Ed Felton is a computer security researcher at Princeton, and over the past year has published a number of articles about how insecure electronic voting machines are.

One of the manufactures Sequoia were obviously feeling somewhat vulnerable to this adverse press and tried a pre-emptive strike on Felton, after the professor announced that he had access to a couple of Sequoia’s machine and was planning an independent analysis. Sequoia attempted to threaten the prof with this rather interesting email, which unfortunately for Sequoia ended up doing the rounds on various internet mailing lists.

Dear Professors Felten and Appel:

As you have likely read in the news media, certain New Jersey election officials have stated that they plan to send to you one or more Sequoia Advantage voting machines for analysis. I want to make you aware that if the County does so, it violates their established Sequoia licensing Agreement for use of the voting system. Sequoia has also retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis. We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property.

Very truly yours,
Edwin Smith
VP, Compliance/Quality/Certification
Sequoia Voting Systems

The good professor does not scare easy, and this tactic by Sequoia is blowing up in their faces. In today’s update of Professor Felton’s well read and well respected Freedom To Tinker blog the heat on Sequoia just got turned up a notch or two. In what Sequoia must consider a PR nightmare Felton has released some photo’s taken of the paper tape summary from one of the voting machines used in New Jersey recently, and it does not take a PhD in math to see that there is something amiss.

It will be interesting to see what response Sequoia have to this latest escalation.

Simon Barrett


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