Feeds

E-vote systems certifier de-certified

We can't prove anything, so neither can the Feds

Application security programs and practises

The leading certifier of US electronic voting systems, Colorado outfit Ciber, Inc., is no longer permitted to issue certifications, after federal investigators discovered appallingly haphazard testing regimes, the New York Times reports.

Ciber, which certifies the majority of US election devices, was unable to document how it supposedly tested the machines for accuracy and security. Due to the oddities of US elections regulations, no government agency is assigned this role; rather, device manufacturers pay whoever they wish to rubber-stamp their kit.

The US federal Election Assistance Commission began oversight only in July 2006, and immediately found problems with Ciber's records, but did not act until recently, presumably in fear that the November election results would be brought into question. Ciber has been barred from issuing certifications until it can demonstrate proper quality controls and documentation of its "work".

The company says it's on the mend, however, and assures investors that it will win federal accreditation this month. Voters may be less optimistic. While Ciber may not be allowed to certify machines until the Commission is satisfied with its recordkeeping, nothing is yet being done to re-examine the machines it "passed" without adequate controls.

And nothing is being done to bring transparency to the business of voting machine testing and certification, although this is perhaps the most important element of any trustworthy scheme. A good model can be found in the Nevada Gaming Commission, which investigates even the smallest complaints with Las Vegas's electronic slot machines (among many other things). If these machines were certified by anyone the makers wished to hire, the public would soon mobilise in protest, and casinos would lose significant revenue from their most blatant mechanisms of mass theft.

And yet there is no popular outcry against the lack of accountability and transparency in the e-voting racket. It's interesting to note that the public is clearly less concerned with the integrity of its election equipment than it is with a one-armed bandit in a Vegas hotel. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.