What would you do if you discovered three weeks before your national elections that the voting machines your nation was about to use were easily hackable by local or foreign state actors? The Dominion electronic machines were going to be used in 16 states, and it was a “matter of national security”.
Judge Amy Totenberg decided it was all far too hairy, and too late to do anything, so she sealed the entire 25,000 word report by Dr Alex Halderman. But strangely in September the following year the author was still unable to send these “national security” documents to DHS-CISA. They were still legally sealed, and he was unable to give that information to the government.
Dr Patrick Byrne, the Stanford graduate of Philosophy, and also Asian studies, polymath, and self made Overstock billionaire wrote a story last October that in a normal world would have printed its own front page headlines, along the lines of “Scandalous report on Risks of Dominion Voting Machine Suppressed before 2020 election”. Naturally, no one has heard about it. Note that the report and study was done before the elections and contains no evidence that the 2020 elections were hacked, or stolen — it just shows how that might have happened, but even that makes it “fodder for conspiracies” and thus, not apparently something a mature democracy should allow people to read.
What’s worse than going to polls knowing the machines might be hacked? How about living under a government that might have been put there by foreign actors and is hiding that the machines made in China are easy to cheat on…
Yesterday Patrick Byrne posted Alex Haldermans Court Declaration. However the full 25,000 word report remains sealed. Apparently 70% of American votes are recorded on paper and 33 states have a paper trail for every vote. But 5 states, including Georgia, use entirely paperless machines for live voting, with no way to check…
Dr. Alex Halderman is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan. He is, in short, a Professor of Dolphin-Speech, with focus on hacking. Halderman is no fan of Donald Trump, and from his public statements I would surmise that his politics are normal academic Lefty, but intellectually honest normal academic Lefty.
At a recent hearing, Totenberg sealed the report, citing a strong reluctance to draw any public scrutiny to the sensitive details in the case. Totenberg would not even allow an election integrity group to openly advocate for disclosure of the report, according to a transcript of a July 26 court hearing obtained by The Daily Beast. Instead, the judge asked that any such argument be filed in secret under seal. “There are so many other ways to educate the public besides trying to use this case,” Totenberg warned on the call. “I’m at the end of my rope about that.”
Totenberg decided to limit circulation of the report, opting to keep it to “attorneys’ eyes only”—and away from engineers at Dominion itself— out of a concern that exposing it to company employees would make it “subject to disclosure in other litigation.” “I’m concerned enough about the information contained in it… I have seen how this can blow up,” Totenberg said, according to the transcript.
Sam Jackson, an assistant professor who teaches about online extremism at the University at Albany, told The Daily Beast that the mere existence of this story could fuel conspiracy theories.
Halderman’s report shows that hacking these machines is easy, so “Georgia voters face an extreme risk that [ballot marking device]-based attacks could manipulate their individual votes and alter election outcomes.” And Georgia will not catch it if it happens. The same is true of 16 other states using these systems. That is highly concerning. Unless a Republican says the same thing, in which case it is a conspiracy theory. So when the judge suppresses the best information our country has about an issue of national self-determination, it is not actually suppression, it is “stopping a conspiracy theory”. Because a Republican said it. And the real problem with letting citizens know that votes can be manipulated and election outcomes altered… is that conservatives might use that knowledge to “undermine the validity of elections in the minds of conservatives” (though why an election in which votes are manipulated and outcomes altered has “validity” is considered something so obvious the Daily Beast need not address it).
Is this starting to seem strange to anyone else?
There’s a lot more at the link.
In January 2022, the legal battle continued. As the hyperpartisan “Votebeat” site describes it, the report that’s sealed is no big deal. Anyone with unfettered access to the machines could find flaws, and that doesn’t mean anyone else did, or they were used. It doesn’t even mean that other states who are using or thinking of buying Dominion machines should see the report either. And it doesn’t mean the Judge should ban the use of the machines, and encourage states to use paper instead.
All you “election deniers” just need to crawl back in your holes:
Unlike Trump’s allies, we should resist falling into the logical trap of assuming that potential vulnerabilities in the machines mean they have already been exploited. We should also be clear-eyed about the link between this lawsuit and the raging fire of the Big Lie. David Becker, executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, which helped Georgia research new voting systems, says it is “simply a fact that then-President Trump used these failed claims to justify his failed coup” and his unsigned executive order.
“Whatever their intentions, it’s undeniable that those who have brought recent claims in courts attempting to decertify particular voting machines they didn’t like — all of which have failed — have found their claims and testimony used by election deniers who seek to undermine voter confidence and the legitimacy of the 2020 election and future elections,” Becker said.
Does anyone else wonder if politicians elected with hacked electronic machines may have a vested interest in keeping them hackable “for next time”?
Since direct-recording electronic machines became popular as a response to the disputed 2000 presidential election, there have been folks advocating for paper instead. In 2003, Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) introduced a bill that would have required a paper trail in all federal elections. It went nowhere, and he introduced it again in 2007, when it, again, went nowhere. It received substantial opposition from others in Congress as well as state election officials…
State election officials hoping for golden handshakes or sweet future career offers probably don’t want security holes that they are responsible for, being discussed in public either.
And when will Twitter let Patrick Byrne get his account back?
h/t To Scott of the Pacific, David E
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April 28, 2022 at 10:33AM