Archive for April, 2013

Supreme Court Supremely Short

April 28, 2013

by Jack Locke
SCC Judges
In what might be the Supreme Court of Canada’s shortest written decision ever, they announced that they have searched their records and found no evidence of blatant judicial wrongdoing by former judges Bora Laskin and Willard Estey.

“The Supreme Court of Canada conducted a thorough review of its records and it does not have any documents relevant to the alleged communications by former Chief Justice Bora Laskin and former Mr. Justice Willard Estey in relation to the patriation of the Constitution of Canada. This concludes the Court’s review,” said the Supreme Court’s entire press release.

The cover up by the Supreme Court reminds me of the covering up by the Catholic Church. Whether former C.J. Bora Laskin disclosed details of the court’s constitutional patriation deliberations to politicians is one thing, highly improper, but would not be wholly surprising. But the current court’s short conclusion is even more pathetic, insofar as they only looked where you would not expect to find incriminating evidence.

I hope the extent of their review entailed more than looking through the drawers of Laskin’s last desk.

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PoetrySunday, 2 PM, Apr 21

April 15, 2013

Yes, Pastry and Poetry returns
Westmount Poets Group
(I will be joining some superb writers)

2 PM, Sunday, April 21
Westmount Library/Bibliothèque publique de Westmount
4574 Sherbrooke West

What is National Poetry Month without pastry?

Ooops. Liberal voter numbers don’t add up

April 10, 2013

by Jack Locke

Yesterday, the Liberal Party of Canada said they had 127,122 registered voters. However, the Liberals previously reported(Mar 30) they had 130,744 registered voters. A decline of 3,622 voters–what gives?

As the Liberals get ready to announce their new leader on April 14, following this week’s online and telephone voting, the integrity of the voting process appears to be crumbling.

Earlier, Lockeblog reported that Princeton University computing science expert, Andrew Appel, said online voting is “laughably insecure.” This opinion was echoed by Carleton University computing teacher Dr. Jeremy Clark, who said, “Online voting has significant security risks that makes its use in high stake elections, like a leadership race, questionable.”

Strangely, on Mar 20, the Liberals reported they had 127,126 registered voters. And as the numbers keep bouncing up and down, Lockeblog will be seeking answers from Liberal spokesperson Sarah Bain.

Will Cyber-iceberg Sink The Liberal’s Ship?

April 7, 2013

Computer experts say Internet voting is “questionable”
by Jack Locke

As the Liberal Party of Canada floats into the uncharted waters of an Internet-based voting leadership contest, the party maintains their ship is sailing fine as a leading Canadian computer expert warns of a potential cyber-iceberg lurking in the dark.

“Online voting has significant security risks that makes its use in high stake elections, like a leadership race, questionable,” says Dr. Jeremy Clark, a scholar at Carleton University’s School of Computer Science.

Clark’s comments echo the warnings of Princeton University computer scholar, Andrew Appel, who says internet-voting is “laughably insecure.”

As the Liberal Party of Canada prepares to start their week-long leadership vote today, their spokesperson Sarah Bain says all is well. This is the first time the Liberals are using internet and telephone voting methods for their leadership election.

“We are confident that our registry and voting system will allow LPC(the Liberal Party of Canada) to conduct a fair and accurate leadership vote,” insists Bain. But her confidence is not shared by experts like Clark and Appel.

“Casting a ballot online with a typical internet voting system provides no assurance that the votes are counted correctly, without undue interference or programming mistakes,” says Clark.

The counting of votes can be interfered with at various points: during the sending of the vote, in its reception, and following its reception in the software program that does the counting.

“Further, the removal of the private voting booth opens the system to vote-selling and in-person coercion. Finally, internet voting requires voters to submit a secret ballot from a potentially malware-infected personal computer over a hostile network for storage on an internet-facing server susceptible to hacking attempts and denial of service attacks.”

In an exclusive story, Andrew Appel, chair of Princeton’s Department of Computer Science, said there are many known threats that can significantly alter proper voting results.

“Any known methods for public Internet voting are known to be very seriously flawed,” says Appel. “Although vendors talk about idealized security where (supposedly) all kinds of security measures are in place, in actual practice in real election administration these systems are laughably insecure.”

The Liberal’s voting systems, both internet and telephone, are being coordinated by Dominion Voting Systems, a company headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

“Dominion, contracted by LPC to conduct our voting procedure, along with LPC staff and hundreds of volunteers are extremely dedicated to ensuring the highest level of confidence and accuracy in our registry process and voting system,” says Bain.

About one hundred and one years ago, on April 15, 1912, Captain Edward John Smith was equally confident, that is, until his vessel the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic Ocean. One doubts that Justin Trudeau knows the words to “Nearer My God To Thee,” the last music played by the Titanic’s musical orchestra.

Expert says Liberal’s voting system could be “laughably insecure”

April 4, 2013

by Jack Locke

As the Liberal Party of Canada prepares to hold their leadership vote starting on April 7, a leading American computer expert is casting doubts on the integrity of the Liberal’s high-tech voting system.

The Liberals will be using an internet system designed by Dominion Voting, a Colorado-based company. They will also be using a telephone voting system.

Andrew Appel, chair of Princeton University’s Department of Computer Science, says he would not endorse Internet voting for public office.

“Any known methods for public Internet voting are known to be very seriously flawed,” says Appel. He is also the Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton.

“Even if we consider an idealized system, the vendor itself ends up having total control over who wins the election. We might hope the vendor writes software that adds up the tally according to how people actually voted, but there may not be a practical way to check that,” he notes.

According to Liberal president Mike Crawley, 130,744 people are registered to vote in the week-long voting period culminating on Apr 14. Questions asked of the Liberal Party related to the integrity of the voting system have not yet been answered.

Appel says Internet voting systems can be infiltrated on both the voters’ side and on the vote counter’s side.

“Voter’s personal computers/smart phones can be taken over by botnets (computer viruses) which change their votes before transmission to the server,” says Appel, who is familiar with Dominion Voting, the company the Liberals have engaged to conduct the I-voting.

He suggests maintaining voter privacy, ensuring secret ballots, is also a major concern.

“Although vendors talk about idealized security where (supposedly) all kinds of security measures are in place, in actual practice in real election administration these systems are laughably insecure,” says Appel.

The repercussions of someone tampering with the Liberal leadership results could alter the course of our nation. The winner of the Liberal leadership contest could ultimately become Prime Minister of Canada.

“When Canadians vote on paper ballots counted in front of witnesses, then your citizens don’t have to place all (their) trust in a Colorado company,” Professor Appel concludes.