Monday, September 18th, 2006

From Ed Felton, one of the Princeton researchers who demonstrated the vulnerability of the Diebold voting machines, we learn they are even more vulnerable.

On Wednesday we did a live demo for our Princeton Computer Science colleagues of the vote-stealing software described in our paper and video. Afterward, Chris Tengi, a technical staff member, asked to look at the key that came with the voting machine. He noticed an alphanumeric code printed on the key, and remarked that he had a key at home with the same code on it. The next day he brought in his key and sure enough it opened the voting machine.
. . .
It’s a standard part, and like most standard parts it’s easily purchased on the Internet. We bought several keys from an office furniture key shop — they open the voting machine too. We ordered another key on eBay from a jukebox supply shop. The keys can be purchased from many online merchants.

This AP story reveals another disgrace to our nation. When I was growing up I read a lot of history. The way people treated political and religious enemies, even criminals, throughout history, on every continent, was profoundly upsetting to me. One of the things that has made me proud throughout my life is that our nation has always, in the public forum, upheld the standards that were eventually put forth in Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. That we were a signatory, and that we took the convention seriously were both matters of great pride to me. This was an aspect of our history that made us truly great. I am so deeply shaken to hear a President of the United States demand the legal right to torture people, and seeing our country throw away this most important moral principle, of humane treatment of prisoners, that the words outrage and despair seem trite and wholey inadequate.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A Saudi has been held in solitary confinement for a year at the Guantanamo Bay prison and is now so mentally unbalanced he considers insects his friends, lawyers said in a motion filed Monday seeking the man’s removal from isolation.
Shaker Aamer, a 37-year-old resident of Britain, was placed in isolated confinement Sept. 24, 2005, and has been beaten by guards, deprived of sleep and subjected to temperature extremes, according to the motion filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The treatment violates Geneva Conventions protections, Aamer’s lawyers argued. The U.S. military denied he is being mistreated.
. . .
“His only consistent contact with living beings beside his captors is with the ants in his cell. He feeds them and considers them his friends,” lawyer Zachary Katznelson said in a statement filed with the court.