David Dill

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National: Russia probably didn’t hack US election – but we still need audits, experts say | The Guardian

The computer science experts who want the presidential election results audited don’t think a Russian vote-hacking operation is likely, either. But they’ve been upset for a decade that there’s no way to make sure. Jeremy J Epstein, senior computer scientist at research center SRI International, said the effort to audit the vote “was and is a nationwide effort over a long period of time”. The Green party candidate, Jill Stein, has applied for a recount. The Clinton campaign has said it will cooperate. “The Stein folks have somewhat hijacked the message, but I’m not worried,” Epstein said. “In fact, the goal of an audit is to verify [emphasis his] that the result was as originally reported.” Epstein describes himself as “75% confident that Trump won, and 25% that either there was an error in counting or there was a hack”. “Any accusation that it’s partisan and of-the-moment is ignorant of the history,” Epstein told the Guardian. Epstein, formerly of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, is one of the country’s foremost experts on election security and last year successfully crusaded to get insecure WinVote voting machines decertified and removed in Virginia.

Full Article: Russia probably didn't hack US election – but we still need audits, experts say | US news | The Guardian.

National: Modern technology’s effect on voting | UHCL The Signal

Advancements in technology have already impacted the U.S. voting system, taking it from all paper to electronic ballots. Now that we live in a digital age, how close are we to online voting? There are currently four ways to vote in a U.S. election: paper ballots in person or by mail, direct recording electronic systems (DRE), ballot marking devices, and punch cards. Various companies have created phone apps and services to make it easy for people to register to vote, but actual voting in national elections cannot be done online. “Right now, any computer system on the planet can be hacked,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder and co-director of Fight For The Future (FFTF). … In 1974, the first form of electronic voting, the Video Voter, was used in a U.S. government election and, although that method ended in 1980, its successor, the DRE voting machine, is used in many states, and it is the main method used in Texas. “The problem with these machines is that, to trust them, you had to believe that it was possible to build error-proof, tamper-proof computerized equipment, and as a computer scientist, I know that’s not possible,” said David Dill, professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford University and founder of Verified Voting. “We need to get rid of all paperless DRE’s in the U.S., and have improved auditing laws and procedures everywhere.”

Full Article: Modern technology’s effect on voting | UHCL The Signal.

National: ‘We don’t want voters to be terrified’: Officials seek to allay fears of a ‘rigged’ election | The Washington Post

In an election one side claims is “rigged” as the other was apparently targeted by Russian hackers and Wikileaks, voters may be concerned that some entity will alter the results on Nov. 8. It’s possible, according to some experts, although the likelihood of a significant attack on ballot boxes is exceedingly low. “Everything is hackable,” said Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at SRI International, a nonprofit California-based think tank. “Everything could have bugs in it.” Can you rig a U.S. presidential election? Experts say it’s basically impossible. On one hand, the U.S. election system is hard to sabotage. Anyone trying to swing the electoral college would have to meddle with voting machines in jurisdictions from Alaska to Maine — or at least about a dozen swing states. “You’d have to be pretty good at microtargeting,” said Jamil N. Jaffer, director of the Homeland and National Security Law Program at George Mason University. “To have an impact, you would have to know where it’s going to be close.” And different voting technology means different weaknesses. The District, Maryland and many counties in Virginia use paper ballots — a gold standard for election-watchers. These ballots are scanned and counted electronically, leaving behind a hard copy of each voter’s preferences. “It seems old-school, but if you have good security practices and a good ballot chain of custody . . . it’s more indelible than bits and bytes in the ether,” said Pamela Smith, president of the nonpartisan Verified Voting, a nonprofit that works for fair elections.

Full Article: ‘We don’t want voters to be terrified’: Officials seek to allay fears of a ‘rigged’ election | The Washington Post.

National: Why Can’t Americans Vote Online? | Tom’s Guide

If we were to poll the readers of this article, we would likely find that the vast majority of readers — if not all — regularly shop online, make banking transactions online, fill out registrations and applications online, pay taxes online and maybe even vote for contestants in reality shows online. Yet Americans cannot vote for candidates for public office online. … But experts warn that online voting isn’t as simple as it sounds. Even though it has already been tried in a few places around the world, it probably can’t be secured. We already worry about hackers stealing our credit cards and our identities. If we voted online, we would have to worry about hackers stealing our elections, too.… Several countries have experimented with online voting, but none has forged ahead as far as the tiny Baltic country of Estonia, where nearly a third of ballots are cast online. But Estonia’s elections don’t look anything like those of the United States, where more votes are cast in some cities than in all of Estonia. The Estonian online voter must plug a national ID card — mandatory for all Estonians older than 15, and each of which has an embedded encrypted chip — into a card reader attached to his or her computer. It sounds secure, but two independent assessments, led by Verified Voting in 2011 and the University of Michigan in 2014, found serious flaws with the system.

Full Article: Why Can't Americans Vote Online?.

National: Online voting is a cybersecurity nightmare | The Daily Dot

It’s easy to get excited about internet voting. Social media, Skype, online banking—these types of tools and services have expanded our voices, connected us the world over, and added convenience and efficiency to our lives. Who wouldn’t want to see elections benefit from these kinds of advances? But internet voting isn’t online banking or video calling or tweeting. Voting is a special activity, and trying to do it online poses special problems, most of which security researchers don’t yet know how to solve.  “The technology is just too insecure to entrust such an important right of American people to that insecure technology,” said Bruce McConnell, global vice president and cyberspace program manager at the East West Institute and former deputy under secretary for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security. “The technology is just too insecure to entrust such an important right of American people to that insecure technology.”

Full Article: Why we won't all be voting online anytime soon | The Daily Dot.

National: ​David Dill: Why Online Voting Is a Danger to Democracy | Stanford Report

If, like a growing number of people, you’re willing to trust the Internet to safeguard your finances, shepherd your love life, and maybe even steer your car, being able to cast your vote online might seem like a logical, perhaps overdue, step. No more taking time out of your workday to travel to a polling place only to stand in a long line. Instead, as easily as hailing a ride, you could pull out your phone, cast your vote, and go along with your day. Sounds great, right? Absolutely not, says Stanford computer science professor David Dill. In fact, online voting is such a dangerous idea that computer scientists and security experts are nearly unanimous in opposition to it. Dill first got involved in the debate around electronic voting in 2003, when he organized a group of computer scientists to voice concerns over the risks associated with the touchscreen voting machines that many districts considered implementing after the 2000 election. Since then, paperless touchscreen voting machines have all but died out, partly as a result of public awareness campaigns by the Verified Voting Foundation, which Dill founded to help safeguard local, state, and federal elections. But a new front has opened around the prospect of Internet voting, as evidenced by recent ballot initiatives proposed in California and other efforts to push toward online voting. Here, Dill discusses the risks of Internet voting, the challenge of educating an increasingly tech-comfortable public, and why paper is still the best way to cast a vote.

Full Article: David Dill: Why Online Voting Is a Danger to Democracy | Engineering.

United Kingdom: Voter Website Crash Shows Why Online Voting is a Pipe Dream For Now | Inverse

The U.K. government’s website for voter registration crashed Tuesday night, sparking panic that citizens may miss out on casting their ballots. Voters scrambled to submit their application forms before the midnight deadline, in order to participate in a June 23 referendum on whether to leave the European Union. A sudden surge in traffic caused the service to collapse, raising questions about whether online democracy is really ready for primetime. Politicians across the spectrum are now calling for a deadline extension after the fiasco. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the center-left Labour Party, said on Twitter that the deadline has to be extended, given the circumstances. Corbyn was joined by Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Nigel Farage, whose right-wing U.K. Independence Party is campaigning for a leave vote. The site was only used to register voters, rather than to actually count votes in an election, but it does highlight some issues that may arise if democracies switched to an online ballot box. What happens if the site crashes near the deadline? Would the cut-off point get extended? If certain groups were seen as disenfranchised, like Firefox users who couldn’t get the site to display, would this draw into question the result’s legitimacy?

Full Article: UK Voter Website Crash Shows Why Online Voting is a Pipe Dream For Now | Inverse.

National: Online voting would be a ‘complete disaster’ according to Stanford Computer Scientist | Examiner

Imagine the convenience of being able to cast a vote from the comfort of a couch, coffee shop, library or a toilet if you’re truly trying to capture the spirit of the 2016 election cycle. Online voting may seem like a no-brainer given myriad of ways one can connect to the internet. However, according to David Dill, a computer scientist from Stanford, it would be a ‘complete disaster.’ It’s not just him that isn’t fond of the idea of putting the future of our country into computer, but security experts as well. “Computers are very complicated things and there’s no way with any reasonable amount of resources that you can guarantee that the software and hardware are bug-free and that they haven’t been maliciously attacked,” Dill said in an interview. “The problems are growing in complexity faster than the methods to keep up with them. From that perspective, looking at a system that relies on the perfectibility of computers is a really bad idea.”

Full Article: Online voting would be a 'complete disaster' according to Stanford | Examiner.com.

National: Privacy advocates sue Pentagon over Internet voting test results | The Washington Post

Privacy advocates, worried that the Defense Department is sinking millions of dollars into unproven online voting systems, are suing the Pentagon for the release of long-promised test results on whether Internet-based voting is safe. The subtext of the lawsuit is that after spending millions on online voting experiments — in 2010 alone, the Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program received $9 million from Congress to design and test Internet-based voting — privacy advocates worry that online voting could spread in the United States without proper vetting. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a D.C.-based advocacy group, filed a lawsuit last month against the Pentagon, under the Freedom of Information Act, to compel the release of the results of the department’s test of its online voting system. Ginger McCall is the director of EPIC’s open government project. “Voting is an integral part of our democratic system,” she said, “and it is imperative that the public have information about whether or not e-voting systems are really secure and reliable before they are used or more money is spent on their acquisition.”

Full Article: Privacy advocates sue Pentagon over Internet voting test results - The Washington Post.

National: Verified Voting Marks 10 Years of Safeguarding US Elections | Scoop News

In 2004, Verified Voting began working to make U.S. voting systems more secure. The organization sprang from the energy created when founder David Dill issued the Resolution on Electronic Voting, which today has 10,000+ endorsers including top computer security experts and elected officials. Dill was subsequently appointed to the California Ad Hoc Task Force on Touch Screen Voting by then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley (now a Verified Voting Board member). Click here to read Dave and Kevin’s look back at the origin of their relationship… What a difference a decade makes! At the time, fewer than one-sixth of the states had a requirement for voters to be able to verify their vote on a paper record or ballot: today, nearly three-fourths do. Yet, this November, sixteen states will use voting systems that do not provide an independent means of verifying individual votes, and nearly half the states will not conduct post-election audits to verify the accuracy of election results.

Full Article: Verified Voting Marks 10 Years of Safeguarding US Elections | Scoop News.

National: Electronic voting and the security of a paper trail | Marketplace.org

On this election day, I’ll be looking at a map. Not of swing states that could go red or blue, but a map measuring states’ voting technology, and which have the best and the worst chances of messing up the count. For instance, Wisconsin: Good. Georgia: Not so good at making sure votes are recorded in a way that can be audited or recounted if needed. David Dill is a computer science professor at Stanford, and he’s been paying close attention to electronic voting issues and security for years. Dill’s been watching a few states in particular.

Full Article: Electronic voting and the security of a paper trail | Marketplace.org.

Pennsylvania: Voting machine glitch: selects Romney when voter touches Obama | Slate

Reddit, Twitter, cable news, and the universe at large have been figuratively blowing up today over a YouTube video that appears to show a Pennsylvania voter attempting to select “Barack Obama” on a voting machine and watching in alarm as the machine selects “Mitt Romney” instead. The video is embedded below. The good news is that it’s unlikely this is an indication that anyone, man or machine, is trying to systematically steal the election. That’s partly because these sorts of glitches are actually not that uncommon on voting machines. Which I suppose is also sort of the bad news. I spoke with David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford and founder of the nonprofit watchdog group Verified Voting, to get his take on the apparent glitch. Dill told me it looks like a classic case of “vote-flipping,” a problem that has cropped up sporadically in U.S. elections since the dawn of voting machines.

Full Article: Pennsylvania voting machine glitch: selects Romney when voter touches Obama..

National: Fundamental Security Problems Plague Proposed Internet Voting Systems | MIT Technology Review

A decade and a half into the Web revolution, we do much of our banking and shopping online.   So why can’t we vote over the Internet? The answer is that voting presents specific kinds of very hard problems. Even though some countries do it and there have been trial runs in some precincts in the United States, computer security experts at a Princeton symposium last week made clear that online voting cannot be verifiably secure, and invites disaster in a close, contentious race. “Vendors may come and they may say they’ve solved the Internet voting problem for you, but I think that, by and large, they are misleading you, and misleading themselves as well,” Ron Rivest, the MIT computer scientist and cryptography pioneer, said at the symposium. “If they’ve really solved the Internet security and cybersecurity problem, what are they doing implementing voting systems? They should be working with the Department of Defense or financial industry. These are not solved problems there.”

Full Article: Fundamental Security Problems Plague Proposed Internet Voting Systems | MIT Technology Review.

National: Why can’t you vote online? | The Verge

Elections in the United States aren’t perfect. Between rare instances of voter fraud, attempts to make it harder for people to vote, voter intimidation, egregious manipulation of voting districts by major parties, and regularly low voter turnout, there’s plenty of room for improvement — leading governments at all levels in the US federal system to examine alternative voting mechanisms that could alleviate these issues. In the age of the internet, an obvious solution for many is remote internet voting — an option that seems more palatable every year given the adoption of PCs, mobile devices, and broadband internet. And in 2012, more citizens than ever will have access to online voting assistance: more than 30 states and the District of Columbia will offer registration or provide absentee ballots for overseas voters using email or an internet portal. But can internet voting really solve problems in US elections? New voting technologies face a mountain of scrutiny.

Full Article: Why can't you vote online? | The Verge.