Ben Adida Profile picture
6 Apr, 11 tweets, 3 min read
1/ There continues to be an enormous gap in the public's understanding of voting security: Tim Cook tells @karaswisher he hopes Americans eventually vote on their iPhones.

We, election security experts, need to step up our communication game big time.…
2/ We need to really empathize with those who advocate for Internet/Mobile voting.

Of course it makes sense that people would want this! If we dismiss it out of hand, if we laugh it off, we're not going to successfully make our case.

It's not obvious that this is a bad idea!
3/ And we have to keep in mind that there are plenty of smart well-meaning people who will gladly implement Internet voting if we don't successfully make our case.

These folks are not stupid or ignorant. They're just not steeped in the very weird peculiarities of voting.
4/ We also need to face some hard truths: for people in the military, or for many people with disabilities, the voting experience today is just not good enough.

We better make those experiences better, or the pressure to do Internet voting will only grow.
5/ I don't have a silver bullet... and I don't think there is one. To borrow @bhorowitz's terminology, all we have here is a lot of lead bullets.

We must engage. We must explain. Over & over again. Find the right analogies. Work through the nitty gritty. Be patient & respectful.
6/ I spent much of this podcast on the topic:…

I've written numerous blog posts and Twitter threads.

And I'll need to do more.
7/ Again, because it bears repeating: "Internet Voting is Bad" doesn't make sense to folks who aren't steeped in the pecularities of voting security.

It's reasonable for most people to think that, if we just work at it hard enough, surely we can solve it.
8/ We have to keep explaining the threat model. Give folks an intuition for why the voter needs a paper ballot to verify directly, without mediation by either a touchscreen or a blockchain. Explain crisply how banking and health online are totally different problems.
9/ We have to come up with better answers as to why even voters with disabilities, in particular blind voters, should have a paper ballot, because frankly our current explanations just aren't good enough.
10/ And of course, we have to keep making the paper-based voting experience better. The larger the gap in convenience, the larger the demand for a system that we unfortunately know will be insecure.
11/ It is our job, as experts, to build better systems, and to communicate these hard technical ideas as to why Internet/mobile voting isn't good enough.

It's on us. So let's keep at it.

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More from @benadida

3 Apr
1/ A few thoughts on Covid vaccine "passports." Starting with the use case, moving quickly to the tech and privacy.
2/ I'm not super optimistic that we'll hit herd immunity this year in the US. Too much vaccine hesitancy, not enough time to approve for and innoculate kids. So I suspect we'll still see small or medium outbreaks through end of this year.
3/ it seems thus pretty clear that businesses will seek some form of proof of vaccination, at least from employees, possibly from customers depending on the setting.
Read 19 tweets
7 Feb
1/ Saturday 🧵 on real-world security in voting machines.

Should voting machines be allowed to contain wifi hardware, later disabled in software?

At first glance, bad idea. Let's simply ban wifi hardware.

In practice, that would make machines less secure. Allow me to explain.
2/ Security is about threat models and tradeoffs. What this means in practice is more complex than it might seem. It means that "more security" on one specific aspect may lead to less security in the overall system.
3/ the threat model behind "no wifi" is that, with wifi turned on, attackers could remotely connect to the machine and do nefarious things. So what's the difference between software and hardware disabling of the wifi?
Read 16 tweets
5 Feb
1/ Thinking about the impact of the new strain (B117). Read this thread. It is significantly more transmissible than the previous strain, which means the measures we're used to can reduce classic infections, but they're *not yet good enough* in Denmark to stop growth.
2/ the difference between R < 1 and R > 1 is enormous. R<1, each day is better than the last. R>1, even a little, and each day is worse than the last.
3/ it appears to be particularly difficult to bring R below 1 for the new strain. If Denmark is having trouble, I don't know if the US can do it.
Read 6 tweets
22 Nov 20
1/ Why is Georgia counting votes for a third time? Let's talk about it.…
2/ most states have recount procedures that trigger below a certain margin of victory. Sometimes automatic, sometimes has to be requested by a candidate. In Georgia, threshold is 0.5% & recount needs to be requested by a candidate after certification. Wait, what's certification?
3/ certification is the real result. When TV networks call an election, that carries no legal weight, it's just the media predicting the outcome. They're usually right, with some notable exceptions. Certification is when the state, having triple checked, declares their winner.
Read 13 tweets
20 Nov 20
1/ The @voting_works team has been working around the clock for the last week to support the State of Georgia in running their first state-wide risk-limiting audit, which turned into a full hand-count.
2/ Here's the Secretary of State's press release:…
3/ and coverage from AJC:…
Read 8 tweets
14 Aug 20
1/ I spent a bit of time looking at the Canada COVID Alert app this evening. Bottom line: this app is pretty much the model for how to do this kind of tech.
2/ It's super clear about what data it collects and doesn't, and about how it works. This is not easy stuff to convey.
3/ It's such a caring and lovely flow. Here it is letting you know it's about to ask for that single permission it needs – to access the Google/Apple API.
Read 8 tweets

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