Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Talkin' Tech: Election technology; Pitfalls and triumphs explained
by Martie Marro for Windy City Times
2020-10-27

This article shared 2753 times since Tue Oct 27, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


It is election season 2020 and a lot of false information is circling the recent news (and fake news) regarding your vote. The 2016 elections showed a lot of technology pitfalls when it came to foreign interference, especially on social-media, so this explanation will start there.

Social media platforms were by and large set up for anonymous posting, beginning in 2008. Since then, only if someone is exclusively friends with or following people they know and trust, and have met in person, members of Twitter and Facebook are subject to occasionally reading a post from someone they don't know who could live anywhere in the world.

Anonymous posting is especially true for social-media groups, where someone truly doesn't know many members in the group. "Trolls" is a common phrase used to describe anonymous posters that infiltrate a group to post ideas that are typically the opposite of others' beliefs or the group's beliefs to stir up trouble or doubt.

More insidious are the trolls that intend to strengthen others' beliefs in something untrue and completely false. A good example of that scenario was a conspiracy theory called "Pizza-Gate," a lie about a Hillary Clinton-run pedophile ring located in the basement of a pizza joint called Comet in Washington, D.C.

In March, during the 2016 election year, the email account of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, was hacked by faking a message from the mail server host, intentionally giving him a false email link to reset his password. Conspiracy theorists of the Pizza-Gate confabulation falsely claimed the emails contained coded messages regarding high-ranking D.C. officials, specifically Democrats, and their involvement with this made-up pedophile ring. These lies were spread mainly through conspiracy websites and Twitter using fake accounts.

After a gunman showed up at the pizza place and fired a rifle inside the restaurant, the conspiracy theories were widely disputed by mainstream media, and Edgar Welch, the gunman, was placed under arrest. Unfortunately, many Americans still believe this false story to be true, due to the power of social media. Other foreign interests, including Russia, have been detected by the FBI, trolling white nationalists groups and feeding into the anger and falsehoods professed by these groups.

The FBI recently compiled a 2020 election interference report. The existence of this report, published at the end of August 2020, became public knowledge on Sept. 22 in articles by The Washington Post and The New York Times. U.S. officials have accused Russia, China and Iran of trying to influence the 2020 elections.

Emails that were sent to Democrats, which appeared to come from the white nationalist group the "Proud Boys," threatened Democrats, saying they had to vote for Trump, or else. It was later proven these emails came from a mail server in Iran. The FBI report did not specify that the Proud Boys were responsible for hacking the Iranian mail server, the report indiscriminately blamed Iran.

Social media and email aside, U.S. elections involve technology in multiple ways. At most polling places across America, many of the voting machines are electronic touch screens. These electronic machines have made voting easier for many people, and produce far less errors (ie: no hanging chads). There will always be a question about who manufactures the machines and which companies maintain them, but every county has an election board that combs over these details carefully.

Social media rumors include one that China granted trademarks for multiple products, potentially including voting machines, under Ivanka Trump's eponymous brand in late 2018. While Snopes alleges this to be true, it also stated it was highly unlikely those machines would ever be used in the United States.

The real pitfall of American voting falls into an IT phenomenon known as Packet-Sniffing. It's where packets of data are read by software or scripts on the internet with the sole intention of violating privacy. Think of it like Package-Sniffing for this very basic explanation. Suppose someone sits outside of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 East Washington Street and sniffs every "package" as they go by. This is a highly congested pedestrian area. For every package they like the smell of, they slyly put a penny in the pocket of that pedestrian with the pleasant-smelling package.

At the end of the day how much will they have changed the wealth of the pedestrians in the area? Who Knows? Like Package-Sniffing, Packet-Sniffing is highly untrackable. It is a packet of data travelling from one place to another. Polling places are typically in grammar schools, high schools, and government buildings, including the Chicago Cultural Center. Some of these locations have little to no security protocols in place. Each of these polling places periodically send packets of data to the precincts that include vote totals. These packets of data are ideally encrypted on their way to the precinct to be counted.

However, grammar schools are the least likely to have an encryption setup, as their network passwords have to be easy enough for grade schoolers to remember. In 2020 it was reported that 25% of all hacked computers in the U.S. resided at schools, another 25% were government desktops. Education Weekly writes: "The reality is that many school districts are still struggling to protect their own networks from students, [and are] oblivious to outside threats."

Data travels underground in pipes full of cables and fiber optics. For the most part, these pipes are public and any script or software can "virtually" sit down there and wait for packets to go by, with specific information in them.

According to the Chicago Election Board, located a few blocks from the Chicago Cultural Center, an election-day polling place, vote tabulation results are transmitted electronically to the central counting station. Concerningly, the Board of Elections website does not state these tabulations are encrypted. Lists of all the polling places across America are publically accessible. Precinct headquarter addresses might be information slightly less accessible.

In conclusion, alternate to what President Trump professes at his rallies, mail-in voting is the method of voting available that is least subjected to electronic manipulation.

In the distant future voting may be strictly online, like many countries. Voting online will be a triumph if done correctly, with security in the forethought of all those potential developers. Without above-the-ordinary encryption, the results will be useless. If Amazon or Google is capable of extreme encryption and ultra-sensitive security protocols, any server can be.

Just as with many government computers that have weak passwords and no security protocols, many computer systems are currently not up to the test.


This article shared 2753 times since Tue Oct 27, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Big Cities Health Coalition holds monkeypox virus briefing
2022-08-11
Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) held a virtual monkeypox virus briefing Aug. 10 fthat ocused on local public health activities in Chicago. Speakers included BCHC Executive Director Chrissie Juliano and BCHC member and Chicago Department of ...


Gay News

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom names first queer woman to state supreme court
2022-08-11
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his intention to appoint Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kelli Evans to serve as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Justice Guerrero's elevation ...


Gay News

Another queer candidate is part of Chicago mayoral race
2022-08-10
In addition to incumbent Lori Lightfoot as well as Ald. Raymond Lopez and media figure DJ Doran, there is a new LGBTQ+ candidate in the race for Chicago mayor. According to their website, J Saxon "is ...


Gay News

Chicago Ald. Sophia King enters mayoral race
2022-08-10
Chicago Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward) has officially entered the Chicago mayoral race. "I love this city. We need a Chicago that's safer AND stronger," King says in the video, according to NBC Chicago. "Let's put ...


Gay News

Drag show finally takes place at UpRising Bakery and Cafe
2022-08-08
After a series of events that encompassed everything from vandalism to meetings with village officials to a visit from Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, LGBTQ+-owned Lake in the Hills business UpRising Bakery and Cafe finally held its ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Okla. schools, Tenn. lawsuit, political items, Mich. library
2022-08-07
Video below - Oklahoma public schools have started requiring students from kindergarten to college to complete "biological sex affidavits" if they want to compete in school sports, in accordance with a state law that took effect earlier this year, ...


Gay News

WORLD Zelensky, French position, UK drag-queen shows, triathlons
2022-08-07
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed he will ask Ukraine's government to look into legalizing same-sex marriage after the war with Russia ends, PinkNews reported. Ukraine's constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Last ...


Gay News

Uganda government forces LGBTQ+ group to shut down
2022-08-07
An LGBTQI+-rights group in Uganda said the country's government forced it to shut down, according to The Washington Blade. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in a press release, said Uganda's National ...


Gay News

Pritzker visits UpRising Bakery and Cafe
2022-08-06
On Aug. 5, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker met with Corrina Sac, owner of Lake in the Hills business UpRising Bakery and Café, as well as leaders from Equality Illinois and Woodstock Pride and Illinois state Rep. ...


Gay News

POLITICS Milwaukee gets RNC in '24; Chicago among DNC hopefuls
2022-08-06
Milwaukee will host the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC). According to Politico, RNC committee chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted, "I am excited to announce that the RNC has voted unanimously to select Milwaukee as the host city ...


Gay News

Indiana Gov. Holcomb signs bill banning most abortions
2022-08-06
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill that would ban most abortions—making it the first state to pass a restrictive law against the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this ...


Gay News

CDPH, community partners provide monkeypox update as Market Days nears
2022-08-05
With the event known as Northalsted Market Days happening Aug. 6-7—and with tens of thousands of people expected to attend—the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and community partners held a press conference Aug. 4 about ...


Gay News

Sinema plans to sign on Senate Democrats' climate, health and tax bill
2022-08-05
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) announced Aug. 4 that she will "move forward" with Democrats' massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after fellow party members appeared to reach an agreement about her concerns with the ...


Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Morrison calls for hearing to address monkeypox outbreak
2022-08-04
-- From a press release - SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Aug, 4, 2022 —Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (District 15) has introduced a resolution calling for a public hearing in the Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee that will convene Monday, Aug. 8, ...


Gay News

Bailey faces backlash after abortion/Holocaust comment
2022-08-03
Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is facing backlash after footage from 2017 showed him comparing abortion to the Holocaust, according to NBC Chicago. "The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn't even ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.