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NYT OpEd: Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software

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Computational devices that are vulnerable to cheating are not limited to cars. Consider voting machines. Just a few months ago, the VA State Board of Elections finally decertified the use of a touch-screen voting machine called “AVS WinVote.” The password was hard-wired to “admin” — a default password so common that it would be among the first three terms any hacker would try. There were no controls on changes that could be made to the database tallying the votes. If the software fraudulently altered election results, there would be virtually no way of detecting the fraud since everything, including the evidence of the tampering, could be erased.


As computation spreads in society, our regulatory systems need to be funded appropriately and updated in their methods so that keeping our air clean and our elections honest is not a worse gamble than a slot machine.


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At www.nytimes.com

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