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Perils of Internet Voting

The following is an expanded version of my letter to the editor featured in the November 12th edition of the Winnipeg Free Press.

In their editorial Modern times, ancient system, the Winnipeg Free Press recommends internet voting as a means of increasing voter turnout. Senior city hall elections official Marc Lemoine has also expressed an interest in online voting. As a computer engineer who teaches web programming courses I would urge them to reconsider.

Internet voting would be much less secure than our current system and would mean the loss of a physical record of votes for auditing purposes. We would also lose the ability to verify that each vote was cast by a unique voter. For example, a parent might be tempted to ask their 18-year-old children if they could vote on their behalf, or vice versa.

Recently, election officials in Washington D.C. invited security experts to test an internet voting system designed for overseas voters. Within 36 hours a team of computer scientists from the University of Michigan had compromised the system, allowing them to read and change recorded votes. One member of the team, J. Alex Halderman, had this to say:

“Major web sites like Facebook and Twitter regularly suffer from vulnerabilities. These high-profile sites have greater resources and far more security experience than the municipalities that run elections. It may someday be possible to build a secure method for voting over the Internet, but in the meantime, such systems should be presumed to be vulnerable based on the limitations of today’s security technology.”

Implementing internet voting in Winnipeg would require a change in provincial legislation.

More Information:

Electronic voting machines are equally troubling:

2010-11-12 11:01:52

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“Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world.”

from: If We Don’t, Remember Me.

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Replicants scare me. How long before robots like this Actroid F learn to pass the Voight-Kampff empathy test?

And if you thought that was freaky, meet Telenoid R1.

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Paper Mario is for reals!

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I cut my dog’s hair.

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Stretching Your Wrists

These Aikido wrist stretches are for anyone who types a lot.

Paraphrasing from Common Programmer Health Problems:

Perform these stretches prior to every typing session:

  1. To warm up, put your hands out in front of you and grab at the air as fast as you can 20 times. Then shake your hands, then rotate your wrists 10 times one direction and 10 times another.
  2. Start with the video exercise you’re best at and do 5-10 of them at a medium speed.
  3. Continue through each exercise. After each one shake your hands and arms and rotate your wrists to realign them. These exercises move the bones in your wrist, shaking them settles them back in to place.

Do just enough stretching to get your wrists feeling supple and relaxed. Don’t strain yourself, the motto “no pain no gain” will only damage you. Instead of forcing your joint to a certain position, bring it to that position and then think about relaxing it or “letting” it move a bit further.

I also like the ergocise wrist stretches.

2010-09-19 15:59:00

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