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Archive for September 13th, 2008

GAO: Improve Standards for Testing Voting Machines

Posted by rjbiii on September 13, 2008

In a new GAO report (found here [pdf]), the NIST doesn’t come off so well:

NIST, which measures laboratories’ technical qualifications and then makes recommendations to [the Election Assistance Commission, or EAC], was the subject of many of GAO’s criticisms. Of particular concern, the watchdog agency said, was NIST’s reliance on generic international standards to ensure that the people conducting the assessments were qualified. NIST should have followed requirements in the 2002 voting law, the report said.

Recommendations included:

GAO recommended that NIST ensure assessors are qualified and trained properly, and that each laboratory review is well-documented. Similarly, GAO recommended that the EAC executive director make sure accreditation steps are documented thoroughly, requirements for the qualifications of accreditation reviewers are defined and appropriate records are maintained. The watchdog agency also suggested that EAC establish standards for determining laboratory financial stability.

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UN Agency seeks to Curb Internet Anonymity

Posted by rjbiii on September 13, 2008

Somewhat alarming; but interesting with respect to forensics and investigations:

A United Nations agency is quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous.

The U.S. National Security Agency is also participating in the “IP Traceback” drafting group, named Q6/17, which is meeting next week in Geneva to work on the traceback proposal. Members of Q6/17 have declined to release key documents, and meetings are closed to the public.

The potential for eroding Internet users’ right to remain anonymous, which is protected by law in the United States and recognized in international law by groups such as the Council of Europe, has alarmed some technologists and privacy advocates. Also affected may be services such as the Tor anonymizing network.

The article notes the potential of these standards to aid repressive regimes:

A second, apparently leaked ITU document offers surveillance and monitoring justifications that seem well-suited to repressive regimes:

A political opponent to a government publishes articles putting the government in an unfavorable light. The government, having a law against any opposition, tries to identify the source of the negative articles but the articles having been published via a proxy server, is unable to do so protecting the anonymity of the author.

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