Monday, September 18, 2006

Felten on voting machine keys

Ed Felten posted a very interesting comment on his blog today. It appears that the same key that Diebold and some Maryland officials tout as securing the memory cards in the Accuvote machine is found in hotel room minibars. Felten points out that while many of the problems that have been discovered in the Diebold machines are technical in nature and difficult to explain, this one is understandable to anyone. This example serves to illustrate to even non-technical people the public relations tactics of the vendor and its supporters. Was it really too difficult for them to design a more secure key? Who do they think they are fooling when they say that someone would have to pick the lock to access the memory cards? I can assure you that the cryptography that was saw in our 2003 analysis displayed weaknesses that were equally stunning, albeit more technical in nature.