Nature of Man
… nothing that happens to Man is ever natural

11 October 2006, Wednesday

In Both Legalese and Programese the Verdict for Democracy is Bad (0xBAD)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 19:18

(Trough Boing Boing)

Those rights will go one by one, just you watch it…

Anyway, here is a translation of the bill into the C programming language (by Kevin Poulsen)

if (person = terrorist) {
} else {

Non-coders are advised to read the paragraph titled Assignment versus equality or follow the more detailed discussion at Boing Boing)

Coding jokes aside, the exact same thing (or rather the exact opposite thing), equality vs assignment was used several years ago at an unknown attacker gained access to the Linux kernel code repository, and made an attempt to insert a backdoor vulnerability in the Linux kernel code, which was just barely caught.

Back to democracy and software, here’s another article in the NYTimes, “Software Being Developed to Monitor Opinions of U.S.”. Neat, huh! I told you it could be done, only now it’s gonna be used by Uncle Sam to cause fight terror.

“The U.S. is the first nation to have developed nuclear weapons. Moreover, the U.S. is the first and only nation ever to deploy such weapons.”

I would add that “peace” and “democracy” are becoming more and more joke words in the US reality. I won’t say their citizens deserve it, but I won’t say they don’t either. Those two elections surely were faked, but they were also very close tied before the faking.

Not much of a difference in Europe too, there is a paper by a group of Dutch hackers (The funny domain means The “We do not trust voting computers” foundation) who reverse engineered a voting machine and wrote about its weaknessess.

90% of the of the votes in The Netherlands are cast on the Nedap/
Groenendaal ES3B voting computer. With very minor modifications,
the same computer is also being used in parts of Germany and France.
Use of this machine in Ireland is currently on hold after significant
doubts were raised concerning its suitability for elections.
This paper details how we installed new software in Nedap ES3B voting
computers. It details how anyone, when given brief access to the devices
at any time before the election, can gain complete and virtually
undetectable control over the election results. It also shows how radio
emanations from an unmodified ES3B can be received at several meters
distance and be used to tell who votes what.

Rop Gonggrijp, Willem-Jan Hengeveld,
Andreas Bogk, Dirk Engling, Hannes Mehnert, Frank Rieger, Pascal Scheffers, Barry Wels

The security of the thing turns out to be just laughable. The Dutch law apparently required a mechanical lock to be present on the device as a part of its physical security. Well, that’s a fucking retarded thing to do, especially in the Netherlands, where they hold bloody lockpicking contests! Not only that, but all machines use exactly the same key which can be easily purchased for about one Euro.

The software protection of the “maintenance mode” consisted of a hardcoded password, namely “GEHEIM” (Dutch for “SECRET”). At least it is longer than “sex”, “love” and “god” ;)

In their preliminary phase, they also stated on their web site that the machine could “easily be programmed to play chess or to lie about the election results.”, which was (unwisely) challenged by the manifacturer.

. . .

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