Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Geek Wednesday: Diebold Meets Its Match

Great video on Web 2.0, featuring mavens of the Open Source Society

Those geeks from Princeton, whose video we featured two weeks ago, have posted a reply to a challenge they'd received from Diebold. The bottom line of it all is a lesson that Diebold should have known already: if the subject is zeroes and ones, you don't mess with geeks. Unless, that is, you feel like being exposed for an asshole. Watch as the Diebold talking head, in classic Karl Rove fashion, attempts to blow some techno-breeze past the geeks from Princeton:

DIEBOLD: The current generation of AccuVote-TS software — software that is used today on AccuVote-TS units in the United States — features the most advanced security features, including Advanced Encryption Standard 128 bit data encryption, Digitally Signed memory card data, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) data encryption for transmitted results, dynamic passwords, and more. The unit [that Princeton tested] has security software that was two generations old, and to our knowledge is not used anywhere in the country.

PRINCETON: We studied the most recent software version available to us. The version we studied has been used in national elections, and Diebold claimed at the time that it was perfectly secure and could not possibly be subject to the kinds of malicious code injection attacks that our paper and video demonstrate. In short, Diebold made the same kinds of claims about this version — claims that turned out to be wrong — that they are now making about their more recent versions. Far from ignoring Diebold’s “normal security procedures”, we made them a main focus of our study.

Yeah, you don't mess with geeks when it comes to facts. The Rove playbook of lies, distortions, half-truths, and personal attack just doesn't cut mustard with the propellor head crowd. That's why their press is so much more clear-eyed than their muddled counterparts in the mainstream media. Check out their even-handed but incisive surgery on the AT&T / BellSouth merger, which is a truly ominous instance of the trend toward the consolidation of corporate hegemony in this nation.

It was a geek newsman who called out Larry Ellison—to his face—on Oracle's attack on Red Hat Linux, when the shark of enterprise geekery announced his company's sweet new deal on Linux enterprise support. When Microsoft and Novell joined in on the pile-up, the Red Hat was a squashed, bloody mess.

Jeez, geekdom sure would be fun if it weren't for the fact that it's brutally controlled by a few major corporations. One of those is Apple, whose stranglehold on the portable music and video player market remains supreme, with the release of my cat's new collar decoration and its various iPod siblings.

But damn, they make some terrific computers. I had my first close-up look at one of the new MacBooks (a guy at work got a raise and wisely spent it on the best gear he could get); and I've never seen a machine boot so fast and smooth since the DOS days (you young ones, never mind—it was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth).

I swear, if I ever find another job, I'm going to reward myself with an MBP. But first, I have to find another corporation that's willing to pay me enough for it...isn't life strange?

No comments: