SordidPontification 3 points ago +4 / -1

The eyebrows annoy me.

Can we please go back to the 90s when nicely curated, arched eyebrows were a thing? I don't fancy making out with a cartoon character.

SordidPontification 1 point ago +1 / -0

The debates were a good indication of this.

I remember the second presidential debate between Romney and Obama. Romney was trying to out-leftist Obama with regards to gun control happily confessing he'd impose an "assault weapons" ban.

That alone no doubt turned off a lot of people.

SordidPontification 2 points ago +2 / -0

\13:55:21> [Low-energy ¡Jeb!] has entered the chat. \13:55:22> [Low-energy ¡Jeb!] has gone AFK. \13:55:23> [Low-energy ¡Jeb!] has left the chat.

SordidPontification 5 points ago +5 / -0

And tell them exactly why if and when they call!

"You're with the GOP? Okay, I want to make this clear: I'm never going to give the GOP a dime, and I'm not going to support establishment candidates. The GOP stabbed Trump in the back during his reelection bid. I cannot in good faith support traitors."

SordidPontification 3 points ago +3 / -0

You'd be surprised.

There's only so many permutations of text, and if your training corpus is large enough, machine learning can actually regenerate parts of an image that were lost. And if not, it might get it close enough to legibility that someone can do enough sleuthing locally to find out who the company is.

It's the same reason why blurring or pixelating sensitive text is a bad idea online. Even prior to widespread ML, there were techniques to brute force the results to extract that information. Using ML just makes it easier. As an example: If there is other text in the image that can be used to approximate the source, pixeling or blurring the substitutions and comparing it to the source can be done to estimate what the source text contained. It's also why if you really want to hide anything, you just flood fill the area with a solid color.

Never underestimate the power of autists armed with neural networks.

SordidPontification 3 points ago +3 / -0

Oddly, I think you're right.

They know they got caught. Now they're just trying to minimize the damage.

SordidPontification 1 point ago +1 / -0

That's where the audit process comes in and why deterministic builds are important.

If you dump the machine image and its, say, SHA256 sum matches exactly with the builds (or image) produced by a third party (or, ideally, anyone in the public), you are guaranteed that the image on the machine and the image built independently are identical. Multiple message digests could be used (SHA512, Whirlpool, BLAKE2) to validate that an unknown collision attack wasn't used to inject modified code while maintaining the same digest. Although, to my knowledge, no such attacks exist for the SHA-2 family, but it's a worthwhile strategy.

Now, there are some flaws with this. It would be possible to inject code modified in a way that a rootkit could produce an image that matches the exact checksum as expected (by replacing the parts that were modified with original copies when the image is dumped; or replace code at runtime when loaded into RAM), but that's where 3rd party audits are important and why the entire process needs to be open. In other words, it should be possible that someone with sufficient interest could produce an exact copy of the machine with the exact software and have it behave exactly as expected. The ROMs in use should be something a third party could audit the contents of and be guaranteed to know beyond a doubt that what's on the ROM is the exact image that was generated during the build process (probably inferring that the storage would need to be of an open design, and it would need to be manufactured in the US).

But, as I've posted elsewhere, the mistake everyone is making is that the problem scope isn't technological--it's legislative. As long as humans are involved in the process somewhere, there is an opportunity for corruption to take hold and an opportunity to switch votes. There needs to be penalties, they need to be enforced, and the entire system needs to be open whether the ballots are manually counted or machine counted.

SordidPontification 1 point ago +1 / -0

There's almost no excuse to develop such a system, to be honest. Asymmetric cryptography is well understood and would fit fantastically with something like a voting system to ensure integrity.

But my biggest fear is that there isn't a technological solution to this. The solutions are almost purely legislative, and unless we can fix this election, we'll never be able to use the force of law to fix what's broken ever again.

It's a sobering thought when you consider it.

SordidPontification 2 points ago +2 / -0

As a West Virginian, I can understand why you feel that way about Texas. People overlook the state of WV far too often. Texas is slowly festering from leftism (Austin being the example most people think of).

As far as why we're annoyed with Texans, it's mostly the fact they can't drive. Stick them on a mountain road with a 50MPH posted limit and they'll do 25-30MPH. It's infuriating.

Joking aside, NM has a lot in common with WV once you get to the southern part of the state. It's poor but populated with ranchers and others who are distrusting of the government. But our politics are so corrupt thanks to Santa Fe and all the interests up north that have carved up the vast lands we have for themselves; I'm convinced that Dominion's systems should be looked at nationwide. We went 100% toward them in 2018.

Makes you wonder if NM is as blue as they claim.

SordidPontification 7 points ago +7 / -0

If there's one good thing that came of this, it's that the fraud had to be so massive and complete that they couldn't hide it.

Unfortunately, it also illustrated a few things to us that are incredibly problematic. It reminded us how spineless the GOP is, that Trump is the only man fighting to save the United States, and that it absolutely is us-versus-them.

The left wants to destroy the country and will stop at nothing to get their "mandate," even if it means outright stealing elections. Because they see this as a moral cause, they see nothing wrong either.

Bleh. I'm just pissed. Sorry for the rant.

SordidPontification 1 point ago +1 / -0

I don't disagree, but the fact is that this isn't a difficult solution in software. It's that it's easier to produce an incredibly corrupt result.

But paper isn't entirely foolproof either, especially when you jettison the observers. It's not hard for them to turn around and print out a few hundred thousand ballots in the middle of the night.

The problem is that the only solution is legislative, I'm afraid, and possibly also through threat of force. i.e. anyone tampering with votes should be shot on sight. That's because there's a point in time where trust and integrity have to enter into the system. Without either of those, paper or machine tabulation ultimately doesn't matter.

SordidPontification 27 points ago +27 / -0

Also: Fails to account for the fact that GEOTUS is wildly popular and brought in a MASSIVE LANDSLIDE of votes.

So... they had to dynamically increase the amount of fraud and got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

SordidPontification 3 points ago +3 / -0

It should be a mandate that any software running on voting machines be open source, publicly viewable, and audited by any interested third party.

SordidPontification 6 points ago +6 / -0

"We have to eat bugs to supplement our protein if we want sustainable living" is basically their mantra.

Never mind the reason that raising things like cattle is possible because they can subsist on land that is impossible to grow crops on (e.g. semi-arid environments).

Environmentalists have no concept of utilizing available resources to the best of our abilities. They want us to stop using any resources because it's "raping the planet."

SordidPontification 1 point ago +1 / -0

I like you.

I'm from NM, but maybe we could make some concessions to split off our conservative parts and join Texas if WV sets a precedent.

Although as a New Mexican, I'm somewhat resentful of Texas. It's in our blood.

SordidPontification 1 point ago +1 / -0

Basically what I'm saying is that this isn't hard. The fact Dominion is making this hard tells of two potential outcomes:

  1. They're lying.

  2. They're incompetent.

These are not binary options, of course. Both could be true. But the reality is that vote tabulation shouldn't be a difficult problem unless one or both of these conditions happens to be true. I'm leaning more toward #1, because it's almost certainly the case that Dominion is lying about this alleged crash.

I'm a software developer who primarily focuses on backend services, so I have experience with networking, protocols like HTTP, and interfacing with databases. Rest assured that when I say this isn't a hard problem, it's not a hard problem unless they're deliberately trying to cover up for something.

I wrote a post a while back about how the "ideal" voting machine should be developed. We have the technology to do this in a way that would be both auditable and secure. The fact that it's not suggests very strongly that it's a deliberate design to exercise control over the electoral system.

I'll repost my points here (with some modifications) so that readers don't need to click through to another comment. A secure voting machine should tick at least the following boxes:

  1. Any machine used to count should have its software entirely open source. It should be independently audited and should be entirely auditable.

  2. The entire toolchain used to compile that source should produce deterministic output. i.e. it should be possible to validate that input A produces binary B.

  3. The software should be entirely self-contained on a ROM. It should not be possible to modify the tabulator in any way after it has been imaged from the factory. It should also be possible to dump the ROM so that the image can be independently validated to match the requirements of #2.

  4. The machines should have only one external port: Power. No networking. No USB. Concessions could be made for USB or some other header to allow for writing the results to removable storage.

  5. Re-flashing the machine should not be possible.

  6. Any debugging interface (e.g. JTAG) should not have the ability to write values into the machine's RAM.

  7. The final output from the tabulator should use an onboard private key that generates a dump of the final tally. This would produce a specialized hash or encoded value that would then be uploaded to the state office. It could be validated against the public key for that machine (verification; signature generated by the machine's private key) and encrypted using the state's public master key, which would then decrypt the results with its private key.

We could then mandate, by law, that the results be released in their entirety and in a decrypted form. In fact, probably producing a signature + encrypted plain text + signature would be a better option for public validation since the public wouldn't have access to the private keys to decrypt the data. So that way you could validate both the encrypted data and the signature of the plain text.

As much as I hate to say "blockchain" because I think too many people point to it as a panacea, it might be useful to at least distribute the signatures on a blockchain, but I think this is overkill for the purpose.

Ideally, you would have the people running the tabulators only having access to a) reset the current tally and b) upload the final results from the tabulator that cannot be manipulated, because they'll be generated by the machine along with the appropriate signature. Clearly this doesn't obviate other issues such as people running Biden ballots through the machine more than once, but that's an issue with all vote tabulation systems (even manually) that has to be resolved by law.

And I think that last bit could be resolved by mandating that anyone who interferes with the election process, observers, etc., is shot on sight. But alas, one can dream.

SordidPontification 6 points ago +6 / -0

And that all their slooshy bits are still slooshing and not drippy dripping.

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