USACM & CRA Issue Joint Letter in Support of NIST Funding

USACM and the Computing Research Association (CRA) recently sent a joint letter to Congressional appropriators in support of funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories. In the letter, USACM and CRA describe the crucial and broadly beneficial nature of NIST’s work and voice support for funding levels equal to (or higher) than the levels proposed in legislation under consideration in the Senate. The joint letter concludes that “NIST provides an invaluable setting for industry, academia, and government to work together on crucial technical issues,” and that the “underfunding of NIST will adversely affect [its] credibility as well as [its] ability to function, and will have serious long-term consequences.” NIST labs are also working to support e-voting security and standards initiatives.

A copy of the letter is available here

USACM & CRA Issue Joint Letter in Support of NIST Funding

USACM and the Computing Research Association (CRA) recently sent a joint letter to Congressional appropriators in support of funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories. In the letter, USACM and CRA describe the crucial and broadly beneficial nature of NIST’s work and voice support for funding levels equal to (or higher) than the levels proposed in legislation under consideration in the Senate. The joint letter concludes that “NIST provides an invaluable setting for industry, academia, and government to work together on crucial technical issues,” and that the “underfunding of NIST will adversely affect [its] credibility as well as [its] ability to function, and will have serious long-term consequences.” NIST labs are also working to support e-voting security and standards initiatives.

A copy of the letter is available here

Diverse groups criticize passenger screening program

“A diverse set of organizations submitted comments this week criticizing the Homeland Security Department’s revised airline passenger pre-screening system known as Secure Flight, hoping to thwart the effort before it gets off the ground.

Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Business Travel Coalition, Electronic Privacy Information Center and American Conservative Union filed their comments on Secure Flight on Monday, the last day public comments were allowed. About 500 submissions were received overall, the majority from private citizens.

The comments from EPIC, however, went so far as to call for a suspension of the program until the Transportation Security Administration and other agencies involved in the effort are willing to disclose key information to the public […]”

SOURCE: GovExec.com
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Judge Dismisses Touch-Screen Voting Suit

“MIAMI – Eight days before Election Day, a federal judge ruled Monday that Florida’s touch-screen voting machines do not have to produce a paper record for use in case a recount becomes necessary.

U.S. District Judge James Cohn said that the machines “provide sufficient safeguards” by warning voters if they have not cast a vote in a particular race and by allowing them to give their ballots a final review.

Rep. Robert Wexler [D-Fla.] had sought either a paper record or an order switching voters in 15 counties from touch-screens to optically scanned paper ballots by 2006 […]”

SOURCE: AP via Yahoo! News

Electronic Voting Raises New Issues

” Electronic voting systems that were touted as the solution to the paper ballots and hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election have become a new source of controversy as experts debate the reliability of software that operates the new systems, whether local election officials have the technical competence to run them and how there can be a recount on machines that keep no paper record of votes cast on them.

In the days leading up to the Nov. 2 election, critics of the new systems are voicing their concerns about the integrity of the ATM-like machines that will be used by one-third of the nation’s voters — more than double the number that used them four years ago […]”

SOURCE: Washington Post [free reg. req.]

F.C.C. to Seek Net Telephone Oversight

“FCC Chairman Michael Powell said Tuesday that he would seek broad regulatory authority for the federal government over Internet-based telephone services to avoid stifling the emerging market.

Powell told a receptive audience at an industry conference that letting states regulate Voice over Internet Protocol,or VoIP, services would lead to a patchwork of conflicting rules like those which have ensnarled the traditional phone business for decades […]”

SOURCE: AP via NY Times [free reg. req.]

Researchers and registrars debate e-voting

From Slashdot:

Paper Trail writes “There’s a fascinating discussion going on right now over at SiliconValley.com. A group of computer scientists, journalists, voting activists, and county registrars are discussing the e-voting mess in an online forum that runs all this week. The panel is a who’s who of e-voting: Avi Rubin, David Dill, David Jefferson, and registrars from San Bernadino and Riverside, CA. 

F.T.C. Files First Lawsuit Against Spyware Concerns

“The Federal Trade Commission formally announced yesterday its first assault against spyware – bits of computer code that surreptitiously install themselves on the computers of Internet users to track their activities, push them to Web sites, barrage them with advertisements, and otherwise wreak havoc with their machines.

The commission filed a lawsuit in a federal court in New Hampshire last week against Sanford Wallace, the owner of Seismic Entertainment Productions and Smartbot.net, contending that Mr. Wallace and his companies had violated federal law, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce […]”

SOURCE: NY Times [free reg. req.]

E-voting recommendation adopted by Council of Europe Committee of Ministers

The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers [has agreed to] the first international legal text on e-voting in elections and referendums.

The recommendation sets out a blueprint for governments planning to use new technologies for future elections and referendums.

[…] The legal and technical guidelines of the Council of Europe indicate how to build, run and supervise e-voting systems to ensure that results are as reliable as those delivered by traditional paper-based methods. The Council’s recommendation emphasises the need for new voting methods to meet the principles of universal and equal suffrage, free and secret ballots and for the systems to be secure, transparent and accountable. It covers issues such as electoral lists, information to voters and vote counting […]”

SOURCE: Council of Europe