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Wikipedia: Important enough to whitewash

This is an edited version of my weekly column for Loose Wire Service, a service providing print publications with technology writing designed for the general reader. Email me if you’re interested in learning more. Wikipedia has gone through some interesting times, good and bad, but I think the last couple of weeks has proved just how powerful it is. Powerful enough for those who feel denigrated by it to have been trying to spin, airbrush and generally rewrite how history — or at least Wikipedia — remembers them. Take WikiScanner, cooked up by a young student, Virgil Griffith. WikiScanner does something very simple: It searchesContinue readingWikipedia: Important enough to whitewash

Loose Change Sept 19 2006

It used to be called Loose Bits, but I prefer Loose Change. For now. It’s the same thing: tidbits I found that might be of interest: First off, NeatReceipts, which sells a small scanner and special software to scan in your receipts while you’re on the road, has announced a new version of its software, which should be in the shops next month. Includes color Scanning, a better Document Organizer and better OCR. Version 2.5 will retail for $200, the same price as the current Scanalizer. I reviewed the product a few months back and was impressed, though you’ve got to really love receipts toContinue readingLoose Change Sept 19 2006

“Internet Voting Isn’t Safe”

The e-voting saga continues. Four computer scientists say in a new report that a federally funded online absentee voting system scheduled to debut in less than two weeks “has security vulnerabilities that could jeopardize voter privacy and allow votes to be altered”. They say the risks associated with Internet voting cannot be eliminated and urge that the system be shut down. The report’s authors are computer scientists David Wagner, Avi Rubin and David Jefferson from the University of California, Berkeley; The Johns Hopkins University and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, respectively, and Barbara Simons, a computer scientist and leading technology policy consultant. They are membersContinue reading“Internet Voting Isn’t Safe”

Electronic Voting And The Criminal Connection

The story of electronic voting machines, and the company that makes many of them, continues to roll along. I wrote in a column a few weeks back (Beware E-Voting, 20 November 2003, Far Eastern Economic Review; subscription required) about Bev Harris, a 52-year old grandmother from near Seattle, who discovered 40,000 computer files at the website of a Diebold Inc subsidiary, Global Elections Systems Inc, beginning a public campaign against a company she believed was responsible for a seriously flawed e-voting system., already in use in several states. Anyway, now she’s turned up more explosive material, it seems. The Associated Press yesterday quoted her asContinue readingElectronic Voting And The Criminal Connection

Worm Hits Diebold’s Windows ATMs

It’s not happy days for Diebold, the company behind ATMs and electronic voting. Its e-voting machines have been the source of much controversy — earlier this month it withdrew its suit against people who had posted leaked documents about alleged security breaches in the software. Now its automatic teller machines have been hit — by viruses. Wired reports that ATMs at two banks running Microsoft Windows software were infected by a computer virus in August, the maker of the machines said. The ATM infections, first reported by SecurityFocus.com, are believed to be the first of a computer virus wiggling directly onto cash machines. (The RegisterContinue readingWorm Hits Diebold’s Windows ATMs

Diebold Confirms Dropping E-voting Suit

 Diebold, the electronic voting company and the subject of a recent Loose Wire column, have confirmed that they’ve decided not to sue folk who published leaked documents about the alleged security breaches of electronic voting.    AP reports (no URL available yet) that a Diebold spokesman promised in a conference call Monday with U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel and attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that it would not sue dozens of students, computer scientists and ISP operators who received cease-and-desist letters from August to October.  Diebold did not disclose specifics on why it had dropped its legal case, but the decision is a major reversalContinue readingDiebold Confirms Dropping E-voting Suit

Update: Diebold Withdraws E-voting Suit?

 Further to my column about e-voting a few weeks back, Diebold, maker of electronic voting machines, has apparently withdrawn its suit against an ISP and some individuals for posting leaked company documents about some of the problems with their system. Stanford Law School reports that Diebold had filed papers with the court saying it ?has decided not to take the additional step of suing for copyright infringement for the materials at issue. Given the widespread availability of the stolen materials, Diebold has further decided to withdraw its existing DMCA notifications and not to issue any further ones for those materials.?   No mention of thisContinue readingUpdate: Diebold Withdraws E-voting Suit?

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