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Re: Debian Project Leader Election 2003 Results

On Sat, Mar 29, 2003 at 06:08:43PM -0600, The Debian Project Secretary wrote:
>         The results were the same from both set of algorithms. The
>  details are presented below. As stated earlier, people can verify
>  details by looking at:
>   a) list of people voting:
>        http://master.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/leader2003_voters.txt

Let me start by thanking you for conducting the vote, stating that I
believe your integrity has been demonstrated multiple times and I do
not doubt the accuracy of the result.

I believe the method for choosing the hash that allows one to identify
one's vote is flawed.  Since all components of the string to be fed to
md5sum are chosen by the secretary or known well in advance, it would
be possible for a malicious secretary to stuff the ballot box.  If it
is possible for the secretary to choose two strings which hash to the
same value, the secretary can replace one of the votes with a vote of
their choosing.  This is admittedly rather hard, but the secretary has
an unlimited amount of time to work in to achieve this result.

I therefore recommend that this be made harder by adding a component
of the voter's choice to the string which is hashed.  The easiest and
obvious component is their vote (ie 43251).  This is a fairly limited
set of choices though (in practise around 500 different possibilities).
So possibly the voting form should be extended so the voter can fill in
a 5-10 character salt of their choosing.


"It's not Hollywood.  War is real, war is primarily not about defeat or
victory, it is about death.  I've seen thousands and thousands of dead bodies.
Do you think I want to have an academic debate on this subject?" -- Robert Fisk

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