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Re: [FSP] Re: Bootstrapping the democratic process

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  • Logic
    I m glad to see that disagreement is primarily on the (easily overcome) technical merits. I agree, it would be ideal if someone can take the media to a cyber
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2002
      I'm glad to see that disagreement is primarily on the (easily overcome)
      technical merits.

      I agree, it would be ideal if someone can take the media to a cyber cafe, a
      library, a friends house, a Kinko's print shop or anywhere else they can
      find a computer running any generally available operating system.

      BTW, the workstation I have been sending mail from is an MS system, and my
      primary workstation at home is W2k only because I was having a tough time
      getting the Gentoo Linux installer to recognize my serial ATA raid
      configuration. The rest of my office and home are a Linux boxen, including
      my SSMPT and POP3S mail services :) I donated my Mac's (Quadra's) to
      Goodwill to clear out some space, but still have a stack of Next stations in
      my parts closet. I'm well aware that not everyone is on a WinTel MS system.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Bob Compton" <bobc@...>
      To: <freestateproject@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 1:34 PM
      Subject: [FSP] Re: Bootstrapping the democratic process

      > Hmm. Good idea! You are, however, making one BIG assumption with the
      > "floppy disk" idea. That is everyone uses the same kind of computer.
      > Floppy disks are formatted based on the operating system used. I assume
      > are using Micro$oft Windoze. Fine, there are others who use Mac's which
      > generally won't read a Windows formatted disk. I use Linux and can fairly
      > easily get around most obsticals. Most people are not as computer savvy
      > myself. We really need to make this easy for the "average guy" (like our
      > laws are SUPPOSED to be!).
      > This can, however, be fairly easily resolved by using a more durable and
      > universally accepted media: a mini-disk (small CD-Rom). The cost in
      > quantity is about the same as a floppy, but they're MUCH more durable and
      > resistant to magnetic fields and heat. They're small and easy to carry
      > (stack about 6 standard business cards together or 2 credit cards for an
      > idea of the actual size). Also, they use a universally accepted format
      > (ISO9660) which can be read by nearly ANY operating system. Also, if the
      > voter doesn't have direct access to a computer, they can always go to the
      > library or a friends house and use whatever computer is available assuming
      > it is reasonably new (~1995 or newer). Sometimes operating systems are
      > particularly sensitive to the format of key files, which still wouldn't be
      > problem as the mini-disk could hold numerous copies of the exact same key
      > the various formats needed by various operating systems.
      > I realize some of this is a bit tedious, but it should be ironed out to
      > allow as many people as humanly possible to easily use whatever method we
      > decide upon. That method should be operating system/computer independent.
      > > This has probably been said before (dead horse, kick, kick...) but:
      > >
      > > 1. Organize "registration" by regions and districts
      > > 2. Porcupines register by showing up, in person, and receive a
      > > public-key on a floppy disk or other means
      > > a) they don't *have* to provide identification, they can be
      > > anonymous b) it is the district manager's responsibility to ensure
      > > that 1 person
      > > gets one key
      > > c) it is unreasonable to believe that someone could claim enough
      > > keys to
      > >seriously alter any vote (it could be *possible* to get a few before
      > >being caught, I suppose)
      > > d) if it is the district managers responsibility, it may be up to
      > > the
      > > district to determine how best to ensure that multiple keys are not
      > > delivered to the same person while respecting our principles of liberty
      > > and/or anonymity (e.g. a district with a handful of participants may
      > > not require any extra procedures, a district overwhelmed may require a
      > > hand-written signature or perhaps a photograph, who knows? It could be
      > > handled locally)
      > > 3) All future votes or other official business can be conducted in a
      > > reasonably secure manner using these "keys" that are provided to
      > > anonymous participants
      > > 4) keys are signed with a reasonable expiration period
      > >
      > > No paper, no intrusive phone calls, no *requirement* for a manual count
      > > of the vote, and one-time cost to get the keys out.
      > > - cost of securing a location (conference hall at a hotel, for example)
      > > - cost of a computer at the location to generate keys (I'm sure there
      > > is at least one person per district who would be willing to drag a
      > > computer to a location so we could use it for a day)
      > > - cost of a volunteer or volunteers to disseminate keys on disk
      > > (volunteer? hopefully no cost for their time)
      > > - cost of the voter to travel to the location (something we, as voters
      > > will have to bear, once, hopefully a short drive and a couple of hours
      > > away from work or home)
      > > - cost of publishing public portions of keys somewhere where EVERYONE
      > > can access them so they can make their own verifications if they so
      > > choose (we already have a website, put the file there!)
      > >
      > > For the extremely paranoid: district managers may sign new keys with
      > > their own keys. These volunteers may provide some means to verify their
      > > identity (since they are operating in a public and official capacity
      > > and should be accountable). If someone has doubts about the
      > > authenticity of a vote or those ensuring a valid vote, they can at
      > > least verify that the manager has personally handed each person a key,
      > > and they can identify the official in charge of key dissemination.
      > > There is a method of accountability through official or public
      > > discourse in a case where anyone suspects something is "not quite
      > > right".
      > >
      > > If votes and voter "registration" are handled this way, I for one would
      > > think the process of voting is reasonably resistant to tampering or
      > > fraud.
      > >
      > > What does this mean for me, the voter? I travel to the location, I'm
      > > handed a floppy disk. I can use that disk as my anonymous identity
      > > anywhere there is a computer for any official porcupine business.
      > >
      > > I think the most important benefit of this sort of system is that more
      > > items may come to a vote more easily and more accessibly by more
      > > people, reducing the reliability on a single person or commission to
      > > make decisions, because paper or manual democratic processes are too
      > > time consuming and too costly.
      > >
      > > I'll be happy to answer questions (off the list, to reduce noise) for
      > > non-technical folks concerned about the reliability of digital
      > > signatures or the technology involved. There are also many resources
      > > available on the net concerning public-key cryptography.
      > >
      > > http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/tdunn/honors/ (somewhat technical)
      > > http://www.nwfusion.com/news/64452_05-17-1999.html (not quite so
      > > technical)
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
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      > >
      > >
      > >
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