by J. D. Heyes, Natural News:
The Defense Department has been sued by a nonprofit watchdog organization after failing for more than three years to divulge results of testing on the security of online voting systems that are used more and more often by Americans casting absentee ballots.
According to McClatchyDC, the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) “has effectively bankrolled many states’ shift to online voting, disbursing tens of millions of dollars in grants,” so they could buy equipment which includes Internet balloting technology.
The failure to disclose and ongoing secrecy has drawn the ire of cyber experts who have warned for years that Internet voting systems are likely and easy targets for hackers who would be able to tamper with and even rig elections. In addition, they note, the government’s own top technology testing agency has also refused to issue an endorsement of the systems.
That’s a problem, critics say, especially as the November midterm elections fast approach; more than a million people have already cast ballots, according to The Associated Press. Since 2010, that early voting trend has only grown.
‘We don’t have to release the data yet’
So, says one electronic privacy organization, that makes the issue all the more important. McClatchy further reported:
Now, on the eve of another federal election in which at least 31 states plan to use some form of online voting, the Electronic Privacy Information Center [EPIC] is pressing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding disclosure of the test results so it can disseminate the information nationwide.
In a statement to the newspaper group, FVAP officials said that they expect to release results of security testing in 2015. And because they “contribute to the larger, ongoing decision-making process” regarding the Pentagon agency’s congressional mandate to stage a demonstration of the technology surrounding electronic voting, officials said the results of those trials are considered “pre-decisional,” which makes them exempt from being disclosed — for the time being.
EPIC filed its suit Sept. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the circuit that hears cases involving conduct of federal agencies, as well as rules and regulations that they issue. It is the latest battle in a long-brewing conflict over the Pentagon agency’s role, which is primarily to ensure that deployed troops and other Americans living abroad can vote by absentee ballot.
FVAP said it has staged tests for use by another agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which is trying to establish standards for Internet voting systems. However, a dearth of appointed commissioners has curtailed the agency’s mission and progress; as such, the Pentagon says it is preparing to release data on its test results on its own.
As McClatchy further noted:
The agency has walked a fine line since Congress declined in a 2005 law to endorse electronic voting systems until it receives assurance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology that they are secure and reliable.
Please follow SGT Report on Twitter & help share the message.