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Doc
Doc
Joined: Feb 27, 2010
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:07:08 PM permalink
Quote: weaselman

...Yeah, there were hacked websites lately. But that's not the right way to look at it. How many websites that were actually really protected got hacked recently?

Like, did IRS website get hacked? How about the US Treasury? FDIC? Why not?
Because it is just too damn hard, if not flat out impossible.
...

You mean sites like Google and US DoD? It appears that they are not secure enough. It depends heavily on how skilled and how determined the hackers are. And I still feel the US election process would make an extremely tempting target.
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:18:02 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

You mean sites like Google and US DoD? It appears that they are not secure enough. It depends heavily on how skilled and how determined the hackers are. And I still feel the US election process would make an extremely tempting target.



It would--you wouldn't have to steal an election but merely crash the system to have a major, negative impact.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
mkl654321
mkl654321
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:23:15 PM permalink
Quote: weaselman

Is it 21st century yet?
Why in the world can't I just go to elections.gov, type in my SSN, and vote by selecting a bunch of radio buttons?
No touch screens, no scary sounds, no "dull saws in the counting shed", no expenses, no missed school for kids, no recounts, no disputes. And no guesswork, the results are known immediately after the "polls" close.
What's the downside? (And don't tell me about hackers, it's just ridiculous)



I'll take that one step further. Why do we need "representatives"? Can't all the members of a congressional district, in the case of Congress, or a state, in the case of the Senate, log on to the government website and let their preferences be directly known, and thus be the actual basis of the vote?
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
weaselman
weaselman
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:55:23 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

You mean sites like Google and US DoD? It appears that they are not secure enough.



Google belongs to category #3 on my list - they not only don't mind getting hacked, but actually like that to happen (and no, it's not the same as dismantling all security measures, and just opening the site to anyone - still has to be reasonably hard to do to generate publicity).
About DoD, I am not sure. I am inclined to think, they are #2 (don't care, because there is no harm), but it's also possible that there was some component of #3 involved (controlled dissemination of information has always been one of the most important and valuable tools in military intelligence).
Besides, if we are talking about the same incident, they weren't really hacked, they just published wrong documents, allegedly, by mistake.

Think about it for a minute. Isn't IRS a "tempting target"? Or how about something like Fannie May? Or your local land court? Or a large hospital? A hacker could literally make billions if he could break into any of those sites. And if the motivation is political terrorism, think about what effect on the economy would make a break-in into NYSE, or E-Trade, or Vanguard or even some third-grade mom-and-dad's brokerage firm?

Trust me (I do know something about the matter), it is much-much-much harder than it is common to believe. And the simpler the web site is, the harder (even harder) it becomes to break it. Compare a real-time trading system to a bunch of radio buttons on a page.
"When two people always agree one of them is unnecessary"
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:56:19 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

I'll take that one step further. Why do we need "representatives"? Can't all the members of a congressional district, in the case of Congress, or a state, in the case of the Senate, log on to the government website and let their preferences be directly known, and thus be the actual basis of the vote?



Because the USA is a republic, not a democracy.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
weaselman
weaselman
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:57:44 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

I'll take that one step further. Why do we need "representatives"? Can't all the members of a congressional district, in the case of Congress, or a state, in the case of the Senate, log on to the government website and let their preferences be directly known, and thus be the actual basis of the vote?



That would be nice ... The problem with that though, is that the average person is either too busy or too stupid or both to be able to keep on top of all the current open issues and make intelligent decisions about them.
"When two people always agree one of them is unnecessary"
mkl654321
mkl654321
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November 2nd, 2010 at 6:58:05 PM permalink
Quote: AZDuffman

Because the USA is a republic, not a democracy.



That's kind of my point. It's a republic because it was a practical impossibility in 1789 for each citizen to make his wishes directly known to the national legislatures, at least not in time to get anything done. That obstacle no longer exists.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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November 2nd, 2010 at 7:13:41 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

That's kind of my point. It's a republic because it was a practical impossibility in 1789 for each citizen to make his wishes directly known to the national legislatures, at least not in time to get anything done. That obstacle no longer exists.



Greece did it 2000 years before that. A democracy would be anarchy. Look at it now. People in CA vote on something and the losing side sues.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
EnvyBonus
EnvyBonus
Joined: Nov 24, 2009
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November 2nd, 2010 at 7:18:34 PM permalink
Quote: weaselman

Is it 21st century yet?
Why in the world can't I just go to elections.gov, type in my SSN, and vote by selecting a bunch of radio buttons?
No touch screens, no scary sounds, no "dull saws in the counting shed", no expenses, no missed school for kids, no recounts, no disputes. And no guesswork, the results are known immediately after the "polls" close.
What's the downside? (And don't tell me about hackers, it's just ridiculous)



I think theft of SSNs is the problem with your plan. Somebody steals a bunch of SSNs, logs on at 12:01 AM or 7:01AM or whenever the polls open, and votes with the SSNs of others. Then, when the legitimate voter, they can't vote because a vote has already been cast in their SSN. I'm sure a similar type of fraud occurs in person each election, but it's much harder to pull off, especially by a small group in large scale, when you have to physically go to the polling place.
weaselman
weaselman
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November 2nd, 2010 at 7:56:34 PM permalink
Quote: EnvyBonus

I think theft of SSNs is the problem with your plan. Somebody steals a bunch of SSNs, logs on at 12:01 AM or 7:01AM or whenever the polls open, and votes with the SSNs of others.



I was simplifying. Of course typing your SSN alone would not be enough. Name, address, DOB would also be required, plus some kind of a password, that's mailed to you ahead of time.
Once again, if it was this easy to steal "a bunch of SSNs", one could make some really serious money on it. Think credit cards, loans, social security, bank accounts, insurance, taxes - you could get access to EVERYTHING.
Besides, it's not really as simple to just login and vote with somebody else's SSN (especially a BUNCH of them). Everything you do on the internet is logged. They know your IP address, your ISP, the manufacturer of your computer, most of the time, your physical location.
You could fool them once or twice by using proxies or hurds, but to make a difference in the election, you'd need at least hundreds of thousands of fake votes. It's unrealistic.

Quote:

Then, when the legitimate voter, they can't vote because a vote has already been cast in their SSN. I'm sure a similar type of fraud occurs in person each election, but it's much harder to pull off, especially by a small group in large scale, when you have to physically go to the polling place.


To the contrary, it is actually easier to do in-person. You walk in to the poll, give them a fake address (you don't need to know anything about the person, just any street address. it is easier to cast an illegal vote in US than to buy a pack of cigarettes), and walk out, without a trace. When the real person shows up, you are long gone. If you tried to pull something like this with a computer, even if you somehow managed to get hold of all of the personal information, plus the secret password, and voted, your action would still be logged, so that you'd be easily found and prosecuted.
"When two people always agree one of them is unnecessary"

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