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Critical Infrastructure

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A 116th Opportunity: New Congress to Offer Ambitious Election Reform Bill to Defend Democracy

We’ve said it many times and it bears worth repeating: foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy.  The security of critical election infrastructure is the focal point of the OSET Institute’s mission.  So, OSET leadership was pleased to learn that on January 3, 2019, the opening day of the 116th session of Congress, the newly elected House Democratic majority, led by Speaker-designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), will have its first order of legislative business—House Resolution #1 (“H.R.1”), a comprehensive election reform bill.  The question is will H.R.1 become law, and be the change-agent needed to better defend democracy?

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The Race to Secure our Elections: How Far Have we Come?

This article is the 1st of a two-part series on the state of America’s election infrastructure security with less than 4-months left to 2018 midterm election. Here I discuss the current situation and progress, and in the next post I will evaluate preparedness for the upcoming midterm in 110 days…

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Shifting the Conversation from “Shoring-up” to “Re-engineering”

This afternoon a bipartisan group of authorities on election administration and cybersecurity presented a Congressional Briefing on current election security challenges facing federal and state policymakers. While it was a worthy discussion, I keep having this sinking feeling that we’re simply re-arranging furniture on the deck of a large cruise ship steaming toward an icebreaker in the dark…

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Election Vulnerabilities: No Exploit Too Small; No Impact Too Large

The American public is currently in the midst of a rude awakening as increasing numbers of reports diagnose the state of American cybersecurity, especially as it pertains to elections. The nature of attacks isn’t limited to election administration equipment. Lots of havoc can be wreaked just attacking voter services web site…

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Recounting Cyberscoop's SF CyberTalks Election Security Panel

Our CTO John Sebes was a featured speaker at Cyberscoop’s recent San Francisco CyberTalks held last week in downtown San Francisco. A huge success, SF CyberTalks was a TED-like conference for the cyber-security leadership community that brought together top influential leaders from the cyber-security community, technology industry and the government. We recap the Election Security Panel discussion John participated on, including recaps of his comments and answers to the moderator’s questions.

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Critical Democracy Infrastructure: Our Briefing Launches

We are pleased to announce the release of the OSET Institute’s Critical Democracy Infrastructure (CDI) Briefing.  It’s been over a year in development.  Early review by several in Government, Media, and Advisors tell us this may be the most important publication on the issue of election infrastructure yet.  We humbly hope so. This Briefing provides a thorough review of the technology infrastructure of election administration and operation.  We address its critical nature and what is required for it to be treated as such, and assess the challenges of official designation, as well as the immediate and longer-term challenges to protecting this vital aspect of our democracy...

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Recapping Our 4 CAP Briefing Posts

You may wonder why we spent 4 blog posts reviewing and discussing the CAP Briefing.  Here’s briefly why. This Briefing is the kind of substantive consideration and conversation America (e.g., election officials, U.S. security officials, policy strategists, policy makers, and other stakeholders) needs to be having right now. Any set of recommendations deserves fair, intellectually honest, and open consideration and debate...

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Another Look at the CAP Briefing on Solving Election Security

We want to give credit to the great points the Center for American Progress recently made in their Briefing about election integrity. While we have some strategic differences, we generally endorse CAP’s tactical steps for improving election integrity in the near term.  The CAP Briefing was well researched and brought together many points that are widely agreed upon by the election integrity community including the OSET Institute.  Given Greg’s desire to limit the length of his response recently, and focus on the structural issue we’re so concerned about, we decided I would post a list here of the points we agree with and those we differ on...

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Another Proposed Solution Set to Protect U.S. Elections

Danielle Root and Liz Kennedy at the Center for American Progress (“CAP”) published an important Briefing today highlighting nine solutions to secure America’s elections. The Briefing is well researched and offers a keen assessment of our current public elections’ average level of integrity.  I want to say right up front, this is good and important work.  What we offer as a review and comment here is intended to catalyze an intellectually honest conversation, and not to serve as some critique of their good work.

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Reviewing the Brennan Center Study on Election Security—Part 2

Our commentary in the last segment on the Brennan Election Security Report might seem nit-picky, but the OSET Institute believes that in order to properly design a solution for a specific problem you need to be able to identify it precisely.  We’re going to make a bold assertion: Many of the solutions in the Brennan Report, while undoubtedly helpful, fail to do enough to increase the security of our elections. The recommendations fall short of properly addressing the problem as we described it in Part 1. These solutions are actually incremental steps that try to improve a system that needs to be fundamentally re-invented. ...

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Reviewing the Brennan Center Study on Election Security—Part 1

The Brennan Center for Justice recently released a fairly thorough, well done report on the security needs and vulnerabilities of the U.S. election system—a topic of considerable attention here at the Institute.  It’s a vital element of the current debate and discussion of democracy administration and national security.  This is the first of a three-part series examining the Brennan Report on election security.

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Is Foreign State Hacking of an Election An Act of War?

A couple of days ago Benjamin Dynkin, Barry Dynkin & Daniel Garrie, published an intriguing article in the New York Law Journal, “Hacking Elections: An Act of War?” (Subscription required.)  The article is well heeled; Benjamin Dynkin is a law clerk at Grauman Law Group. Barry Dynkin is of counsel at the firm, where he heads the cyber security practice. Daniel Garrie is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law and Cyber Warfare and a partner at Zeichner Ellman & Krause.  And its worth summarizing here food for thought (inasmuch as possibly some intellectual navel-gazing ;-)

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A Call for the President to Act on Electoral Integrity Preparedness

Its not common for us to wade into policy issues of our U.S. President's Administration, but given how much we've witnessed regarding foreign meddling in the 2016 election cycle, we believe its well within our mission scope to comment today on this nation's preparedness regarding our election infrastructure in upcoming elections.....

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With the Election Past; The Clock is Running

With the election behind us, regardless of how you view the results, one irrefutable fact remains... the 2016 general election is absolutely the last election the existing voting infrastructure of this nation can possibly support.  Another fact is that the machinery of America's elections is on its last legs (literally)...

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Is the Electoral College Dead, and is Their An App For That?

Today Facebook is full of calls for a national popular vote ("NPV") and even more for something called the National Popular Vote Compact.  Implementing NPV not only requires substantial political will (and US constitutional amendment); it requires nationwide audits and recounts, national open data standards, and evidenced based election technology with voter verifiable paper trails.  The TrustTheVote Project may have an App or two to help if and when the time comes.  At the very least, our work can facilitate that conversation.  Today, national election integrity activist and expert Luther Weeks lays out some of the challenges...

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