Good morning everybody! 

I was on WGAN this morning with Matt Gagnon and started this morning talking about a radical new way to assure transparency and validity in our Elections. Then we got into the Cybersecurity Pandemic we are facing and how the COVID-19 pandemic brought it about. Here we go with Matt.

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Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Matt called it a radical idea this morning, and frankly, I think it is. I think I’ve come up with a way to fix one of our elections and technology’s biggest problems.

Hey, Craig Peterson here. I was on with Mr. Matt Gagnon this morning over on WGAN and carried on other stations throughout Maine and down in New Hampshire. Anyhow, here we go with Matt.

I think this is an excellent idea. I’m going to have to do a little more about this thing.

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:36] Let’s turn to Craig Peterson, our tech guru, and let’s get some thoughts here on technology. Craig, how are you? This one?

Craig Peterson: [00:00:43] A good morning. And you know what? I’ve got some fonts on how to make this election go way more smoothly in the future.

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:49] Do you now?

Craig Peterson: [00:00:51] Yeah. We’ve got the internet today, and part of the problem, I’m not going to get into all of this, but we’ve got these machines in some States called ballot marking devices just on the technology side.

We have other machines that are just basic touchscreens, but a BMD, A ballot marking device, is one where you’ve got a tablet, and some of these are Android. Many of them are Android-based, which you already know. I’m not too fond of it from a security standpoint, and they will spit out a little ballot, a paper ballot that you can take. That ballot now says, Oh, you just voted for Joe Biden and Joan and Jane and whomever, and it has a bar code. That bar code is what’s actually read by the machines for your vote.

There are so many questions. Yeah. It says, I voted for Biden but did my vote actually counts for him? I don’t know what the barcode names. We’ve got the problems. Potentially the device, whether it’s windows seven, which is used in a lot of these machines, Windows XP is still. Android et cetera.

Let’s make this simple. These machines are costly. States are spending tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Buying them.

All we need to do is have a card just like we’re used to voting on where you fill in the bubble. Then buy normal every day scanners, just off the shelf things, and make sure they’re up to date. People do their voting. The machines then read the votes and now have an image. Obviously, there has to be a chain of custody, and everything else like you’d normally have. But most of the images now can just be run through some very inexpensive software. I found a company out there that has $800 software.  That software does the grading.

Here’s where the confidence in the vote I think would come in. You could then post all the ballots online for anyone, basically, to download that wants to download them.

Maybe even like to do a check on ballots where you have a couple of different people manually counting to make sure the machines are right. Why not use two or three?

Craig Peterson:[00:03:11] Three different pieces of software to grade those ballots. Then have people have a look at them. Have any voter that wants to examine the ballots examine them digitally, with, of course, all of the right chains of custody,

Matt Gagnon: [00:03:24] Radical transparency then is what’s your,

Craig Peterson: [00:03:27] Absolutely, and it’s cheap. It is way cheaper than what we’re paying right now for these various machines.

Matt Gagnon: [00:03:34] Yeah, I remember I don’t know how many years ago this was, but probably 2013, maybe even earlier than that. Yeah, no, it was earlier than that. It might’ve been like 2009. Now that I’m thinking of it.

When I was living in Virginia, I went to vote. The machine that I had there to vote on, I was blown away by it because I was used to the Maine system where you, you fill in bubbles on a piece of paper, and you feed it into the machine, and it does basically, what you just said outside of providing you images and stuff.

It had a scroll wheel.  I felt like I was playing like Golden Tee or something. I had a scroll wheel and digital thing where I made my selections for whichever office it was, and I selected it. I pushed the button, and I had no physical interaction with a piece of paper or anything. It basically just said, thank you for voting.

Then I left. At the same time, I didn’t really actually doubt that my vote was counted and all that other stuff. It did skeeze me out a little bit. It didn’t feel real to me.

Craig Peterson: [00:04:20] I’d move beyond that.  I think radical transparency is a way to do it. Even the machines that we use in Maine. They are special, dedicated, purpose-built voting machines. We don’t need that. We really don’t.

Anyhow. My opinion on it.

People could have a lot more confidence in the votes if we did something this simple and really observable by anybody.

Matt Gagnon: [00:04:45] That’s a good suggestion. Oftentimes we try, in terms of simplicity here, we try to go more complicated and have more machines do more crazy things when something like this should be as easy and simple as possible with as much verifiable tracking as you could have.

To verify it is what it is, right? Yeah. But it’s a, and it’s a big topic. There’s got to be some congressional action on voting in general soon. Whether you thought the election was stolen or you don’t think it was stolen?

I would hope that most regular people, rational people, know that whatever we just lived through, it was probably not the best way to do it. So we’ll see. We’ll see.

So Craig, before I let you go, we got a couple of other topics to get to, that we’ve been talking about a pandemic, in our health, of course, for a while now. Is there also a cybersecurity pandemic that is running rampant around us now?

Craig Peterson: [00:05:30] Yeah, it’s really become a huge problem because of the lockdowns, frankly. People working from home, the systems were never designed for this. Our cable carriers carrying most of our internet data from our homes are saying they’ve seen a four X increase in the amount of use. We’ve got machines at home that have who knows what, if any security or security stuff on them.

It’s become a huge problem that the bad guys are really leveraging right now. They have, as you saw in my newsletter, this last weekend just changed their tactics. They are going, still for some of the ransom stuff, but now they’re not just holding your data hostage by saying, Hey, listen, if you want your data back, pay up because it’s all encrypted.

Now they’re saying, Hey, if you don’t pay up. We’re going to release all of your data onto the internet. They may do it anyway.

During this whole lockdown crisis, we have really taken some major leaps forward in going online. I’d say probably 10 to 15 years in advance of what we would have done previously.

We not only have those bad guys, those criminals, but we’ve also now got Russia, China, and North Korea, and Iran that are all growing their capabilities, and they have been using it to attack us. As I’ve said before, we really have fired the first shots on world war three, and they are digital. They are probing for weaknesses, frankly.

In this day and age, we really do have a cybersecurity pandemic in our businesses. And a lot of it’s caused by the lockdown and people working from home when the systems just were not set up for it.

Matt Gagnon: [00:07:20] Well, Craig Peterson, our tech guru, joins us at this time every week to go over technology in the world of technology.

He has a show on Saturdays. If you want to hear more, make sure you tune in for that on Saturday at one o’clock, where you can hear this and so many more topics gone into in greater depth.

Craig, I appreciate it as always, and we’ll talk to you next week.

Craig Peterson: [00:07:38] Take care.

Matt Gagnon: [00:07:39] You bet.


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