Q. CNBC (on election day, 5 Nov 2002): How tamperproof are these voting machines? That seems to be a concern of some who feel that it only takes one person, one hacker who can screw up an entire election. How valid is that criticism, Mr. O'Dell?
A. Wally O'Dell (CEO of Diebold voting machine company): Well, there`s always risks, but you know, these things are not connected to the Internet. They're individual precinct by precinct, location by location. They're double checked before they're sent out. We think the technology is fabulous and very bulletproof.
Such Diebold statements were believed by State officials, e.g.: Dr. Brit Williams (23 Apr. 2003 written statement; Williams was the official voting machine certifier for the state of Georgia, and a key member of the panel that chooses national Independent Testing Labs for voting machines): The GEMS computers are not connected to any communication system, including the Internet, and contain no software other than the Windows operating system and the Global Election Management System object code.
However, in fact, diagrams downloaded off the internet from Diebold's own web site show how to connect their machines to the internet, and interviews with other Diebold employees who actually install the machines show that they used those internet connections (and modem connections too) extensively. A last minute "patch" was installed on all 22,000 voting machines in Georgia, which Williams (confronted with this) admitted neither he nor anybody else had ever examined. (This is illegal.) Newspaper reports indicated software patching occurred during the election. Standard procedure was to download such patches off a web site. "Private" election data was found posted on Diebold web sites which evidently had got there by an upload in the opposite direction. Another example of Diebold's "bulletproof" technology (advertised as "world class cryptography") was the fact that their machines could transmit vote totals in encrypted form via modem. However, every machine used the same crypto key, and that key was publicly posted on Diebold's web site. Result: anybody on the planet could send in an "authenticated" vote total to anywhere by modem.
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