Md.’s Electronic Voting ‘Terribly Vulnerable’ to Fraud

“Maryland’s electronic voting system remains “terribly vulnerable” to fraud despite steps taken by the state to correct security flaws, a consultant who conducted a study of the system last January testified Wednesday.

Michael Wertheimer of RABA Technologies said his review of the latest report by the State Board of Elections on what it is doing to protect the integrity of the November election “leads me to the opinion this system still would receive a failing grade.”

Wertheimer was a key witness on the opening day of a hearing in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in a suit filed by TrueVoteMD seeking to force the state to take further steps to assure that there will be an accurate counting of votes in the presidential election […]”

SOURCE: AP via WTOP News

Md.'s Electronic Voting 'Terribly Vulnerable' to Fraud

“Maryland’s electronic voting system remains “terribly vulnerable” to fraud despite steps taken by the state to correct security flaws, a consultant who conducted a study of the system last January testified Wednesday.

Michael Wertheimer of RABA Technologies said his review of the latest report by the State Board of Elections on what it is doing to protect the integrity of the November election “leads me to the opinion this system still would receive a failing grade.”

Wertheimer was a key witness on the opening day of a hearing in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in a suit filed by TrueVoteMD seeking to force the state to take further steps to assure that there will be an accurate counting of votes in the presidential election […]”

SOURCE: AP via WTOP News

Induce Act Draws Support, Venom

“Until recently, much of the discussion among tech enthusiasts about a controversial anti-piracy bill known as the Induce Act has focused on the proposed law’s improbability.

Put forth by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the bill has been ridiculed by techies as so poorly written that it could unintentionally ban an infinite range of everyday tools — iPods, DVD burners, even paper and pencil.

But since its introduction, nine co-sponsors have signed on, both Democrats and Republicans […]”

SOURCE: Wired News

RELATED NOTE: See USACM’s letter on the Induce Act.

Md. Machines Seek Vote of Confidence

Judge to Hear Activists’ Demand For Paper Trail on Electronic Ballots

When critics of electronic voting machines warn of Maryland becoming another Florida, with the potential for hundreds if not thousands of lost votes this fall, State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone shudders.

[…] But today, Lamone finds the touch-screen system she has championed under attack as an Anne Arundel County judge begins a three-day hearing to determine, among other things, whether elections officials should be forced to provide a paper trail that can verify the results […]”

SOURCE: Washington Post [free registration required]

Copyright Bill Needs Big Changes

“In response to a request from a Senate committee, consumer electronics companies and public-interest groups on Tuesday submitted changes to a controversial copyright bill that would hold technology companies liable for encouraging people to infringe copyright.

The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (SB2560), sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), is supported by the music labels and Hollywood studios, which say peer-to-peer software — which some music fans have used to share copyright files illegally — has wreaked havoc on their livelihood […]”

SOURCE: Wired News

RELATED NOTE: Also see USACM’s letter on the Induce Act.

Microsoft Quits a U.N. Standards Group

“Microsoft on Monday withdrew from a United Nations software standards group for commerce, citing “business reasons.”

Earlier this year, Microsoft’s participation had created controversy within the group, which is attempting to define standards for creating a new generation of Internet services to automate buying and selling through networks of computers.”

[…] Two people who participate in the standards group said that several United States and European companies were concerned about intellectual property rights guidelines in effect within the group. The guidelines would force corporations who contribute technology to indemnify the United Nations against potential challenges involving intellectual property claims […]”

SOURCE: NY Times

USACM Prepares FY2004 Report of Activities and Achievements

USACM recently prepared a report covering activities and achievements for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2003, and concluding on June 31, 2004. During the period, USACM’s achievements included convening a workshop for election officials and technologists to discuss the risks and vulnerabilities of paperless electronic voting systems; educating policymakers and courts regarding the impacts of laws and legislation that may limit the freedom to publish and to engage in analysis and research; and working in partnership with the Computing Research Association and other key stakeholders from the computing community to highlight the crucial role federal investment in IT R&D plays in the advancement of all fields of computing and the development of new experts. Click here to review the report.

Army: JetBlue Data Use Was Legal

“An Army data-mining project that searched through JetBlue’s passenger records and sensitive personal information from a data broker to pinpoint possible terrorists did not violate federal privacy law, according to an investigation by the Army’s inspector general.

The inspector general’s findings (PDF) were accepted by some, but critics say the report simply highlights the inability of the country’s privacy laws to cope with 21st-century anti-terrorism efforts […]”

SOURCE: Wired News

The Call Is Cheap. The Wiretap Is Extra.

“At first glance, it might seem like the simple extension of a standard tool in the fight against the bad guys.

But in fact, wiretapping Internet phones to monitor criminals and terrorists is costly and complex, and potentially a big burden on new businesses trying to sell the phone service.

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with rules that would compel the businesses to make it possible for law enforcement agencies to eavesdrop on Internet calls […]”

SOURCE: NY Times [free registration required]

Ninth Circuit Declares Grokster, Morpheus Not Liable for Infringement

“California – Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made a crucial decision (PDF) in support of technology innovators by declaring that distributors of the peer-to-peer software Grokster and Morpheus cannot be held liable for the infringing activities of their users. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued on behalf of Streamcast, the creator of the Morpheus software, in a case that pitted dozens of entertainment conglomerates against two small software companies.

The Ninth Circuit decision is based in part on the fact that P2P networks have significant non-infringing uses, and that they can help artists earn money. The ruling is similar to the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1984 Betamax case, which determined that Sony was not liable for copyright violations by users of the Betamax VCR. […]”

SOURCE: EFF

RELATED NOTE: Also see USACM’s letter on the Induce Act.