Talking surveillance, elections, monopolies, and Facebook on the Bots and Ballots podcast

Grant Burningham interviewed me for his Bots and Ballots podcast (MP3), covering a bunch of extremely timely tech-politics issues: Facebook and the impact of commercial surveillance on democratic elections; Alex Jones, censorship and market concentration; and monopolism and the future of the internet. Read the rest

11-year-old hacks replica of Florida's state election website in less than ten minutes

Can we please have paper ballots nationwide?

Last week at DEFCON 26 in Las Vegas, eleven-year-old Emmett Brewer hacked into a replica of Florida's state election site and changed the voting results. That's scary enough. What's even scarier is that it took him less than ten minutes. An eleven-year-old girl was able to hack into the same site in about fifteen minutes. And more than THIRTY kids were able to hack into replicas of other states' sites in less than half an hour.

That is straight up alarming and you'd think the folks in charge of our state and federal elections would be concerned about this and want to take immediate action. That would be the normal reaction. But we're a long way from normal.

In a statement regarding the event, the National Association of Secretaries of State said it is “ready to work with civic-minded members of the DEFCON community wanting to become part of a proactive team effort to secure our elections.” But the organization expressed skepticism over the hackers’ abilities to access the actual state websites.

“It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols,” it read. “While it is undeniable websites are vulnerable to hackers, election night reporting websites are only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results for the public and the media. The sites are not connected to vote counting equipment and could never change actual election results.”’

I'm sure we'll be fine, though. Read the rest

Missouri voters kill the state's anti-union law with a massively successful ballot initiative

Many of today's "red" states have historically had strong trade union movements -- think of Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin -- but after Citizens United opened the floodgates to dark money from the super-rich in state politics, the states saw their legislatures fill up with ideologue Republicans who passed anti-union laws designed to weaken labor and allow employers to pay their workers less, cut their benefits, fire them more easily, and subject them to less safe, less dignified working conditions. Read the rest

Why Democratic Socialists aren't afraid to call themselves "Socialist" anymore

For generations, American mainstream politicians have smeared socialist movements by equating them with Stalinism and other forms of authoritarianism, but today, "socialism" is a label more and more people are embracing. Read the rest

David Garcia thinks he can become governor of Arizona by campaigning for progressive policies instead of against Republicans

Despite being home to millions of sensible people, including a large bloc of potentially progressive Latinx voters, Arizona keeps elevating billionaire-friendly (and billionaire backed) white supremacist authoritarians to high office. Read the rest

Quality employers announce that they'll close down on election day so everyone can vote

Patagonia has long given its employees election day off, but now they're calling on other employers to follow suit. The good eggs at Adafruit heard the message: they're giving all their employees a day off to go and vote. Read the rest

Florida youth voter registration up 41% since Parkland shooting

The only thing worse than a horrific tragedy is a horrific tragedy from which nothing decent is salvaged. Florida's youth voter registration is up 41% since the Parkland shooting and the ensuing Republican Party indifference to mass-murder and open contempt for young gun-control advocates. Florida is the nation's largest swing state. 2018 is an election year. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Leading voting machine company admits it lied, reveals that its voting machines ship backdoored, with pre-installed remote access software

Election Systems and Software is America's leading voting machine vendor, a category notorious for buggy, insecure software and rampant manufacturer misconduct. As the 2018 elections loom, voting machine companies are coming under scrutiny, and when veteran security reporter Kim Zetter asked them, on behalf of the New York Times, if their products shipped with backdoors allowing remote parties to access and alter them over the internet, they told her unequivocally that they did not engage in this practice. Read the rest

Tech giants met with intel chiefs at Facebook HQ to discuss Russian attacks on midterm elections

Representatives from 8 of America's largest technology companies met with U.S. intelligence officials in May to talk about how to respond to the ongoing Russian cyber-attacks and foreign influence campaigns that affected our 2016 elections, and could alter the course of year’s midterms. Read the rest

New York primaries: Democrats' finance-affiliated fundraising superstar got his ass kicked by a young woman with a Democratic Socialist platform

Rep. Joe Crowley has been in Congress since 1999; he's the number four Dem in the House, representing a diverse district in the Bronx, and winning primaries in a solidly Democratic district by raising millions from his friends in the finance industry. Read the rest

Judge orders Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to go back to law school

Kris Kobach (previously) is a racist shitbag who engineered Red State America's voter suppression campaign; he is also (predictably enough) the Kansas Secretary of State, in which capacity he has been representing his office in a lawsuit over his unconstitutional voter ID law. Read the rest

Mexican election: saturation robo-calls spreading disinformation about Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the front-running candidate for president of Mexico on a largely progressive ticket (tuition breaks, increased aid to seniors, drug war amnesty, though it's a mixed bag, reflecting the weird coalition of left-wing and right-wing parties he's fronting); and he is the target of a bizarre, mass-scale disinformation campaign being carried out by blanket robo-calling. Read the rest

114 candidates in Mexico's upcoming elections have been murdered, so far

Alejandro Chavez Zavala was running for mayor of Tareta in the state of Michoacan when he was gunned down following a campaign event. Read the rest

How to vote strategically in the Ontario election

There's only two days to go until the Ontario election, which pits a know-nothing, far-right, failed businessman born with a silver spoon in his mouth (who is too cowardly to talk to a real reporter so he hired his own) against the vastly unpopular incumbent Liberal Premiere Kathleen Wynne and a newly progressive NDP led by Andrea Horwath, who has abandoned the party's failed foray into centrism and returned to its Democratic Socialist roots. Read the rest

This viral campaign video for a progressive New York Democratic primary challenger cost less than $10K and spread like wildfire

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a community organizer from the Bronx who is challenging New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley for the party nomination; she's a Bernie Sanders-affiliated left-wing Democrat who raised $200,000 to challenge Crowley's $1.6m war-chest. Read the rest

Ahead of national elections, India's authoritarian ruling party loses a key regional battle

India's national elections are only a year away, and things aren't looking good for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an authoritarian war criminal who has a mutual love affair with US President Donald Trump. Read the rest

Bumblefuck Watch: Rob Ford's brother hired his own "reporter" to ask him scripted softball questions for literal fake news spots

Doug Ford -- alleged hashish kingpin and brother to the dead, racist, violent, sexist, rapey crackhead ex-Toronto-Mayor Rob Ford -- stole the nomination to lead the Ontario Conservatives in an upcoming provincial race. Read the rest

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