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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just press the button and the machine does the rest...

Minister for profligacy Martin Cullen is likely tearing through more packs of fags than usual today after hearing the news that European hackers are able to hack his 60 million euro machines effortlessly, detect votes as they are cast and even manipulate the results.

Cullen, who championed the introduction of e-voting in the face of vociferous objection from the public and IT experts, will be wondering if he would have been better off spending that money on another round the world trip with his former PR consultant and serial libel litigant Monica Leech (above after being appointed to her latest sinecure with Waterford Chamber of Commerce).

Even at Monica's rather wallet-lightening rate of 1,200 euro per day, Marty could have swanned around the planet with his trusty media guru to hand for nearly 140 years for the same price he paid for the useless hunks of electronics that are now gathering dust throughout the country.

Every so often, we've seen an idea floated as to what can be done with the machines, other than scrapping them or permitting them to languish in storage at the taxpayers' expense. But whether they end up as game consoles in American bars, as was once suggested, one thing is for sure. No one will be using them to vote in this country any time soon.

According to notorious German hackers, the Computer Chaos Club, the machines give off radio waves that could be intercepted by anyone in a 25 metre vicinity, thereby revealing the 'secret' voting choices of the electorate.

And only last week, it appears that their Dutch colleagues, the
lobby group "Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet" (That's "We don't trust e-voting machines" to you and me) demonstrated on TV how the machines can be easily manipulated, using the very manuals that came with the machines Martin Cullen bought.

"Anyone when given brief access to the devices at any time before the election, can gain complete and virtually undetectable control over the election results," they revealed.

Perhaps Marty should dust the machines off, bite the bullet and take the e-voting vision to phase 2 by having the machines decide our government for us next year. We'll just press a few buttons, and the machines can do the rest.

At least that way, we would have something else to blame than ourselves for having people like Cullen in cabinet.

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