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Category Archives: E-Records

The Crisis of Election Security

The New York Times – The Crisis of Election Security. As the midterms approach, America’s electronic voting systems are more vulnerable than ever. Why isn’t anyone trying to fix them?

“…as the 2018 elections approach, the American intelligence community is issuing increasingly dire warnings about potential interference from Russia and other countries, but the voting infrastructure remains largely unchanged. D.H.S. has now conducted remote-scanning and on-site assessments of state and county election systems, but these are still largely Band-Aid measures applied to internet-facing servers. They don’t address core vulnerabilities in voting machines or the systems used to program them. And they ignore the fact that many voting machines that elections officials insist are disconnected from the internet — and therefore beyond the reach of hackers — are in fact accessible by way of the modems they use to transmit vote totals on election night. Add to this the fact that states don’t conduct robust postelection audits — a manual comparison of paper ballots to digital tallies is the best method we have to detect when something has gone wrong in an election — and there’s a good chance we simply won’t know if someone has altered the digital votes in the next election. How did our election system get so vulnerable, and why haven’t officials tried harder to fix it? The answer, ultimately, comes down to politics and money: The voting machines are made by well-connected private companies that wield immense control over their proprietary software, often fighting vigorously in court to prevent anyone from examining it when things go awry. In Ohio in 2004, for example, where John Kerry lost the presidential race following numerous election irregularities, Kerry’s team was denied access to the voting-machine software. “We were told by the court that you were not able to get that algorithm to check it, because it was proprietary information,” Kerry recalled in a recent interview on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show.” He was understandably rueful, arguing how wrong it was that elections are held under “the purview of privately owned machines, where the public doesn’t have the right to know whether the algorithm has been checked or whether they’re hackable or not. And we now know they are hackable.”…

Voting Machine Used in Half of U.S. Is Vulnerable to Attack, Report Finds

WSJ [paywall]- The flaw in Election Systems & Software’s Model 650 high-speed ballot-counting machine was detailed in 2007 “Election machines used in more than half of U.S. states carry a flaw disclosed more than a decade ago that makes them vulnerable to a cyberattack, according to a report to be delivered Thursday on Capitol Hill.… Continue Reading

NARA Responds to Controversial ICE Records Destruction Request

Library Journal: “The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has requested that National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Records Management sign off on a records retention schedule that would potentially destroy detainee records in 11 item categories, including accounts of solitary confinement, assault, sexual abuse, and investigations into deaths in ICE custody. Proposed… Continue Reading

HBR – Uninformed Consent

Harvard Business Review – Companies want access to more and more of your personal data — from where you are to what’s in your DNA. Can they unlock its value without triggering a privacy backlash? Leslie K. John – Marvin Bower associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School: “…Technology has advanced far beyond… Continue Reading

New bill may finally end PACER paywall

Ars Technica: “Judicial records are public documents that are supposed to be freely available to the public. But for two decades, online access has been hobbled by a paywall on the judiciary’s website, called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), which charges as much as 10 cents per page. Now Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.)… Continue Reading

UK Serious Fraud Office trialling AI for data-heavy cases

naked security – sophos: “The BBC says it looks like a kids’ digital game: a mass of blue and green rubber balls bounce around the screen like they’re on elastic bands in a galaxy of paddle balls. It’s no game, however. It is a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that connects, and then visualizes, the… Continue Reading

Security Risks of Government Hacking

Schneider on Security: “Some of us — myself included — have proposed lawful government hacking as an alternative to backdoors. A new report from the Center of Internet and Society looks at the security risks of allowing government hacking. They include: Disincentive for vulnerability disclosure Cultivation of a market for surveillance tools Attackers co-opt hacking… Continue Reading

DOJ Warns It Might Not Be Able to Prosecute Voting Machine Hackers

Motherboard: “…After more than a decade of headlines about the vulnerability of US voting machines to hacking, it turns out the federal government says it may not be able to prosecute election hacking under the federal law that currently governs computer intrusions. Per a Justice Department report issued in July from the Attorney General’s Cyber… Continue Reading

NASA releases thousands of hours of Apollo 11 mission audio

The Hill: “NASA and the University of Texas have teamed up to digitize 19,000 hours of recordings from the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first two people on the moon.  The audio was uploaded to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit website that hosts digitized versions of cultural artifacts. “One of the things that comes… Continue Reading

Government Agency Digital Products Case Study Report Now Available

Federal Depository Library Program (FDPL) – “In the fall of 2016, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Superintendent of Documents entered into an interagency agreement with the Federal Research Division (FRD) of the Library of Congress to develop and test a methodology for identifying agency digital publishing, dissemination, and preservation policies and practices. The… Continue Reading

Donald Trump, Twitter and Presidential Power to Interpret the Law for the Executive Branch

Lawfare – Posting by Jim Baker – Donald Trump, Twitter and Presidential Power to Interpret the Law for the Executive Branch “The president’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday [August 21, 2018] to several federal criminal violations, including making certain unlawful campaign contributions. The case was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for… Continue Reading

Spyware Company Leaves ‘Terabytes’ of Selfies, Text Messages, and Location Data Exposed Online

“This story is part of When Spies Come Home, a Motherboard series about powerful surveillance software ordinary people use to spy on their loved ones. A company that markets cell phone spyware to parents and employers left the data of thousands of its customers—and the information of the people they were monitoring—unprotected online. The data… Continue Reading