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Lunchtime listen: NPR on California Voting Machines

As you know, we’ve been tracking e-voting and the CA story for a while. Today’s lunchtime listen is from NPR’s Talk of the Nation, August 3, 2007. In this 17 minute segment, NPR interviews Matt Bishop, co-director, Computer Security Laboratory; professor, department of computer science at UC Davis, the leader of the hacking effort of e-voting machines certified for use in CA. His red team was able to compromise the security of all the systems tested! Particularly interesting was his description of “social engineering” which is sort of like phishing in which people are manipulated into performing actions or divulging confidential information. In other words, the *technology* can be easily hacked out of human or social weakness!

CA voting machines decertified

We’ve been tracking the continuing saga of electronic voting for a while. You’ll remember that last week, we posted about a report from two teams of researchers at the University of CA about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines. The latest news is that, on Friday, August 3, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen de-certified (with a path for conditional recertification) all the electronic voting machines used in California. Brad’s blog has the scoop:

Bowen announced that she will be disallowing the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by the Diebold and Sequoia companies on Election Day, allowing only one DRE machine per polling place which may be used for disabled voters. The paper trails from votes cast on DREs manufactured by those two companies must be 100% manually counted after Election Day. DREs made by Hart-Intercivic are used in only one California county and will be allowed for use pending security upgrades.