security” — because as it turns out, you can NEVER secure a system against its own administrator — but rather, the right to self-government. It is smack dab front page in the US Constitution that representatives shall be chosen “by the people”, and what has happened with our election system is that the choosing system for our governance has been usurped by the government itself, removing it from the public. And if you doubt that we have an inalienable right to self government, take a close look at the Declaration of Independence, and for added academia read the diagrams carefully in the eminent Laurence H. Tribe’s book “The Invisible Constitution,” where self-governance is a cornerstone.
Back to hacking: You cannot secure a computer from its own administrator. Its administrator is an insider in a government office, and/or the vendors he selects.
WHY WON’T HACKING MORE SYSTEMS PROVE OUR POINT?
It was a good start, to help the public with conceptual issues about computerized vote counting. But:
1. Nothing meaningful has changed, and some elections jurisdictions actually went right out and purchased the exact specifications they saw in the demonstrations, for in-house use.
2. Further thought on this reveals an incontrovertible truth: Any concealed, computerized system can be subverted by its own administrator.
3. Focus on computer security gave birth to an ivory tower and rather greedy little sub-industry, self proclaimed “security” experts who promise to make a system that we could trust. Upon further review, what they mean is that we should trust THEM to tell us that the system “has been verified.”
If you doubt this, try asking any one of these consultants if they mean “the public can see and authenticate” or “it will be verified for the public to trust.” Inevitably, (after professing not to understand your question and sometimes, attempting to divert you to some altogether different topic), they come down to this: “It will be verified [by us] for you.”
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