15-290 / 19-211 Computers and Society

Homework 7 - due March 31, 2005

Reading assignment:
Quinn 6,
Paper v. Electronic Voting Records -- An Assessment,
Summary of the problem with electronic voting (from verifiedvoting.org)

1. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the business school applicants who peaked at their admission status by exploiting a bug in online submissions software at ApplyYourself.com. Several schools announced they would automatically reject these students, referring to them as "hackers." Do you believe that these students should be labeled as hackers? Do you think what they did was ethical? Do you think they should be automatically rejected? Support your argument with citations to relevant sources.

2. Find information about two electronic voting system failures during a recent election. Explain what happened in each case. In what way did the system fail? How was the failure detected? What was the consequence of the failure (were votes permanently lost? election returns delayed? etc.)? How might similar failures be prevented in the future?

3. Explain why some people want to require that electronic voting machines have voter-verified paper trails. Explain why other people feel that requirement is not necessary. What is your opinion? Support your argument with citations to relevant sources.