E-Voting Firm Threatens Researcher: 1984 Arrives 24 Years Late

18 03 2008

Ed Felten, you may remember, is the Princeton professor who accepted the recording industry’s challenge to hack their copy protection scheme, succeeded, and was promptly threatened with a lawsuit for breaking the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA. The recording industry eventually backed down and effectively established Felten’s bonafides as a public technology expert and freedom of speech advocate.

Felten is also one of the top computer science experts raising security concerns with e-voting machines and has published numerous stories revealing serious problems with the machines in use. So when election officials in New Jersey asked him to run some tests on a Sequoia e-voting machine Sequoia, instead of embracing this test as an opportunity to prove the exceptional security of their systems, instead sent a threatening email to Felten, saying that election officials who sent a machine to Felten would be breaking the state’s terms of service with Sequoia, and that the company has:

“retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis. We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property.”

We’re not talking preventing people from making mix-CDs here but the very security and trust in our democratic elections which, some may recall, has of late been suffering a crisis of confidence. For Sequoia, a firm entrusted with our elections, to threaten someone for merely testing its product to make sure it lives up to necessary standards is far from confidence inspiring and should call into question any locality choosing to use Sequoia e-voting machines.

(credit: Techdirt)

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3 responses

18 03 2008
Barbara

I guess they didn’t want to take a chance that McCain wouldn’t win in 2008. At this rate another 4 years of Republican control and it really won’t matter about the voting machines. Hell, we won’t have a Constitution left to defend (and it will be re-written to reflect our “christian” nation) and we’ll be in another war that will eventually provoke a larger country to come here and take our asses out.
Maybe I should get to know Putin and brush up on some Russian. 😛

19 03 2008
Irving

Every state should make such testing of e-voting machines contractually mandatory before purchasing them. That they don’t is just gross stupidity, or the party in control trying to rig the game.

10 11 2008
Perdy

Well said.

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