Technology, the two-edged sword: Hacking the election, open to all countries, political parties, individuals…
Note that “countries” and “governments” are not equivalent: a given country may have an intelligence service actively working to control or disrupt the election, calling outcomes into doubt, to achieve (their) government goals—or, worse, their organizational goals, with intelligence service A competing with intelligence service B competing with law enforcement competing with the three branches of the military, but perhaps the military is now a more unified thing . Each of those organizations is quite free to take action on its own to achieve national goals in terms of adding power to the organization itself: a strong [organization] makes for a better government. You can use the name of any governmental (or indeed commercial) entity to see the dynamics and incentives. (To use US examples: CIA, BATF, FBI, NSA, DEA, plus various state, county, and city police departments.) But that same country—say, Russia—also has an active, organized, and technologically advanced criminal organization(s).
One can understand William F. Buckley, Jr. when he wrote, “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”
David Goldstein reports in McClatchy:
Is it time to panic about Election Day?
Not about the choices for president, but about whether the votes that millions of Americans will cast Nov. 8 will be secure.
“My level of concern is pretty high,” said Thomas Hicks, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent, bipartisan group created to develop guidelines following the disputed 2000 presidential election.
Experts are warning that in a year of unending political drama, still more might be in store, from Russian hackers to obsolete voting machines prone to breakdowns, all with the potential for causing considerable political chaos.
Consider these developments:
– The FBI issued a “flash” alert this summer to state election officials that foreign hackers had breached the election systems in two states, Arizona and Illinois. Arizona shut down its network for a week.
– Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson suggested that the nation’s election system, an uneven mosaic of 50 state-operated fiefdoms, should be viewed like the national power grid, part of the country’s “critical infrastructure.”
– Johnson volunteered his agency’s help by offering to inspect state election systems for holes hackers could crawl through. Several states have taken up his offer. Others – such as Georgia, which has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1996 but where polls now show the race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump tied – have spurned it.
Georgia uses older voting machines that don’t automatically produce ballot paper trails, which many election security experts think is a must-have feature.
In an email to the website NextGov, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp labeled Johnson’s offer “a vast federal overreach” and an effort toward “federalizing the election under the guise of security.” . . .
It’s a fine kettle of fish, but it’s here, so we had better figure out how to handle it.
See also: “U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections.” Hope they are also looking at North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, ISIS, and some guy in New Jersey who’s known only to his close neighbors, who consider him a very quiet guy.