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Comment Re:how many watts of power (Score 1) 179

From the waiver, which was linked to in TFA:

"The EMMDAR steps through two hundred frequencies, spaced two megahertz apart from 3101 MHz to 3499 MHz, one at a time. It transmits on one frequency for 75 microseconds with a peak instantaneous power of 31.6 milliwatts, followed by a 17.5-microsecond "off time" between frequency steps. The complete cycle repeats every 18.5 milliseconds, resulting in a duty cycle for each frequency of 0.41%."

Notice, this things emits a maximum of 0.0316 watts, which is somewhat less that the several hundred watts used to cook your chicken pot pie.

Comment Re:Wrong solution (Score 1) 143

Depositing the receipts with a trusted third party of the voter's choice is only marginally better than not having the anonymised vote numbers, since it means that your still relying on someone else to verify the counting process, and so the only benefit over having "trusted" audits of the voting machines is for those voters who decide to take the inconvenient option of keeping their receipts and checking in the newspaper themselves.

TBH, if you're introducing receipts into the process, why not have the voting machine print a receipt which is seen by the voter and then deposited into a ballot box, and provide for these receipts to be counted in the event of a dispute about the accuracy of the results from the machines? In this scenario, concerns about the lack of transparency with voting machines are lessened, because the machines are not providing the "definitive" result, they are just speeding up the initial count. (See my other post on this article for why I prefer this option.)

Comment Re:Wrong solution (Score 1) 143

Unless you're relying on people to remember their vote numbers, you need to issue the numbers in a written format. And the person wanting to know how you have voted can demand that you show them this written copy of your vote number.

I agree that your system would work if the mapping from voter to vote number can be kept private, but bear in mind that any crypto system involving people is vulnerable to rubber hosing.

Comment Re:Doesn't change a thing (Score 2, Insightful) 143

I beg to differ. Of course it's not possible for one individual to observe the entire election, but with paper ballots anyone can understand how the election works:
  1. voter goes to polling centre
  2. collect & mark ballot paper
  3. place ballot paper into locked ballot box
  4. when polling is over the locked boxes are taken to the counting location and opened
  5. ballot papers are then counted by hand (machines can be used the speed up the counting, but the option of hand-counting is still there) and the result is announced.

Anyone can understand how this process works, and can observe it in full (except for the actual point when the voter marks their ballot paper, since it's a secret ballot.) And here in the UK, there are observers throughout, not least from the various political parties (each of whom has an interest in ensuring that there isn't any fraud being committed against them) and the media. And if there's a dispute about the result, the counting can be easily verified.

Compare this to using an electronic voting machine:

  1. voter goes to polling centre
  2. select preferred candidate on screen and click "vote" (or whatever the UI is)
  3. ...
  4. when polling is over, the numbers from the machines are collated and the result is announced.

(I have deliberately left out how the votes are actually counted, as I'm not familiar with the actual systems in use, and (more importantly) this is how it will appear to most voters - as a magic box that takes their selections as an input and spits out a result as the output, with no understanding of how it does that.)
In this system the vast majority of the electorate will have no understanding of how it works, and nobody can observe the actual counting, they are reliant on techies checking the machines and saying "yes, this works properly." And if there is a dispute about whether the machines have counted the votes properly, there is no way to do a recount to verify the result. (I am deliberately ignoring electronic voting machines which produce a paper receipt, because in the event of a dispute the receipts can be counted - the machine is there just providing a faster method of counting.)

The first step to transparency is for people to be able to understand how the system is meant to work, only then can you move on to confirming that the system does work as it is meant to. Do you see now why paper voting is more transparent that electronic voting?

Comment Pay by phone (Score 1) 863

One system that I've seen is Pay by Phone. I've not used it myself, but how it works is that each parking space has a number which you enter over the phone along with your vehicle registration number, how long you're staying, and your credit card details. The system allows you to add extra time over the phone, and avoids problems with broken/vandalised meters.

Comment Re:Road signs (Score 2, Informative) 519

Another London cyclist here!

I regularly cycle from zone 3 into central London, and would agree with everything xaxa has said. My two top tips are to try the TfL cycle journey planner (it uses the same information as the maps, and gives the distance and timings for the route) and, if you're going to commute by bike, ride the route at a weekend first to get a feel for it.

The traffic around Holborn definitely is rather crazy, but there are a lot of side streets that avoid most of it, and in rush hour most of it isn't moving anyway :-)


Submission + - FBI Dodges Questions on Polygraph Screening

George Maschke writes: "The FBI's belated response to written questions submitted by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee includes evasive and misleading replies to a number of questions posed regarding the FBI's polygraph program. While these questions are but a fraction of those asked, if the FBI's responses to them are representative of its responses to other questions, the need for stronger Congressional oversight could not be more clear."

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