Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Twisted Web

Remember the Swarthmore, PA students who exposed e-voting company Diebold's internal memos advocating fraud?

And remember how, during the recent spate of reports on wacky FBI partisan-agenda incidents, the FBI confiscated 20 Indymedia web servers from London, England ISP Rackspace as part of their rampage to shut down indy media centers around the globe? [Yes, that's why it's been so hard to hit Indy media sites lately.]

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) thinks there's a connection. The link? Election-related intimidation.

When Diebold lost its copyright case against the ISP for Indybay, the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, the US. District Court ordered Diebold to pay damages and fees for illegally threatening ISPs for copyright violation while knowing that the documents posted by Indymedia weren't copyrighted.

Diebold had tried to block Indymedia from posting the memos encouraging employees to commit fraud online, but Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that IndyMedia's posting of Diebold memos and other documents was proper, saying in part:

The e-mail archive was posted or hyperlinked to for the purpose of informing the public about the problems associated with Diebold’s electronic voting machines. It is hard to imagine a subject the discussion of which could be more in the public interest. If Diebold’s machines in fact do tabulate voters’ preferences incorrectly, the very legitimacy of elections would be suspect.

While Diebold has been busy trying to scrub their email archives, the memos were still available to the public on the IndyMedia servers.

That is, until the FBI seized them.

As much as Diebold doesn't want the public to know about their business practices or how easy Diebold voting machines are to hack, the memos are still available (for the moment) on Denis Kucinich's Voting Rights page (scroll down).

E.g.: Permitted easy access to vote audit logs. Without requiring so much as a password, anyone could access the tabulation of votes and change the contents.

Nel Finburg: "Jennifer Price at Metamor (about to be Ciber) has indicated that she can access the GEMS Access database and alter the Audit log without entering a password. What is the position of our development staff on this issue? Can we justify this? Or should this be anathema?"

Ken Clark: "Its a tough question, and it has a lot to do with perception. Of course everyone knows perception is reality. ..."

VERY interesting reading.

The International Federation of Journalist has called for an inquiry into the FBI action in London. You can read updates from Indy media here.

Cross posted to BOP News.