October Surprise: Goverment Computers To Go Offline During Voter Registration Peak
By Wendy Weiser, Brennan Center for Justice
Posted on September 25, 2008, Printed on September 30, 2008
A recent alert by the Social Security Administration announces that the agency plans to shut down its databases for maintenance from October 11 through October 13. While this might not sound like an election issue, it turns out that this could significantly impede registration of first-time voters as well as the re-registration of eligible citizens.
Here's why. A 2002 federal law, the Help America Vote Act, requires all states to "coordinate" their voter registration databases with the Social Security database (and state motor vehicle databases) for the purpose of processing new voter registration forms. For the millions of voters who do not have current driver's licenses and register using the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, state election officials are required to try to match their voter registration information against Social Security records. But if the Social Security database is down—as it will be for four days—they won't be able to do that. Across the country, the processing of these voter registration forms will grind to a halt for four days.
Check out the last paragraph in particular.
May 9, 2008
F.B.I. Says the Military Had Bogus Computer Gear
By JOHN MARKOFF
SAN FRANCISCO — Counterfeit products are a routine threat for the electronics industry. However, the more sinister specter of an electronic Trojan horse, lurking in the circuitry of a computer or a network router and allowing attackers clandestine access or control, was raised again recently by the F.B.I. and the Pentagon.
The new law enforcement and national security concerns were prompted by Operation Cisco Raider, which has led to 15 criminal cases involving counterfeit products bought in part by military agencies, military contractors and electric power companies in the United States. Over the two-year operation, 36 search warrants have been executed, resulting in the discovery of 3,500 counterfeit Cisco network components with an estimated retail value of more than $3.5 million, the F.B.I. said in a statement.