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July 26, 2006

Dark Source


Exposing Democracy Owners

One of the most senseless use of technology is electronic voting. With no advantages except from the speed (real time) county of votes, this 'innovation' is simply an enormous swindle. In fact the votes are stored as files, so infinitely more falsifiable than the one written on the traditional paper, and the worst is that the whole process is managed by proprietary software, so with unstable and unintelligible methods. Part of the Weibel-Latour ZKM's Making Things Public exhibition, Dark Source by Ben Rubin makes this paradox even more evident. It consists of a representation of the Diebold AccuVote-TS touch-screen voting terminals, recently adopted in many U.S. states. It's a printout of some of the 49,609 lines of C++ source code (other pages are available through some microfiche terminals), with all the same code blacked out, because of the trade secret the company claimed as a property on its intellectual product.

This is a stunning representation of an absurdity: the act of gifting the employees of a trade secret defending company the right to manage and frame the most important democratic process. Then the question is: there's any election procedure that can be kept secret or privately owned? Not really. But unfortunately this is an ongoing experiment going on in many countries, perhaps a testbed to take over the paper/pencil scheme sometime in the future. Technology is not for everything, and this kind of techno-positivism dreams can generate scaring nightmares. [posted on Neural]

Posted by jo at July 26, 2006 09:20 AM