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 2021-03-03
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 2216 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 2216 times since Tue Oct 27, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Applications for asylum based on LGBT status top 11,000 between 2012, 2017
2021-03-04
--From a press release - A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimates that 11,400 applications for asylum on the basis of LGBT status were filed in the U.S. between 2012 and 2017. Three out of ...


Gay News

Most states are considering anti-transgender bills
2021-03-03
Legislators in more than half the states are debating bills to limit access to sports or medical care for transgender people, according to an article by The Hill. Across the nation, at least 35 bills have ...


Gay News

Reggie Greer to be White House Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues, Victory Institute applauds
2021-03-03
--From a press release - Washington, DC — LGBTQ Victory Institute praised the appointment of Reggie Greer to be President Joe Biden's Director of Priority Placement at PPO and Senior Advisor on LGBTQ Issues at the White House. Greer served as ...


Gay News

Organizations campaign for stamps honoring LGBTQ icons
2021-03-02
The International Imperial Court System (IICS) of the United States, Canada, and Mexico and the National LGBTQ Task Force have launched a national campaign asking the U.S. Post Office Department to issue stamps honoring LGBTQ icons ...


Gay News

LGBTQ heroes postage stamp campaign launched
2021-03-02
--From a press release - San Diego, CA: The United States oldest LGBTQ organization; the International Imperial Court System (IICS) of the United States, Canada, and Mexico (founded in 1965), and the oldest LGBTQ civil rights organization; the National LGBTQ Task ...


Gay News

Treasurer Frerichs honors Illinois leaders during Women's History Month
2021-03-01
--From a press release - SPRINGFIELD — In honor of Women's History Month, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today kicked off a virtual campaign to highlight and celebrate the achievements of women in Illinois. This year's national theme for Women's Histo ...


Gay News

WORLD Ghana turmoil, Malaysia case, Copenhagen 2021, Brazil churches
2021-02-28
Anti-gay outcry has forced Ghana's first LGBT+ community center to temporarily close to protect its staff and visitors three weeks after it opened, Reuters reported. Church groups, politicians and anti-gay rights groups have called on the ...


Gay News

Equality Act would provide federal civil rights protections to 13M LGBTs
2021-02-26
--From a press release - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, federal legislation that would expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under existing civil rights laws. LGBT ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS Chicago alderman exploring secretary of state run
2021-02-26
According to Politico Playbook, Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) is exploring the possibility of running for secretary of state. I know I can build on the work that Secretary [of State Jesse] White has done ...


Gay News

Harris reveals legislative agenda for 2021
2021-02-26
--From a press release - With remote committee hearings starting next week, the Spring Session is now truly underway. I wanted to share my legislative agenda for this year with you. In addition to my duties as chief budget negotiator for ...


Gay News

Mike Madigan picks second successor
2021-02-26
On Feb. 25, Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar was sworn in as the new 22nd District state representative, media outlets reported. Guerrero-Cuellar is the second person to succeed now-former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in less than a week. ...


Gay News

House passes Equality Act, LGBTQ Victory Institute demands Senate vote
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute — the only national organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ elected officials — applauded the U.S. House for passing the Equality Act and called on U.S. senators not to filibuster ...


Gay News

Vaccine eligibility opens to Illinoisans with serious medical conditions
2021-02-25
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Building on efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Health today announced that Illinoisans with serious medical conditions can be vaccinated ...


Gay News

Dr. Rachel Levine confirmation hearing today, to be first trans Senate-confirmed appointee
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today Dr. Rachel Levine will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about her experience and qualifications to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health. If moved ...


Gay News

Victory Institute condemns Rand Paul attack on Dr. Rachel Levine, trans youth
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned Senator Rand Paul's transphobic attack on Dr. Rachel Levine during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He attacked trans you ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.