Computerworld has an article today with quotes from ITAA’s Harris Miller complaining that IT security researchers are opposing e-voting systems because they’re pushing a political agenda on behalf of the open-source software community.
Some choice quotes:
“It’s not about voting machines. It’s a religious war about open-source software vs. proprietary software,” Miller said in an interview with Computerworld. “If you’re a computer scientist and you think that open-source software is the solution to everything because you’re a computer scientist and you can spot all flaws, then you hate electronic voting machines. But if you’re a person who believes that proprietary software and open-source software can both be reliable, then you don’t hate electronic voting machines.”
Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, called Miller’s characterization “nonsense.”
“Every technologist that I have worked with believes that even if we had open-source software, we would still need a paper [audit] trail,” said Alexander. “There would be no guarantee that the software that was inspected by the public would be the same software that is running on every machine in every jurisdiction in the country.”
Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), a nonprofit organization that promotes standards and criteria for open-source software, said Miller has the issue wrong. “Most [e-voting] critics, including me, aren’t focusing on open-source vs. closed-source at all, but rather on the lack of any decent audit trail of votes — one that can’t be corrupted by software. Open-source would be nice for all the real reasons but is less important than the audit trail.”
[O]ne thing left out of all the press accounts is that ITAA and Harris Miller are being paid by the voting machine vendors to help them establish a better image. Thus, Harris’s comments should be viewed with a very strong filter in place.