Friday, March 18, 2011

arriving late to the party -- gaming voting machines

MIT is the stomping ground of a lot of very, very smart people, and you would expect them to be on top of the latest trends in technology -- i mean, isn't that what they're all about?

so when reading this item in the institution's technology review periodical, i had to pause in amazement. their flash news bulletin:

"When the stakes are high enough, hackers have figured out how to defeat all manner of computers not even connected to the internet: ATM machines, credit card readers on gas pumps; you name it. How long then, in a society in which elections are already bought and sold through political action committees and K-Street lobbying, before the monetary incentive to steal votes from the latest generation of voting machines exceeds the difficulty of pulling it off?" How Long Before Hackers Steal Votes? - Technology Review

not wanting to be the bad news bear again, but a lot of people for a long time have questioned the integrity of these systems, and pointed out various conflicts of interest between manufacturers like dibold and the republican party -- particularly in the state of ohio, and especially during the 2004 presidential election.

instead of shock, this rates as a DUH! moment. as the graf above notes, hackers are into all kinds of exploits to take over systems that have a much lower impact on our national elections and system of government -- indeed, hackers are present everywhere.

what's really scary, but not really unexpected, is that the government and the quasi-government-slash-corporate interests that run the US government are way out front on this issue. not as our guardians and protectors, either.

elections are too messy and unpredictable to vest any serious power in the voters -- as easily manipulated as they are. instead, they use their media mouthpieces to magnify astroturd movements like the tea party far out of proportion to their actual numbers. with the appearance of mass appeal, it's much easier to rig critical, pre-selected races to bring about the desired outcome.

again, this is far too important for the people who own the country to leave to chance. they doubtless have their best people working on the project, while at the same time making reports like this one in technology review seem controversial and off the wall.

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