Friday, October 08, 2004

Good News for Free Speech, Bad News for Voters

From The Phoenix via Democracies Online Newswire:
Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of Pavlosky, Smith and the OPG in their complaint against Diebold. The suit alleged that Diebold unfairly used provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to prevent them from posting a series of internal company memos that exposed flaws in Diebold’s voting machines.

The memos consisted of a series of e-mail messages between technical support personnel and sales representatives at Diebold discussing problems with their machines. The messages seemed to advocate Diebold representatives falsify security demonstrations for elections officials, as well as outlining security flaws in machines which had already been implemented in election precincts around the country.

Read more here.
Good News
The suit represents the first test of section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which
stipulates that it is illegal to knowingly misuse the copyright act
to try to suppress free speech. The DMCA is highly controversial because it criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. In other words, score one for the good guys.

Bad News
As of 2003, 37 states had contracts to use Diebold electronic (paper-less, no audit) voting machines.’s latest election reform briefing, The Business of Elections, provides a look at the political campaign contributions and lobbying activities of the largest producers of e-voting machines, including Diebold, Inc., Election Systems & Software, Sequoia Voting Sytems and Hart InterCivic. The amazing pattern here?--ex-felons, registered Republicans, and major Republican donors.

In other words...on Nov 2, we are so screwed.