[gs-devel] Urgent Ghostscript query involving election software!

Jim March 1.jim.march at gmail.com
Thu Nov 8 14:18:31 PST 2007


Gents, without extensive quoting, let me clear up some issues.

When I gave a date of 5/11/06 I was using US conventions, so that's
May 11th '06.  Not November :).

These four file changes were the ONLY changes to any program file
after the initial election cycle Logic & Accuracy test, which was
prior to May 10th.  (the 8th I *think*, don't quote me...).

After that, and certainly by the time scanning started on May 10th,
the code base should have been frozen solid through election day on
the 16th, through post-election processes and then the end-of-election
logic & accuracy test somewhere around the 20th.  With the exception
of these four files, that's the case - the code is frozen.  An update
during that period would be verbotten.

This county's security procedures were grossly sloppy in every way.
This ain't *even* the whole story...

OK, here's what I can do:

* I have right now complete directory listings for the server, using
the command "dir c:\*.* /s > filelist.txt".  I can get that to whoever
needs it basically right now.

* I can do a public records request with Pima going after the
ghostscript executables.  This would be aided (bigtime) by a signed
statement by the license holder that it's GPL.  Failing that, we have
a "friendly" county elections director running Diebold gear in Leon
County FL who would respond positively to a records request of this
time if Pima stonewalls.

* Going after Diebold for stuff will be messier.  Trust me.  For one
thing, their "GEMS" central tabulator has origins going back to
1995ish and has been screwed with by multiple programming teams from
at least four companies.  By all indications it's a totally screwed-up
spaghetti-code mess from hell.  Which means pulling GS and re-doing
that component would be a stone-cold bitch for 'em, not something
they'll go along with eagerly.  Then again, we're talking about a
company that's pretty widely considered to be Sauron-grade evil, and
ANY additional bad press would sting 'em good.

You should also be aware that Diebold never thought this stuff would
get out into the wild.  They left an FTP site wide open some years
back and a three-day marathon download by a researcher is the ONLY
reason we know much about Diebold's product line at all.

Also note that Diebold bought Global Election Systems Inc. in 2002.
In 2000 Global had bought another company called Spectrum Print and
Mail.  Global and Spectrum were both highly unprofessional of the sort
that might GPL-pirate GhostScript.  Christ, between Global and
Spectrum they had five convicted felons in ownership and/or management
positions...so to say GPL violations are "possible" is a gross
understatement.

Jim March


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