By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
2nd December 2009
Sequoia Voting Systems has become the first electronic voting machine
maker to publish the source code used in one of its systems, a move that
computer scientists have praised.
On Monday, the Denver, Colorado company released the first batch of code
for Frontier, an end-to-end e-voting system that it plans to begin
selling in the near future. Sequoia has promised to release the
blueprints for 100 per cent of its system software, including firmware,
before the system is submitted for federal certification in June.
To be sure, the initial installment is fairly mundane: code written in
Microsoft's C# programming language that acts as a desktop publishing
program of sorts for controlling the layout of a ballot. But the move
represents a seismic shift in strategy for Sequoia, which in the past
has gone to great lengths to keep third parties from reviewing the inner
workings of its machines.
"They completely reversed their viewpoint from a viewpoint that was very
much closed source to a viewpoint that is very much disclosed source,"
said Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at SRI International
and an e-voting consultant.
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