Friday, February 09, 2018

Are Monopolies Making It Easier For Putin To Hack U.S. Voting Machines?


I'm sure Señor Trumpanzee's only responses to this ominous NBC News headline: Russians penetrated U.S. voter systems, top U.S. official says, will be "fake news" and "no collusion, everyone agrees there was no collusion." Oh, yeah... and "quick, look over there at my military parade." Drug addicts and morons elected a treasonous con-man to the White House. George W. Bush still gets high level security briefings. Yesterday he was at an economic summit in Abu Dhabi where he said there's "pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled" in the 2016 election. He didn't talk about Trump's collusion but said that "It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results." And he had some harsh words for one close Trump ally, Putin: "He’s got a chip on his shoulder. The reason he does is because of the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony... That’s why NATO is very important... "He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’ He only thinks, 'How do I win, you lose?'" And all this from inside the Trumpist Regime is pretty damning:
The U.S. official in charge of protecting American elections from hacking says the Russians successfully penetrated the voter registration rolls of several U.S. states prior to the 2016 presidential election.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, said she couldn't talk about classified information publicly, but in 2016, "We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated."

Jeh Johnson, who was DHS secretary during the Russian intrusions, said, "2016 was a wake-up call and now it's incumbent upon states and the Feds to do something about it before our democracy is attacked again."

"We were able to determine that the scanning and probing of voter registration databases was coming from the Russian government."

NBC News reported in Sept. 2016 that more than 20 states had been targeted by the Russians.

There is no evidence that any of the registration rolls were altered in any fashion, according to U.S. officials.
No evidence? But they hacked the registration rolls for some other reason? Fun? Gimme a break. Can any rational American not worry that Trump and his detestable, treasonous family are working with the Kremlin to steal the midterms in November, especially in states where there is no way to check what happened at the outdated screens that Trump adamantly refuses to update?

This week, the anti-trust publication, The Corner from the Open Markets Institute asked a straight-forward question every American ought to be wondering about, Does A Voting Machine Oligopoly Open The Door To Mass Hacking? "Lots of people are worried about the security of our voting machines in the upcoming 2018 congressional election—and with good reason. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Russians attempted to hack election systems in 21 states in 2016." They're not just looking towards the Kremlin though.
Yet one of the biggest threats to the integrity of our electoral system has been widely overlooked: the concentration of the voting machine industry into the hands of three corporations. Fewer and bigger electronic voting systems, which are used in all fifty states and many democracies around the world, make it easier for hackers to disrupt more votes. They also simultaneously reduce the competitive pressure on these corporations to invest in hardening their systems.

Since 2002, mergers have cut the number of players from eight to three. The remaining firms-- Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Dominion Voting Systems, and Hart Intercivic-- control roughly 92% of voting machines across the United States, according to a report from the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative.

This concentrated market structure threatens the integrity of our elections in three ways. First, the companies can exert their market power to lock-in clients. As the financial research firm PrivCo has written, the company with the largest market share, ES&S, is “economically incentivized to offer closed-system solutions.” This arrangement makes it difficult for county or state officials to switch to the newer or more secure system of a rival, especially after a breach.

Second, the industry’s high degree of concentration reduces investment in making voting machines more secure. The three incumbent companies can easily cooperate in carving up the existing market. And little outside competition, according to the authors of the report, means “limited incentives for innovation.” Indeed, a 2017 economics paper published by New York University Professors Germán Gutiérrez and Thomas Philippon validates this point, noting, “industries with less competition and more concentration (traditional or due to common ownership) invest less.”

As the 2018 congressional elections approach, election officials, vendors, and advocates are looking to address this issue. One idea comes from a growing chorus of politicians calling for greater enforcement of antitrust laws. If applied to the voting machine industry, that would begin to solve the problem and help de-concentrate the voting machine industry.

Another comes from Greg Miller of Open Source Election Technology (OSET). OSET is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Election Assistance Commission to create standards for electoral machinery, build open-source software, and help states certify secure equipment. The hope is that improved standards would reduce lock-in effects used by companies like ES&S and create a more competitive voting machine market.

Unfortunately, neither of these fixes will solve the problem quickly. State and county officials often enter into ten-year contracts with election vendors, and many of those existing contracts run through the 2020 election.
Austin Frerick is running for a House seat in southwest Iowa after his work at the Treasury Department. This is right up his alley-- so I asked him. "Trump," he told me, "is not the cause, but rather the result of the concentration in our economy. Another Trump will come along until we tackle this root cause. Concentration in our economy is everywhere, but it's not obvious at first. I didn't realize it until I was an Economist at Treasury."

Meanwhile, Democrats keep winning more and more special elections in the heart of Trump country-- like the shocking Missouri House race on Tuesday-- and even the most old school and conservative Beltway pundits like Dave Wasserman, who never goes out on a limb, are predicting a GOP collapse in "safe" red districts. His most recent congressional map updates all have something in common-- 21 Republican-held Trump districts moved a little bluer-- even in places like Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina and-- hold on-- Staten Island!

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At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read shit like this and all I hear is the sound of crickets.

This is America. people just don't fucking care.

At 6:28 AM, Anonymous wjbill said...

How long has Rupert Murdock been working with the Russians? 20 yrs?

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Jack said...

The only one way to have elections results we can trust is to go back to paper ballots — marked by hand, and counted by hand.

To satisfy the press, a preliminary machine count by optical scanning could be done on election night, but no machine count should ever be considered official. Only a subsequent old-fashioned hand count of old-fashioned paper ballots over the next few days should determine the winner. And those hand counts must be witnessed by all interested parties — and by the press!

Unlike voting machines, paper ballots can’t be hacked. And while optical scanners could be hacked , it would be pointless to hack them if the machine counts were unofficial, and if any discrepancies between the machine counts and the official hand counts would automatically trigger an investigation.

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous ronnie mitchell said...

I don't know why I comment here, its tumbleweed junction,but having followed this site for many years it is becoming intolerable with its way of shoehorning something about Russia into ANY story but to see another story that has been debunked already pop up again is just too much. I didn't like the 1950's Russia Russia Russia stuff then or now to hell with any evidence we can actually see, all we get are either anonymous officials or representative of agencies we should NEVER trust outright without verifying anything they say. Meanwhile DWT acts as the evidence is in and whith Robert Meuller at the helm you gotta trust what he says, forget the lies that lead to all the ongoing carnage of the Iraqi invasion that HE promoted as well.

Everyone, including members of the Democratic Party, knows that the solution is paper ballots but it isn't even under discussion because both parties don't want free and fair elections.The obvious hijacking of the 2016 Primary should put to rest any arguments that differs with it. But with the current group-think of the Dims,which DWT has joined in with drums a bangin',and that kind of mindset I guess that Russian agent Jill Stein was acting out of character when she pushed hard for voting recounts, aka look a the process, the Democratic party gave NO aid.
Sad to see DWT fall into our own Glenn Beck territory, stuff like that headline based on evidence you can't see from a Homeland Security person, an agency that has been pushing the story from the get go, including all the ridiculous ones like hacking the VERMONT ENERGY GRID, (no one even called the Public utility first) which was DEBUNKED just like THIS same claim of 21 States being hacked.
Stop ginning up a possible THIRD , and probably the last, World War.

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a fall 2003 fundraising letter sent to Republicans, from Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell: "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

Diebold Sells U.S. Elections Systems Business to ES&S

And we are told to worry about Russians hacking our votes?

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack and Ronnie remember the 2000 and 2004 election fraud, I see. 11:48 helps with details.

But it all tracks back, direct line, to mind-numbingly stupid voters who participate in a totally fraudulent (any time either party amuses themselves to make it so) process and could not care less about it. You know, like that seahawks-steelers superbowl or that lakers-kings game 6 or that sonics-suns game 7, FL and OH in 2000, OH in 2004 or NY, AZ, NV D primaries in '16.

The money wanted the steelers to win; the lakers to advance and to have a Jordan-Barkley finals. One could argue that they wanted the Pats back in SB LII so they gave them 2 first half TDs by penalty against the Jags.

It's more obvious about congress. The only excuse for the 2009 D congress to NOT do anything was corruption. Even an inept FDR congress and DOJ could have put bankers in prison and broken up TBTF banks after 2008. The only excuse for ACA lacking a PO is corruption. The only excuse for continuing and expanding global wars is corruption by the CMIC. The only excuse for "impeachment is off the table" is corruption.

Yet DWT still wants us to pack the democraps with more and more and more... at all costs.

Just how stupid would an electorate have to be? It's a moving target. Every year, they need to be stupider. Is there a lower bound? We'll find out in 9 months. I'm betting there isn't.


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