Andrew Gumbel, the ghost writer for Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend’s forthcoming Authentic Autobiography, has had his recent attacks on the Oscar Internet voting plan featured in The Guardian and reprinted in the LA Times as an “original” Op Ed.
He says The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was duped into accepting an Internet voting system for the vote on the Oscars in 2013. In the ghost writer’s opinion, a trustworthy Internet voting system is impossible to achieve with current technology. As “proof” he cites a list of anti-Internet voting extremists, including Ron Rivest and Alex Halderman (who are well known for having bullied West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in a public forum on Internet voting.)
Leaning on Rivest, Halderman, David Dill, and a couple of others, Gumbel writes, “Computer security experts have warned [of] … cyber attacks that could falsify the outcome but remain undetected.” Well, that is one scary story! Imagine - Anonymous hacks into Oscar’s computer and votes for Bollywood’s Rakhi Sawant in every category, and nobody knows it was him! That would truly be a disaster!
But has anything like that ever really happened?
The answer is a big NO! Internet voting has been conducted in Norway, Switzerland, India, Canada, and here in the US in several places, including West Virginia. In every case, technical and political experts, including officials and the public, were satisfied that there were no undetected Leprechauns who snuck in and changed everyone’s vote.
As if that isn’t gunk enough, Gumbel then reveals that he told “the Academy's chief operating officer, Ric Robertson, … of the near-total unanimity of computer experts [that Internet voting was insecure].” He says Mr. Robertson was shocked at the news.
Only one little problem with Gumbel’s report. In every successful Internet voting event, there were dozens of experts who worked on the project, and who knew it could be done. So, no "unanimity" there.
Come on Mr. Gumbel; stop throwing your gunk at Oscar!
For more on Gumbel’s gunk go to Oscar Hit w/ Gumbel Gunk
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.