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Old 4 February 2020, 10:30
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Shadow - The company behind mobile caucus voting

I’m sure all of you have by now seen the news about “Shadow” which produced an app it has sold to the Democratic Party in both Iowa and Nevada (maybe more).

The WSJ ran an interesting piece about it. Apparently, the Democratic Party refused both open audits by CS professionals and a security audit by DHS.

Further, the Democratic Party will not say who owns the company but apparently it’s part of a progressive nonprofit funded umbrella, which is bizarre and reeks of bad news in the first place.

All this to say - it spectacularly failed at the Iowa Caucus and there are now a lot of questions being asked. Since we find the truth faster than just about anyone out there, does anyone know of them? And what are your thoughts on any type of digital voting? What kind of controls need to be in place?

My thoughts are that a party who has been screaming to the heavens for almost four years now about Russian interference, hacking, and electoral fraud, just put an untested application into public use, and refuses to have it audited, much less declare the origin - it’s not a red flag but more a series of red star clusters going off.
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Old 4 February 2020, 10:39
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There is so much money in politics I almost cannot believe it's taken this long to field such an app. But if someone were to be serious about electronic voting it could be done in a way that is fully observable and testable using a blockchain technology in conjunction with Real ID. That said I don't think either party wants something that actually works and increases voting unless it only increases their own party's votes or more to the point, fewer of the oppositions.
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Old 4 February 2020, 11:46
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All roads lead back to the Clinton machine. Iowa is all about momentom for the winner. Bernie released internal data that if true puts Bernie 1st or second. That being said.

Would their be a typical logical reason for them to not take an audit or accept assistance?
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Old 4 February 2020, 11:58
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Originally Posted by Keganswar View Post
...Would their be a typical logical reason for them to not take an audit or accept assistance?
Keeping things simple, I would figure that they wouldn't want the true numbers out there if it goes against their agenda which wouldn't surprise me in the least.
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Old 4 February 2020, 12:03
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Plausible deniability. Watch for it in the coming days. They tossed a wrench in the gears on purpose.
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Old 4 February 2020, 12:18
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Oh boy.

Quote:
Nevada Dem federal account paid Shadow $58k in August, Iowa Dems state account paid Shadow $63,183 in two payments over Nov & Dec, suggesting app wasn't developed until just months ago? Both caucus states. Shadow is a spin-off from PACRONYM, a new Dem dark money/superPAC hybrid.
Source: https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/12...133800961?s=21
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Old 4 February 2020, 12:26
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Auditability in metric, analytic type apps can be kryptonite!
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Old 4 February 2020, 12:47
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Those numbers are laughable for what it would take to make anything beyond very simple app or junk. I think this is going to be a nothing burger unless there is a lot more money found.
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Old 4 February 2020, 12:48
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Yeah, it's just a scapegoat. They also still have all the paper ballots. From what I've read, the app just scanned and correlated.
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Old 4 February 2020, 13:16
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Those numbers are laughable for what it would take to make anything beyond very simple app or junk. I think this is going to be a nothing burger unless there is a lot more money found.
Or the same app was (potentially) sold to all 50 states democratic party reps. Then you have a realistic pricetag.

Say the average sales price is $60k x 50 = $3m

For an app that doesn't work, or is simply there to harvest voter data, which can then be used to retarget them for a different candidate...a lot cheaper than FB ads.
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Old 4 February 2020, 13:54
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Originally Posted by MixedLoad View Post
Or the same app was (potentially) sold to all 50 states democratic party reps. Then you have a realistic pricetag.

Say the average sales price is $60k x 50 = $3m

For an app that doesn't work, or is simply there to harvest voter data, which can then be used to retarget them for a different candidate...a lot cheaper than FB ads.
Unless they charge by populations/vote/etc. Iowa and Nevada are similar but if they could land a CA, NY, or TX? That would be big money.
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Old 4 February 2020, 14:03
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Originally Posted by MixedLoad View Post
Or the same app was (potentially) sold to all 50 states democratic party reps. Then you have a realistic pricetag.

Say the average sales price is $60k x 50 = $3m

For an app that doesn't work, or is simply there to harvest voter data, which can then be used to retarget them for a different candidate...a lot cheaper than FB ads.
lol, our pitch, "we can make an app that doesn't work for half that".
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Old 4 February 2020, 14:23
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The ap did exactly what it was bought for, prevent an undesirable public outcome.

Now the DNC has time to manipulate the paper trail as part of their contingency plans. S/F....Ken M
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Old 4 February 2020, 14:27
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Twitter is reporting Nevada dumped the app.
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Old 4 February 2020, 14:38
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Originally Posted by EchoFiveMike View Post
The ap did exactly what it was bought for, prevent an undesirable public outcome.

Now the DNC has time to manipulate the paper trail as part of their contingency plans. S/F....Ken M
This!!!!!
They knew that there would be a fix, and they could not be obvious about it. So what better way to perform political slight of hand than to do something like this?
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  #16  
Old 4 February 2020, 16:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MixedLoad View Post
I’m sure all of you have by now seen the news about “Shadow” which produced an app it has sold to the Democratic Party in both Iowa and Nevada (maybe more).

The WSJ ran an interesting piece about it. Apparently, the Democratic Party refused both open audits by CS professionals and a security audit by DHS.

Further, the Democratic Party will not say who owns the company but apparently it’s part of a progressive nonprofit funded umbrella, which is bizarre and reeks of bad news in the first place.

All this to say - it spectacularly failed at the Iowa Caucus and there are now a lot of questions being asked. Since we find the truth faster than just about anyone out there, does anyone know of them? And what are your thoughts on any type of digital voting? What kind of controls need to be in place?

My thoughts are that a party who has been screaming to the heavens for almost four years now about Russian interference, hacking, and electoral fraud, just put an untested application into public use, and refuses to have it audited, much less declare the origin - it’s not a red flag but more a series of red star clusters going off.
What was the article title for the WSJ piece? That link isn't working for me for some reason.
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Old 4 February 2020, 16:53
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This stinks of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the last Bernie debacle.
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  #18  
Old 4 February 2020, 16:59
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Originally Posted by DC Photog View Post
What was the article title for the WSJ piece? That link isn't working for me for some reason.
It was "Iowa's Tally-by-APP Experiment fails" which follows:



"Confusion and frustration buffeted Democratic Party officials and activists in Iowa on Tuesday after a new mobile app and a backup phone-in plan for reporting results malfunctioned, delaying the outcome from the first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential caucuses.

After Monday night’s failure, some officials in the 1,700-plus caucus sites complained about difficulties in downloading and using the app. Others said that when they tried to phone results to party leaders, they were put on hold or disconnected.

The faulty kickoff to the Democratic presidential primary threatened to shake voter confidence in the electoral process, election and cybersecurity experts said. It occurred despite warnings from those experts that the app hadn’t been security tested or vetted for statewide use.

The app was built by a small Washington, D.C.-based company called Shadow Inc., the tech arm connected to nonprofit progressive digital strategy firm Acronym, according to people familiar with the matter. State records show that the Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow a little more than $63,000 over two payments in November and December. Shadow describes itself as a company that builds “affordable and easy-to-use tools” for progressives, according to its website.

Shadow apologized on Tuesday for the app’s performance.

“We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night’s Iowa caucuses and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers,” the company wrote in a series of tweets, adding that “we worked as quickly as possible overnight to resolve this issue.”

In a statement Tuesday, Troy Price, the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, said that he didn’t have any evidence of a cyber intrusion into “our systems” and that these had been tested by “independent cybersecurity consultants.” The statement didn’t specify which systems Mr. Price was referring to. The Iowa Democratic Party declined to provide more detail.

Mr. Price said that an investigation into the app found that data was being recorded accurately but “reporting out only partial data” due to a coding issue that had since been fixed. Paper backups of caucus tabulations have allowed the party to verify results, Mr. Price said.

Democratic presidential candidates addressed their supporters while voters waited for the results of the Iowa caucuses. The state Democratic party attributed the delay to “inconsistencies in the reporting.” Photo: Christopher Lee for The Wall Street Journal

“While our plan is to release results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld,” Mr. Price said. During a conference call early Tuesday, campaigns were told some results might be released as early as 5 p.m. EST.

Until Monday night, party officials declined to identify the app’s developer and, according to people familiar with the matter, the app wasn’t subject to sufficient security and reliability testing. The office of Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.,) asked the Democratic National Committee three times about details regarding the app during the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses, but received no reply, an aide to the senator said.

Cybersecurity experts and U.S. election security officials said that they hadn’t seen signs of hacking or other foul play related to the app’s troubled performance. Even so, the app debacle occurring in the first contest of the 2020 primary season threatens to erode voter confidence and raises questions about the integrity of voting systems.

“The big risk is that disruptions and uncertainty like this will be exploited to discourage people from voting,” said Matt Blaze, an election security expert and professor of computer science at Georgetown University.

The hacking of Hillary Clinton’s campaign by what U.S. intelligence agencies say was a group linked to Russia’s military and divisive social media postings by other Russian groups roiled the 2016 election. One result was a heightened concern among election officials and the campaigns about cybersecurity and disinformation.

Volunteers and supporters on the Drake University campus to caucus for their preferred candidate in Des Moines on Monday. Photo: Christopher Lee for The Wall Street Journal

Some Democratic campaigns, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, have used a Shadow-built app to send text messages to supporters and solicit donations, according to federal campaign expense records and people familiar with the matter. The Biden campaign halted its use of that app amid concerns about its reliability.

“Our campaign used Shadow only once and on a very small scale, for sending text messages to voters about our campaign kickoff in Philadelphia,” a Biden aide told The Wall Street Journal. “Our IT team expressed security concerns about it, and it ultimately did not pass our cybersecurity checklist, so we declined to use it again.”

Nevada’s State Democratic Party had planned to use the Shadow app in its caucuses later this month. The state party paid $58,000 to Shadow in August, according to Federal Election Commission records. In a statement Tuesday, the party said it would “not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus.”

In statements Monday and Tuesday, Acronym distanced itself from Shadow, saying it is one of a number of investors in the company and that the two “are distinct organizations, with separate teams of employees.” Acronym said it wasn’t involved in the development of the app or in Shadow’s work with the Iowa Democratic Party. Last year, Acronym’s Chief Executive Tara McGowan said it was launching Shadow as part of an acquisition of a political customer-relationship management tool.

Acronym is led by Ms. McGowan, a Democratic political strategist, and has several related arms, including a political-action committee with a roughly $75 million advertising budget to target voters in swing states.

Problems with the shadow app surfaced Monday in Iowa before voting started, with some precinct leaders saying they had trouble downloading or logging onto the app. The Iowa Democratic Party said the reported issues were mainly from areas with poor cell service or involved minor user errors that were being resolved.
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Some precinct officials in rural areas didn’t know about the app until a few weeks ago, received no training and decided not to use it, said Tracy Freese, chair of the Democratic Party in Grundy County, who also serves as a precinct chair.

“We weren’t going to chance it,” Ms. Freese said, adding she always planned on using the phone hotline, as she has done for previous caucuses.

By the time caucus-goers gathered, frustrations climbed. Some precinct chairs struggled to transmit caucus results, both via the smartphone app and by a backup telephone system.

Ms. Freese said she tried to get her results through on the hotline last night, but she was put on hold and gave up after 12:30 a.m. She called back early this morning and didn’t get someone on the phone until 6 am. Mr. Price, the Iowa Democratic Party chief, answered.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on,” she said.

The state party said last month that it would record votes from the Iowa caucuses using the smartphone app because that would be easier and faster to report results from some 1,700 caucus sites.

The app was intended to help the precinct chairs record the results from each round of voting and take care of the calculations to apportion delegates. Then the precinct chair was supposed to use the app to send the results to the Iowa Democratic Party.

The cybersecurity wing of the Department of Homeland Security recently offered to do some security testing on the app but the Iowa Democratic Party declined the outreach, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Our Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency had offered to test the app,” said Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said Tuesday on “Fox & Friends,” the Fox network’s flagship morning program. “They declined.” Mr. Wolf said that no malicious activity had taken place but said public confidence could be harmed regardless.

Monday’s challenges were the latest example of the perils that can result when new technology is introduced to the voting process. Though digitized election equipment offers to streamline vote tabulation and reporting, it also may bring unforeseen vulnerabilities, such as faulty touch screens or registration databases that can be hacked.

Last summer, the Iowa Democratic Party dropped plans to allow voting by phone—so-called “virtual caucuses”—after the party’s national committee objected to the proposal amid security concerns.

The Democratic National Committee walked back the announcement of a suspected attempt to hack its voter database in 2018 after it learned an apparent email intrusion was a false alarm set off in a cybersecurity test."
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  #19  
Old 4 February 2020, 17:23
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Originally Posted by Keganswar View Post
All roads lead back to the Clinton machine. Iowa is all about momentom for the winner. Bernie released internal data that if true puts Bernie 1st or second. That being said.

Would their be a typical logical reason for them to not take an audit or accept assistance?
Same reason the DNC didn't let DHS or the FBI investigate their server in 2016.
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Old 4 February 2020, 17:35
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Guys - there's nothing to see. Cybersecurity isn't important for this app. There was no breach. Russia owns Trump. Einhorn is Finkle.
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