Tuesday, October 5, 2010

D.C. Suspends Tests of Online Voting System | Slashdot

One of the articles mentioned that some browsers submitted blank forms because they don't support inline PDF forms. Who, exactly, thought that using PDF was a good idea? The whole point of the web is that it provides layout standards. Why even bother using a web browser if you're just going to try to hack around it by using a completely different content format, PDF, shoved in using browser plug-ins. It might has well have been Flash. Use the web or do not. There is no halfway.

My jaw hit the floor when I read this. I'm not sure how you can get so incredibly far afield with what should be a pretty simple system. The group developing the system DC was testing needs some serious help if they're sticking PDFs in a browser and calling it online voting. So incredibly unnecessary I can't even begin to fathom how they wound up with this as a solution.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure a contractor convinced the politicians that PDFs are secure. Of course, this is not really true, but it is a common belief out there. I'd guess this is why they went with PDF.

Matthew Woodward said...

The implication there being that the web is insecure without PDFs I guess? Just doesn't make sense--HTML alone is good enough for banking and every other thing anyone ever has to do. And how many Acrobat Reader hacks do we hear about on a weekly basis?I was thinking of something more along the lines of they wanted the ballots to look *exactly* like the paper ballots, which is pure idiocy in its own right. I have a lot more sinister suspicions as well but I'll keep my conspiracy theories to myself. ;-)