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Diebold

From Academic Kids

Diebold, Incorporated Template:Nyse is a security systems corporation which is engaged primarily in the sale, manufacture, installation and service of self-service transaction systems (such as ATMs), electronic and physical security products (including vaults and currency processing systems), and software and integrated systems for global financial and commercial markets. Diebold was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio in August, 1876, and is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio.

Diebold Election Systems, a subsidiary of Diebold, surrounded by controversy, has recently entered the business of creating electronic voting terminals and solutions for government entities.

The term "black box voting" was coined to describe machines that, like those made by Diebold, use closed source software, do not print paper ballots, and do not use any reliable digital authentication techniques.

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Diebold Election Systems

Diebold Elections Systems is run by Bob Urosevich, who has been working in the election systems industry since 1976 and is a active Republican which has led to questions of conflict of interest. In 1979, Mr. Urosevich founded American Information Systems. He served as the President of AIS from 1979 through 1992, and that company, now known as Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), counted over 100 million ballots in the U.S. 2000 General Election. Bob's brother, Todd Urosevich, is Vice President, Aftermarket Sales with ES&S. In 1995, Bob Urosevich started I-Mark Systems, whose product was a touch screen voting system utilizing a smart card and biometric encryption authorization technology. Global Election Systems, Inc. acquired I-Mark in 1997, and on July 31, 2000 Mr. Urosevich was promoted from Vice President of Sales and Marketing and New Business Development to President and Chief Operating Officer. On January 22, 2002, Diebold announced the acquisition of GES, then a manufacturer and supplier of electronic voting terminals and solutions. The total purchase price, in stock and cash, was $24.7 million. Global Election Systems subsequently changed its name to Diebold Election Systems, Inc.

Criticism

Together, ES&S and Diebold Election Systems are (as of 2004) responsible for tallying approximately 80% of the votes cast in the United States. The software architecture common to both is a creation of Mr. Urosevich's company I-Mark. Some experts claim that this structure is easily compromised, in part due to its reliance on Microsoft Access databases. Britain J. Williams, responsible for certification of voting machines for the state of Georgia and a consultant to Diebold, has provided an assessment based on his accounting of potential exploits.

In August 2003, Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold, announced that he had been a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush and had sent a get-out-the-funds letter to Ohio Republicans. When assailed by critics for the conflict of interest, he pointed out that the company's election machines division is run out of Texas by a registered Democrat. Nonetheless, he vowed to lower his political profile lest his personal actions harm the company. DES claims its systems provide strong immunity to ballot tampering and other vote rigging attempts. These claims have been challenged, notably by Bev Harris on her website, Blackboxvoting.org (http://www.blackboxvoting.org), and book by the same name. Harris and C. D. Sludge, an Internet journalist, both claim there is also evidence that the Diebold systems have been exploited to tamper with American elections —a claim Harris expands in her book Black Box Voting. Sludge further cites Votewatch for evidence that suggests a pattern of compromised voting machine exploits throughout the 1990s, and specifically involving the Diebold machines in the 2002 election. DES also has come under fire for the recent discovery that the Diebold voting machines do not and did not in 2004 meet the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) error standard.

Current controversy

Its voting machines, which are made by its subsidiary Diebold Election Systems (DES), have caused a public uproar among some opponents, some of which are engaged in "electronic civil disobedience" against legal attempts by Diebold to stop the release and publication of a number of internal memos. Diebold has since reportedly sent takedown requests to sites hosting these documents demanding that they be removed in violation of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act provisions of the DMCA found in § 512 of the United States Copyright Act.

In September 2003, a large number of internal Diebold memos, dating back to mid-2001, were posted to the Web by the website organizations Why War? and the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons, a group of student activists at Swarthmore College. Congressman Kucinich (D-OH) has placed portions of the files on his websites. Diebold's critics believe that these memos reflect badly on Diebold's voting machines and business practices. For example: "Do not to offer damaging opinions of our systems, even when their failings become obvious." (Election Support Guide; pg. 10 -- [1] (http://www.kucinich.us/e-voting/page05.php))

In December 2003, an internal Diebold memo was leaked to the press, sparking controversy in Maryland. Maryland officials requested that Diebold add the functionality of printing paper voting records. The leaked memo said, "As a business, I hope we're smart enough to charge them up the wazoo [for this feature]".

In 2004, after an initial investigation into the company's practices by the California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley caused him to issue a ban on one model of Diebold voting machines California, the Attorney General of California, Bill Lockyer, sued Diebold, charging that it had given false information about the security and reliability of Diebold Election Systems machines that were sold to the state. To settle the case, Diebold agreed to pay $2.6 million and to implement certain reforms. [2] (http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3449691?headline=Diebold~to~Settle~with~California)

Recently, in June 2005, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that when given access to Diebold vote-counting computers, Bev Harris-a huge critic of Diebold's voting machines- was able to make 65,000 votes disappear simply by changing the memory card that stores voting results for one that had been altered. Although the machines are supposed to record changes to data stored in the system, they showed no record of tampering after the memory cards were swapped. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of State said that, "Information on a blog site is not viable or credible." [3] (http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/11811936.htm)

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