Hotel minibar keys open Diebold voting machines

September 18th, 2006

keysThe good news is that this is such a great post title — it sums up a lot of what’s wrong with the world today. The bad news is…. well, take your pick, there’s so much to choose from.

Ed Felten writes in his Freedom to TInker blog about the amazing discovery that Diebold choose a standard and widely used office furniture key and lock to secure its electronic voting machines.

“The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.”

While it doesn’t provide much secutity, it does let Diebold check off another security feature on their products.

“It’s a standard part, and like most standard parts it’s easily purchased on the Internet. We bought several keys from an office furniture key shop — they open the voting machine too. We ordered another key on eBay from a jukebox supply shop. The keys can be purchased from many online merchants.”

Hotel minibars don’t need much protection. Most are not even locked. The only reason for the locks that I could ever imagine was to prevent your kids from running up a big bill if you left them in the room for a few hours while you and your spouse had dinner. Ok kids — here’s your chance; just visit your local Staples before your next hotel stay with your parents or election day, which ever comes first.