stupidity

Why voting machines suck and undermine democracy [Update]

If there are electronic voting machines where you live, and you've ever considered using one of those... well, you should probably reconsider.

In this CNN report (M4V video, 13 MB) Avi Rubin explains why voting machines are a really, really bad idea. To quote some issues raised in the video:

  • There's no way for voters to verify that their votes were recorded correctly.
  • There's no way to count votes in a publicly viewable fashion.
  • Meaningful recounts are impossible.
  • Machines must be trusted not to fail (and we all know that computers never fail, right? ... right?).
  • The Diebold machines contain gross design and programming errors (a detailed analysis is available).
  • The quality of voting machines cannot be determined, because their code is proprietary (closed systems can never be trusted, especially so in such important scenarios)

The CCC Berlin has a very detailed analysis of the topic (German), with many links to further articles.

I'd recommend everyone to not use voting machines at all, but rather perform traditional pen-and-paper voting, if you value your vote... Also, make sure to inform relatives and friends about the risks of voting machines, and complain to your local responsible authorities, and ask them to remove these unreliable, insecure machines.

Update 2006-09-18: Just in case you thought that maybe you can trust the Diebold machines after all - their locks can be opened with a standard hotel minibar key.

(via The Lunatic Fringe)

ASCII art spam

Whoa, those spammers are getting really desperate now, aren't they?

Today in my inbox:

apy8       0lyk   b8xvdtfa        glb13            0uurqjl     5xju3p0jb            1uk9z
 yhak     o3vl    tytjx4ui        m6frp           64zx9238iq   128lkxk2wh           fzqpv
 mkqj     g1tn    wgd293sv       s3mnhaq        y1vvng731dsy   f39iqddc65f         5fgnwcx
 t9ba4   wg8j1      ucq8         uviyoz6        4k2g4     fo   wz0i   q7pn         hqblemz
  pu9t   1dwr       mocp         nlihfws       mm3w0           j4zb   0fzh         o6nljyq
  0luy   to8a       ljd0        5bi8 zpfh      93ab            tbpr   hztc        foza p7sf
  5vw7t a4nce       2fjr        oxto 2t0r      37v3   mxvfq0   x6qtw1j6me         ye51 b7pt
   pwtx gg5l        mtfr       h7390 0voxg     btc8   t7vj3n   twn72qv80         92sj8 8qhuc
   4xoq 9m3u        r3i0       4dgf   2k8l     o6u8   eegabt   70vrl5ukj         6bpp   u336
    9p5tqyo         ixkj       7mkcss82ko2     6dgtj    tdei   eayi tnjgi        ujh0x073p63
    jbxotva         alrs      ubvdw9kele9rs     ed7bi   vbjz   0tlb b1svn       15xh90ojyj56u
    zzfla7m       3o1jnrrc    kvlxt74rl46l1     yy5mng2kl7dj   8bmq  793jb      qzqkjf00glzsf
     e6doi        hfcqgi2t    w8bd     vydk      elqfyxtdk7g   upqf   ippbf     ca5l     cgrm
     npnrd        dzsgo4jz   q9zo       co4g       6kabvxc     sqpy    5ds54   qhpb       krpw

Free Software package with the most unusual/noteworthy/funny/stupid name

I cannot decide which of the above applies, but the winner is definately PlanetPlanetPlanetPlanetPlanet. I swear I looked twice at my calendar to check it's not April 1st today...

Look behind you, a Three-Headed Monkey!

Funny ad by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA):

Pirate Ad

There's a PDF version, too.

Btw, finding out what the subject of this post has to do with the contents of it is left as an exercise to the reader.

(via Starfrosch, originally from the EFF)

Mafia Boss Secures His Data with Caesar Cipher

This is just too funny not to blog about it...

You might have heard that the mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano has been arrested recently. Now people found out that he used some "cryptography" in his messages to relatives and so on. They were decrypted pretty fast: Mafia Boss's Encrypted Messages Deciphered.

"Looks like kindergarten cryptography to me. It will keep your kid sister out, but it won't keep the police out. But what do you expect from someone who is computer illiterate?" security guru Bruce Schneier, author of several books on cryptography, told Discovery News.

(via Bruce Schneier)

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