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Thu, 14 May 2009

More open source required in government - 12:36
With the Diebold voting software fiascos in the US and other areas the past few years there has been a lot of proof that any voting systems on computers should be open source (even though governments around the world have not yet cottoned on to this). A few years ago (June 2005) I commented on some DUI charges being tossed out of a Florida court due to the lack of open source code available for the breathalysers. I followed on with mention of problems with speed cameras in Australia playing up also.

Today Schneier had some information on breathalysers that due to court orders finally had the source made available for some analysis. This is not the same breath test system as used in the Florida case from what I can tell at a glance (this was a New Jersey case), however it definitely opens your eyes once more on how crap closed source software can be (and yes I admit lots of open source software can also be crap) and you will have no idea, and no way to fix it. Any software used in law enforcement in such a way that it could be so incorrect or wrong and yet still cause someone to lose their licence or gain a criminal record really should be opened up, at least to the agency/government/force using the software, if not open to all people.

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