> The FBI is known to have made an exact data image of the server in March when it investigated the security hole
United States national ballot records must be kept for 22 months, and then they are likewise disposed. Florida kept (keeps?) its ballots especially long after the 2000 recount.
When a lawsuit is filed (or even when you reasonably know lawsuit will be filed), you can not legally destroy evidence related to it, even in the course of otherwise routine document destruction.
In state agencies and other large orgs, it's common to receive mass email orders from legal to preserve all documents and communications related to matter under dispute, regardless of normal retention policies, with reminders of severe legal consequences to the org and dire personal consequences if the directive is not complied with.
My claim is that this sort of action in itself is not bizzare.
That it was done with a pending lawsuit is bizzare. Whether it was due to malice or incompetance remains to be seen.
There was a special election in Georgia on June 20; the servers were wiped two and a half weeks later on July 7.
In any case, I hope the FBI still has the image.
But then, why would you possibly want to house sensitive records at a state university with an actual cybersecurity research focus ? That would just be crazy.
In any case these events are making news because they are not normal.
What’s troubling is that we don’t have a good way to know how often this behavior actually occurs. Would the IRS have found the missing data if there hadn’t been press about it? I suppose that depends on your outlook and level of skepticism.
Or, put another way, I once asked my father if the state of political corruption in the news had always been as dour as what we see today. He said that this was the worst during his lifetime.
I then asked if he thought that the state of world affairs was actually worse, or if technology had simply made it more well known. He was silent for a long time before he answered. He said that he hadn’t considered that.
Finally, when I was a teen I was frustrated when I was lectured after I got caught sneaking out in the night. My mother, with a healthy degree of smug satisfaction, told me that she was always one step ahead of me. I couldn’t throw it in her face that I got away with it on a regular basis, of course.
You must assume that when you catch someone behaving badly once then there may be other incidents that you didn’t recognize. The worst aspect of corruption is not the time that we found out about it. It’s the question of how much we’ve missed.
Simple, that is, if the prosecutor wanted to prosecute.
We are all mere resources.
I used to have a system like that under my purview, a voice recording system. Unless we were under court order or internal compliance instruction, all back up tapes were to be erased after 1 month of the conversation being recorded. This was a daily job for the VR system admins -- pull tapes from 1 month prior, erase, and recycle back into the recording system to be used again. No special instruction needed to do a BAU task.
If a court order was received a tape was pulled out of the general pool, and sent off to compliance for safeguarding. So if we received a court order, that order would go to CEO / COO, to head of legal &/or compliance, who would then instruct head of IT, who would instruct the VR system admin to pull a tape. If somebody dropped the ball in that chain on day 29 and the order didn't reach the VR system guy, the tape was erased the next day.
The importance of this monthly VR tape deletion process was important enough to have some extremely senior compliance person flying out to assure themselves it was actually happening, and happening according to this procedure.
Why 30 days only you ask? Because we were only obligated under law to maintain 30 days worth of recordings. Anything longer than that became a regulatory risk to us.
Under my VR system erasure policy, the guy in question who wiped the election system might not have anybody to point to as ordering him/her to wipe.
Whether it's that way to make election fraud easier to hide or just because officials are naive is up for debate...
I'm willing to bet that there was a whispered conversation between somebody in authority to a subordinate, promising to protect them if they'll take care of it.
Let this be a warning to everybody: you need to cover your butts. The pressure can be really great in situations like this, but if anything hits the fan you better believe the manager will toss you under a boss.
> It’s not clear who ordered the server’s data irretrievably erased. The Kennesaw election center answers to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, a Republican who is running for governor in 2018 and is the main defendant in the suit. ... The server data could have revealed whether Georgia’s most recent elections were compromised by malicious hackers. The plaintiffs contend that the results of both last November’s election and a special June 20 congressional runoff — won by Kemp’s predecessor, Karen Handel — cannot be trusted.
If there's one central machine crunching all the raw data, you can bet your ass that every APT out there is going to be looking at the possibility of completely changing the outcome of the elections.
The way this problem is tackled with ballots is rather simple: way too many people to bribe to change the outcome.
I think we do this correctly in New York City, where I am an election worker from time to time.
Voters mark a paper ballot that is electronically counted. Every counting machine continuously shows two numbers: the number of ballots it has ever received, and the number it has received in that day's election. Multiple people at each poll site sign off on these numbers at the start and end of each day. Lots of people, from parties, interested groups, et cetera, personally verify these numbers throughout the day. (We call these people "observers." Anyone can be one.)
At the end of the day, the poll numbers are printed directly from each machine and posted for observation. They are also transmitted, electronically, to HQ. Poll observers like to observe and independently record these numbers.
Finally, the NYPD carts away the paper ballots for archiving.
To corrupt this system, you'd have to overwhelm a majority of the poll workers, poll observers, and NYPD officers transmitting the paper ballots at every precinct in your jurisdiction. That's hard.
(The system isn't perfect. The sign offs we're supposed to do at day's end are done at the beginning, because people want to get out early. This weakens, but does not break, the chain of trust and custody I described above. TL; DR If you care about this, please sign up as a poll worker.)
If a single server can be wiped, on the other hand, there's no point in holding the election at all -- there's just too much room to quibble over the result.
Honest question, I'm all ears if there's a good rebuttal.
Blockchains may be theoretically secure. But almost nobody is in a position to understand this thoroughly. The debacle around the DAO and frequent hacks of online wallets, even if those events are only tangentially related to blockchain technology, also undermine any potential trust.
It's also unnecessary: I just witnessed the federal election in Germany. In large cities, there's a polling place on every second block or so, each serving maybe 500 voters. The polling place is open to the public. Meaning you can see that the ballot box is empty in the morning, you can watch all day, and after polls close, you are free to watch the poll workers sort and count the ballots, as close as you want. You can then compare the count you witnessed to the official numbers posted online.
The whole process is end-to-end verifiable by anybody, and it requires no special skills other than counting.
Paper ballots work really well too, and though they can go missing just like files get deleted, it's pretty easy to see that.
That sounds like a terrible idea. What happens when somebody tries to hold the election process hostage by not casting a vote?
Kennesaw is not far outside the Perimeter. I'd guess it counts as "Atlanta".
Why do you wish we had two states? Can diverse cultural elements in a state not come together to act in concert? What does that say about the whole notion of trying to increase "diversity"?
City vs rural, liberal vs conservative... I find that those aren't the important dichotomies that you use to judge the health of a culture or society. It's integrity vs corruption.
Can diverse cultural elements come together and act in concert? Probably not. Why would a former factory worker in south Ga that has seen factories shut down left and right and go overseas and be taken over by automation ever see things the same way as someone in tech in Atlanta who hasn’t been affected? I think the whole 12 years of going to school, I never went to class with a non native English speaker. If your only exposure to any other culture is what you see on TV and never work side by side with people of different cultures, it probably is easier to believe that all Mexicans are rapists, and all Muslims are sitting around at home thinking about how they can kill infidels.
Like minded people tend to cluster together and self segregate.
You say that like it's a bad thing. Georgia is 47th in the nation in terms of per-capita debt. It boasts the busiest airport in the world, a thriving economy, a thriving tech community, a robust media culture, arguably the best bargain engineering degree in the world at Georgia Tech, a huge influx of outside influences over the past few decades - yielding a great deal of diversity and cosmopolitan attitudes.
Despite some cultural divides between Atlanta downtown and rural Georgia, the state seems to function really well. The state shows that you can have a mix of cultures without perpetual racial clashes, like you see in Missouri, Maryland, etc.
Why would a former factory worker in south Ga that has seen factories shut down left and right and go overseas and be taken over by automation ever see things the same way as someone in tech in Atlanta who hasn’t been affected?
They don't have to see things the exact same way. They certainly don't need a one-size-fits-all heavy-handed government solution to their diverse problem sets. The rural guy in Georgia whose job disappeared needs to find some new work and think about his future. I've moved multiple times across the country for jobs.... he can too, if necessary. Maybe he needs to further his education. Georgia has a fairly good university system. If his kids need education, there's the lottery-funded Hope Scholarship. With just a modest amount of work to keep your grades up, the Hope Scholarship funds 75% to 100% of your tuition!
Like minded people tend to cluster together and self segregate.
And that's a good thing?
Societies that balkanize rip themselves apart. History is replete with examples. Why would we want the same thing here where we have a success story to tell the world about?
I'm not saying it's a good thing. I'm saying it's a thing. As far as "success story". Things aren't too "successful" in places like Albany Ga - where factories have left, was once rated the murder capital of the US, and is consistently rated as one of the poorest cities in the US.
GA has both one of the poorest cities in America (Albany) and one of the wealthiest cities (Johns Creek) and one of the wealthiest counties (Forsyth County). Everything that you tout about GA isn't benefiting areas outside of metro Atlanta.
I've spent half my life in South Ga and the other half in metro Atlanta. It's two completely different worlds as far as opportunity, outlook, and world view.
But if you were gay, Muslim, etc. where would you rather live, Tyty Ga or Atlanta?
It's the same as in most states - the divide is urban/rural and racial diversity. Places like Columbus, Savannah, Macon, or Augusta don't feel anything like the rural counties.
It's not even a race thing for the most part. City white people have a lot of the same political leanings as city black people. Same goes for country.
Sure there's different cultures but the urban/rural divide is constant for any given skin color.
Election results, obviously, are not the full story, but they do provide a glimpse of the divides present within Georgia.
If you look at non-urban counties that voted Clinton in the last election, you'll find that the consistent theme is a substantial black population.
But even within cities, I'd argue diversity plays a role. Fulton and Dekalb counties were most heavily in favor of Clinton in the metro ATL area, and they're both majority-minority counties.
I have friends and former coworkers I still hang out with that represent all of those types of Trump voters - except for the nationalist, populist.
The storage and technology should be very cheap, especially with the blockchain hype floating around. As skeptical as I am of new regulation, the requirement that de-identified voting data is made broadly available, and for all intents and purposes, immutable, sounds like a reasonable one worthy of further investigation.
Some governments already use similar services to archive emergency responses from social media, as is required by law in many jurisdictions. That voter data, the foundations of the democratic US society, doesn't receive the same treatment is truly awful.
The large ZIP files under "Formal preferences" contain every vote.
 OSET Institute web site, http://www.osetfoundation.org/
 “Critical Technology Infrastructure: Protecting American Elections in the Digital Age”, OSET Institute. PDF https://static1.squarespace.com/static/528d46a2e4b059766439f...
I’m not affiliated with OSET; just co-teaching a college co-curricular on election technology, that includes this material.
We should be having a large national initiative to improve voting nationwide.
It is naive to trust that US elections are valid demonstrations of democracy.
What do "trust", "valid" and "democracy" mean in this context?
Let me re-phrase your question in an attempt to answer it. Strong form: "Do American elections reflect the will of the populace?" Semi-weak form: "Do American elections reflect the votes of the voting populace?" Weak form: "Does the American system of governance work better than others?"
On the strong form, I don't know. Measuring the "will of the populace" and defining a nation's "populace" is a philosophical question.
On the semi-weak form, probably. For every Georgia there are 49 other states. The American electoral system is distributed. Flattening distributions brings buys resilience at the cost of moronic outliers (like this). The same factors that make coördinating systemic changes tough thwart efforts at electoral corruption.
On the weak form, very probably. We just don't have a multi century, multigenerational society that has generated as much wealth for as many people while confronting the number of difficult questions the American system has. It's far from perfect. But its base assumptions about separation of powers, peaceful change of guard and an independent judiciary appear correct. Notably, no competitors to the Washington Consensus boast those three attributes.
On the semi-weak form, obviously not. Voter suppression is constant and ubiquitous in most states. Gerrymandering has caused international organizations to classify states in the US as non-democracies, and explicitly suppresses the will of the voting population as its stated goal. It is extremely effective. The majority of the population of states vote for one policy position, and the polar opposite party will receive a two-thirds unbeatable veto-proof majority in the legislature. There is incontrovertible evidence that even presidential elections were explicitly and intentionally stolen (Gore) -- we know this happened. There is strong evidence to suggest the subsequent election was stolen as well, with the election in Ohio raising every red flag election monitors know to look for and some they hadn't yet invented because they were so blatant as to be unthinkable (the owner of the company that distributed all voting machines in the state explicitly, publicly promised to deliver the election to the candidate who won). While the system is in principle distributed, in reality it is anything but: a tiny number of very easily hacked, bought, corrupted, and infiltrated swing state electoral systems decide the fate of the entire nation, safe from the scrutiny and security requirements that an actual federal election system would have to undergo.
On the weak form, are you kidding? Nearly every electoral system in any modern democratic state is far superior. Your statements about peaceful change of the guard, separation of powers, and the judiciary (its independence is laughable; judges are explicitly selected partisans who dictate partisan policy positions from the bench instead of voting for it in congress) are all totally irrelevant to the question as it should be formulated in it's weak form: does the American electoral system work better than others? Nothing was asked or stated about the system of governance. You only even answer the question you asked by taking an extreme ideologically charged definition of "work better". The question you implicitly asked (that you answered) is: is the American system of governance effective at preserving a tradition of peaceful transfer of power from oligarch to oligarch? Has the obvious answer, yes. As does the system in North Korea.
>We just don't have a multi century, multigenerational society that has generated as much wealth for as many people while confronting the number of difficult questions the American system has.
We don't have such a society that has generated much wealth for the many; rather, for the few.
The only thing that keeps Americans from publicly admitting these obvious truths about the voting system is a need to believe that the system works; we accept that obviously undemocratic results are democratic because to accept the alternative (which happens to be true) is unthinkable and would cause chaos. It is a group lie we tell ourselves to make society function.
You really should get out more. Go visit some countries around the world. Study history beyond the 4th grade level. Your claim is so bad, it isn't even wrong.
This is not the strong form parent was talking about. Here is the strong form:
"Do American elections reflect the will of the populace?"
American elections are not the same as the policy changes made by the people elected; You are arguing against something like "Does American governance reflect the will of the populace?"
Can you link to some of those studies? I'm very interested in seeing the method they used in determining the will of the populace.
It seems to be doing pretty well.
I think you might thinking they are not but, there are multiple angles to this, do want to talk about gerrymandering, foreign state actors hacking electronic voting machine, corrupt politicians interfering, our own intelligence agencies hacking our elections.
in jurisdictions where the (intentional) act is criminal by statute, it may result in fines and incarceration (if convicted in a separate criminal proceeding) for the parties who engaged in the spoliation;
in jurisdictions where relevant case law precedent has been established, proceedings possibly altered by spoliation may be interpreted under a spoliation inference, or by other corrective measures, depending on the jurisdiction;
in some jurisdictions the act of spoliation can itself be an actionable tort
> The new e-mails, which were sent by the Coalition for Good Governance to Ars, show that Chris Dehner, one of the Information Security staffers, e-mailed his boss, Stephen Gay, to say that the two backup servers had been "degaussed three times."
It’s the reason cops are seen as immune to the law; The courts give them the benefit of the doubt a lot.
The same kind of people who think they need 35 passes to wipe their hard drive.
Not after a lawsuit is filed. That's obstruction of justice regardless of what they claim. No?
This is entirely separate from questions of obstruction of justice.
there is no connection at all.
why r we even voting? have we not realized that we are all jus being pranked at a massive scale. r v that dumb to not see it.
is thr any option for alternate rule to be switched any time in the timeline.
i hope thr r still some good people with authority, it is time for u to come out and i am sure u ll gain all the support u demand.