Archive of free project news items

US military put SERVE project on ice
6th February 2004

It could be a sign that the message of experts is finally getting through, the US government has announced that the SERVE project (which has allowed military staff to vote in the presidential elections from broad) is to be put on ice. No legally binding votes will be made with it in this year’s election, though some testing will occur.

You’ve got to feel for the folks at Accenture who thought they had a live one, well ok only a little bit. This shows that pressure can be effectively applied to put the brakes on the rush to putting voting online.

Washington Post coverage, Mercury News coverage

Previously…

8-11-2003 Electoral Commission says no to e-voting in 2004!

The Electoral Commission today delivered their view on which regions should have pilots for the 2004 European elections. It was a pleasant surprise that the Commission stated that they were unable to recommend any region as being suitable for an e-voting pilot (but all-postal pilots will go ahead, government willing).

The Government could ignore this recommendation, but I think politically it’s unlikely particularly when the Commission stated the complexities of monitoring an e-pilot over a large region were prohibitive and the timescale would be virtually unachievable.

Maybe we can take a small amount of credit for raising this issue up the agenda and repeatedly stating in public the clear difficulty of getting such a large e-voting pilot ready in time. Now there’s a year to properly prepare for the 2005 pilots here in the UK, let’s hope the timescales becoem more realistic.

In other news: We have over 500 people supporting our resolution for voter verifiable e-voting… including 3 MPs, 2 MEPs and a pile of councillors.

Endorse the resolution now!

30-10-2003 Endorse our resolution on voter-verifiable e-voting

The Foundation for Information Policy and the free e-democracy project are asking for your support of a resolution calling for voter-verifiable e-voting. This Europe-wide action has been timed to influence decision makers and educate the general public in the run-up to the 2004 European elections which will see pilots in the UK and Denmark.

The resolution includes a graphical explanation of what voter-verifiable e-voting actually means! The resolution has already been endorsed by Richard Allan MP, Richard Stallman and Alan Cox.

Endorse the resolution now!

9-10-2003 Consultation response published

The free e-democracy project has published its respone to the Government’s consultation on having an e-voting pilot for the 2004 European elections urging the Government NOT to proceed with the pilot arguing that it cannot be securely achieved in the short timescale available.

Read the Consultation Response [PDF]

6-10-2003 The free project releases analysis of 2003 pilot evaluations

Today the free e-democracy project released our report assessing the Electoral Commission’s evaluation of the 2003 e-voting pilots. The report also critically examines the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s response to the Commission’s recommendations.

The analysis reveals a shocking lack technical and project management skills, the failure to provide adequate backup provisions, no verifiable audit trail in the midst of an 80% overspend for the pilots.

Download the report [PDF]

Also see our brief analysis of turnout in the 2003 pilots here.

20-09-2003 Specious arguments for e-voting put forward by vested interests

Yesterday’s E-Government Bulletin featured a column by Andy Smith of Oracle arguing for e-voting with the most specious and intellectually inconsistent arguments yet. Furthermore it wasn’t made clear to readers that Oracle isn’t just an interested observer but a completely vested interest, they were a supplier to the previous e-voting pilots and thus encouraging more pilots would help boost their faltering revenue.

The original article and my response which Andy chose to acknowledge but no more are available here.

[Update: Richard Stallman how now provided comment on the Oracle article]

26-07-2003 Oxford Internet Institute/Oxford Union e-voting debate archive online

Thanks to Ania Jawoszek at the University of Lancaster we have an audio version of the debate hosted at the Oxford Union in June where the motion supporting Internet voting was defeated.

The recording was made with a digital dictaphone off the Windows Media stream so the quality isn’t amazing, part of the introduction is missing but all the speeches, questions and the final vote are completely audible. MP3 resulted in too large a file so currently it’s online as an MPEG4 AAC Quicktime file… listen here.

20-07-2003 Electoral Reform Society AGM passes anti-evoting motions

Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Electoral Reform Society as a member and took part in the debates on several motions that covered computerised counting, postal ballots and electronic voting. Debate was encouraging on all of them though some argued that “this is going to happen anyway” much to my annoyance! We can stop voting technologies happening if we want to.

The two key motions on e-voting passed were:

8a This AGM expresses the following concerns regarding recent e-voting trials:

  1. That the provisions for transparency provided by conventional elections are not matched by e-voting. We are expected to trust assurances that software is recording and counting votes faithfully without any rational basis for this trust. In contrast we can see whether a metal box is empty or full, and we know that it cannot stuff itself.
  2. That the assurances of voter confidentiality rely on similar assurances.
  3. That e-voting and routine postal voting are wide open to pressure to be placed on family members to vote a particular way.
  4. That voter credentials are supplied to individuals in such a manner that they may easily be sold and used by another party.
  5. That e-voting trials have used public computer networks (the Internet), which are subject to malicious interference (hacking). Also that service on such public networks can be too easily interrupted by accident or design, and that such interruptions if centred on a particular demographic may be used to distor election results.
  6. That the security of the e-voting system depends critically on various voter ID numbers, PIN numbers and so on. There is a particular danger that these may be compromised at source, giving a single individual control of a great many votes.

This AGM believes that any e-voting system incapable of meeting the above concerns is inadequate for any public election, and that further trials even at local elections are pointless without a resolution of these issues.

This AGM welcomes the innovation that voters can be given a choice of polling station to vote at.

Proposed: Joe Otten; Seconded: Brian Wichmann

8b This AGM notes that the British Electoral Commission is pursuing the use of Internet voting.

This AGM notes further that the report of the United States National Commission on Federal Election Reform chaired by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford of August 2001 states that: “Our concerns about early and remote voting plans are even stronger as we contemplate the possibility of Internet voting. In addition to the more general objections, the Commission has heard persuasive testimony that Internet voting brings a fresh set of technical and security dangers all of its own. This is an idea whose time most certainly has not yet come.”

This AGM notes further that the report published in May 2002 on electronic voting commissioned by the Department of Transport and Local Regions, the Local Government Association and the Electoral Commission concludes that electronic voting should not be used on a general basis in UK national elections due to public disquiet regarding the threat to the right to a secret ballot which the use of such systems must inevitably entail. The report makes clear that the use of such systems may violate British treaty obligations under international law regarding democratic rights.

This AGM therefore resolves that the use of Internet voting in elections to local and national government threatens the Right to a Secret Ballot.

Proposed: Dr Keith Nilsen; Seconded: Karen Muxworthy [both were not present so Jason Kitcat proposed and seconded by Gary Malcom]

Both were passed and hopefully other influential organisations will start making noising about the risks of electronic voting.

11-07-2003 e-government and e-democracy events

Next week are two interesting events being organised by the nice people at Voxpolitics and The Work Foundation:

  • Voxpolitics Seminar: Blogs Rule – Can weblogs change politics? 14th July, 5.30-7pm
    This looks like it’s going to be a corker of an event, response has already been astounding so do RSVP and I’ll see you there… more info.
  • iSociety: E-Government 2005 – Can technology reform public services? 16th July, 5.45-7.30pm
    The Work Foundation’s iSociety programme is launching their report on e-government at this event which will have a debate with several big e-government names including OeE’s Alan Mather. It’s an RSVP too, I hope to see you there… more info.

Yesterday I attended the London e-government conference which saw some interesting presentations and a sneak preview of iSociety’s report from James Crabtree (of Voxpolitics fame). I managed to slip a question or three into every session I attended including grilling Stephen Timms MP, the minister for e-commerce, on his claim that the Government Gateway was fully functional… He was forced to admit that it did only work properly with Windows machines (due to non-standard XML signatures) and this would be resolved but at the moment most people used Windows so it wasn’t *that* bad, in his view. Hillingdon Council along with Cisco provided us with an excellent presentation on the business case for e-government, it was heartening to see such thought going into electronic service delivery projects. But the over-riding theme that emerged from the day was that there is a gulf between strategic managers and technical people which still needs to be bridged before we get truly effective and innovative use of technology in government and democracy. Any ideas?!?!?

02-07-2003 Government and ICT Standards: An e-voting Case Study

I’ve posted my latest paper in the Articles section which examines the role standards are playing in the e-voting market, with a specific focus on the OASIS Election Markup Language standard championed by the Office of the e-Envoy. It is an academic paper so there is theory, references and so on. A journalistic version is available in this month’s issue of LinuxUser & Developer, available in stores now etc – it will be online in a month or so.

27th June 2003 This house has no confidence in Internet voting!

We had an excellent debate in the Oxford Union this Monday with 500 viewers watching via the web (even if it was Windows Media only!). The questions from the floor, Richard Allan MP, David Butler and the web broadened and deepened the discussions significantly. But most importantly my arguments managed to convince the floor to reject the motion expressing confidence in Internet voting. This is an important first step in our build-up for a major push against the unquestioning technologisation of the voting process. Press coverage so far: Association of Internet Researchers, KableNet and ZDNet UK. An archive of the debate video should be online soon.

The LinuxUser & Developer Expo and Conference provided an opportunity to hook up with our friends across the FLOSS movement including the Campaign for Digital Rights, Free Software Foundation Europe as well as fellow contributors to LinuxUser magazine. I had a great time discussing the issues raised in my articles with readers and was delighted to see the latest issue with my article on standards in e-voting being given away for free. My session for the conference raised useful discussions on the strengths and weaknesses of FLOSS development but we inevitably also got into debating e-voting once again!

Thursday saw me attending a CIPFA workshop on e-democracy & e-voting where some participants in the debate returned. The presentations were all excellent and Bob Watt from the University of Essex was particularly good in expressing the serious legal problems with remote electronic voting, as well as delightfully pointing out the whitewash the government had turned the Pratchett (de Montfort) Report into. So much so that Bob refused to be associated with it, even though he’d made significant contributions. A bullish Angus Ward from e-voting supplier ES&S also espoused a love for FLOSS and committed to showing me the source of their system, proclaiming they had no problem showing anyone the workings of all of their system. I’m very much looking forward to chasing him on that.

Mischief was made by my challenging the suppliers’ rather simplistic assurances over security and privacy. I also had a pile of copies of LinuxUser to distribute to attendees in the hope that a little FLOSS reading would open their minds to alternative technologies.

Thus all in all a very productive and useful few days on the road. Thank you to all those who supported me in person and via email at the various events and many thanks to the organisers for inviting me. If you have any press clippings or would like to discuss the issues raised then do get in touch.

17-05-2003 Here, there and everywhere! Upcoming appearances…

I’ll be out and about evangelising our message at the following upcoming events:

  • Oxford Internet Institute Debate on Internet voting, Oxford Union 23rd June, 5-7pm
    I will be arguing against “This House has confidence in voting via the Internet” with Jim Adler of VoteHere proposing. A panel including Richard Allan MP and Prof Stephen Coleman will be asking questions and the event will be webcast with online viewers also able to submit questions. More details on OII site.
  • LinuxUser & Developer Expo 2003, Birmingham NEC Wed 25th June, 2.50pm
    “Scratching an Itch – What they don’t tell you about developing Free Software” will be the topic of my presentation using GNU.FREE as the primary example. I’ll be exploring the ecology of Free Software projects, the reality of developing Free Software and the pros/cons of developing communally. The expo runs from 24-26 June, more info.
  • CIPFA e-government Forum, e-democracy & e-voting seminar, Birmingham NEC Thur 26th June, 9.30am-3.45pm
    I’ll be present all day and will participate in the panel discussions at the end of the day, more info.

14-05-2003 All Postal Ballot Pilot Report

The report on the Brighton & Hove All Postal Ballot Pilot has been completed and is available online. It has also been posted to Nick Raynsford MP, the local government minister; Sam Younger, chairman of the Electoral Commission and David Lepper MP, Brighton Pavilion and the accompanying letter is also now online.

See these additions and more in the Articles section.

10-05-2003 New Learn Section Launched

We’re really delighted to be able to launch our new ‘Learn’ section today which is designed to introduce newcomers and interested observers to the issues surrounding electronic voting. The section provides a summary of the main arguments for and against electronic voting within the context of the various methods of voting and the actors in the debate.

We hope this is a building block towards a coherent public debate on the introduction of technology into the voting process and are looking forward to hearing your feedback. Visit the Learn section

1-05-2003 Local Council Elections Spark e-voting Debate

The local council elections today have spurred some welcome discussion of the new voting methods being trialed such as postal ballots and electronic voting, both of which we oppose.

After a robust letter complaining about the pro-evoting bias of this BBC News Online article we managed to garner some coverage from Auntie, despite the title our views do actually get wedged into this hodge-podge of an article “New voting methods ‘increase turnout'”.

Other articles which covered the topics included: A relatively balanced e-voting story in Society Guardian, an even better e-voting article in the International Herald Tribune, a wonderful column on postal ballots by George Monbiot in the Guardian (with some great letters in response [1] [2]) and we saw confusion about the rules in postal ballots as ministers collected votes from citizens. Also X Marks the Spot from Guardian Online and ZDNet’s Why I’ll boycott e-voting.[Morning after coverage from Auntie and thanks Alexander Chancellor for keeping the pressure on]

Here in Brighton & Hove we had our own frisson to the all postal pilot when an ill-phrased Labour letter implied they’d had access to the ballots dropping themselves in a minor controversey: First Tories and Greens pointed out the dangers of postal ballots in the Argus, then letters and articles went flying (the Argus archive doesn’t seem to have them so they’re all here) and finally to top it all off the story got national coverage from BBC News Online.

Please make your views about the pilots known to your MPs, councillors and Nick Raynsford MP, the local government minister. Also you can make your opinions heard in the Polls Apart survey, sponsored by the Electoral Commission, which is here. If you have any reports of problems with electronic or postal voting pilots then please email me.

17-03-2003 Site update and re-defined project aims…

Since the announcement in October ’02 discontinuing development of GNU.FREE I’ve been busy responding to the reaction and considering how to take the project forward.

Today I’m proud to present to you the new look site and our re-defined project aims.

02-03-2003 Is the UK Government playing fair with e-voting?
This month’s issue of LinuxUser (no.27) splashes the government’s fudging of their proposed e-voting standards. A document announcing the requirement for ‘publicly verifiable code’ from e-voting suppliers led the FREE project on a goose chase trying to confirm whether or not this meant what we thought it did. The article describes the lack of communication between government departments and suppliers with neither being fully aware of the security requirements amended after a consultation process. Read about this mess and what the parties say here.

Also in LinuxUser 27 is an article expanding the project’s policy change “Furthur down the road… why voting shouldn’t be electronic” explores why online voting is a bad idea. You can view it here.

Jason Kitcat, the project’s founder and co-ordinator will be speaking at the LinuxUser & Developer Expo 2003 in the Birmingham NEC on 24-26 June. See you there!

26-02-2003 Project update.

Phew! We’ve had quite a response to our policy change. In fact it’s a busy time for evoting generally.

We’ve had a number of articles published in LinuxUser magazine, with more to come. Salon.com has been covering the issue with some gusto as have a few other outlets, it’s great that the debate finally seems to be picking up.

If you’d like to arrange an interview, article or presentation then please contact me jeep@free-project.org, I’m pretty busy so early notice is appreciated.


25-10-2002 FREE project policy change…
From my experience of designing and developing GNU.FREE over the past three years it has become clear that creating an Internet Voting system sufficiently secure, reliable and anonymous is extremely difficult, if not impossible. As Bruce Schneier points out “a secure Internet voting system is theoretically possible, but it would be the first secure networked application ever created in the history of computers.”

I’ve spent much of my limited time and energy trying to persuade people (and the UK government in particular) that a Free Software voting system is the only realistic way a trustworthy voting system could be created. But they are culturally set in their ways and always need to deal with companies, no matter how fragile their security actually is. Governments don’t even have the skills to assess the reliability of the people let alone the technologies these companies sell.

However the more I have coded, researched, discussed and read the more I’ve realised that rather than encourage, in a way, the use of electronic voting techniques (even if I only advocate the use of Free Software) I’m much better off focussing on the dangers all such technologies present to processes such as voting. The US have a bold voice on this issue in Rebecca Mercuri. The UK has no voice on these issues and certainly the world as a whole needs more educated (if I may say so) voices on the use of technology in democratic processes.

Thus I have halted development of GNU.FREE but it remains online and I still support the concept of Free Software in e-government. If organisations want to use GNU.FREE I’m happy to advise on the issues but I’ll be focussing elsewhere because, as Mr.Schneier points out, “building a secure Internet-based voting system is a very hard problem, harder than all the other computer security problems we’ve attempted and failed at. I believe that the risks to democacy are too great to attempt it.” And this guy eats crypto for breakfast.

If you want to discuss these issues or would like me to attend a seminar or talk then please get in touch by emailing jeep@free-project.org. I will be publishing some articles on the issues I raise in the near future.

[Addendum 18/11/2002 : Please note that GNU.FREE was designed with governmental elections in mind. Thus while it might be usable for less stringent procedures you may well find that it is overkill with the complexities of set-up making it less worthwhile than using a web-based solution.]

15-08-2002 e-Government Consultation Submissions made…
In response to the UK Government’s e-Democracy Consultation process (at www.egovernment.gov.uk) which covers electronic voting we have filed two submissions which are now available online here.

23-07-2002 Elections: Managing the Change
If you’re into elections, electronic voting, e-democracy etc this is THE conference for you. It’s a one day event in London this November and last year it proved to be very interesting. I’ll be there again as will be luminaries such as Andrew Pinder, the e-Envoy; Nick Raynsford MP, the local government minister and Sam Younger, chairman of the Electoral Commission.

More info: http://www.lga.gov.uk/Event.asp?lSection=0&id=SXBDC5-A780FB42

19-07-2002 Major UK e-democracy consultation
We will be submitting our view to the government in the near future. Please email your thoughts and views to us if you want them represented and do make your own representations after browsing the new government e-democracy website.

www.edemocracy.gov.uk

14-05-2002 OASIS Election Services Standard v1 reaches Committee Specification status
After a vote by the members of the committee including myself we have adopted version 1 of the standard. However we are already working on version 2 to deal with several issues and feedback, a meeting in Kansas (which I couldn’t attend) has further developed the v2 draft.

www.oasis-open.org/committees/election/

04-02-2002 Turning round Turnout
A new article has just gone online which explores the reasons behind turnout and then lists some solutions. The key message I want to get across is that there aren’t any quick fixes, this is a complex problem with complex solutions – Internet Voting won’t fix it.

Read it here >>>

26-01-2002 GNU.FREE 1.9 has been released (finally!)
It’s been delayed by all my commitments and distractions but more importantly our objectives for this release were difficult. But it’s here now with the usual bug fixes and more importantly GNU.FREE now speaks XML for all its configuration.

What does this mean? Well the upside is that you can configure you election with quite a degree of control (and more on the way now the XML parser has been implemented) and more importantly you can now support multiple types of election. The first two support are First Past the Post and Borda with more on the way soon.

Download it now >>>

01-12-2001 OASIS Election Services Standard progress report
The committee had a productive meeting earlier this week at the offices of the UK e-Envoy. Apart from myself and e-Envoy people there were representatives from election.com, IFES and Napier University’s International Teledemocracy Centre. While we would like more people to get involved we are continuing to make headway in designing the standard. What has given me considerable hope is how governments (particularly the UK) are really pushing for this standard before they commit to new voting technologies in any major way. While I would prefer that Free Software systems are chosen for all voting purposes (as well as most other things!) its still better to have an open standard used to allow interoperability. The alternative of poprietary ghettos which can’t talk with each other is unattractive and a potential waste of tax payers’ money. For more on the committee visit www.oasis-open.org/committees/election/
[UPDATE: We had a workshop in Jan ’02 which was very productive. A draft standard should be available soon!]

05-11-2001 PayPal donations now gratefully accepted
We have continuing costs to keep our operations going such as maintaining hardware, software and paying for attendance at conferences such as CODE in Cambridge and the recent Association of Electoral Administrators/SOLACE conference on Elections in London. We also have the costs of travel to meetings with people in government (Office of the e-Envoy) and conference calls with committees such as OASIS’ EML standards group.

These are funded out of Jason’s personal income, which isn’t very large! We’ve also received a small amount of financial support from the Free Software Foundation to pay for membership of OASIS, for which we’re very grateful. Any donations are very gratefully received and we will fully disclose on this site how they are used. Please use the new PayPal button on the left hand side of the site’s pages or contact Jason.

29-09-2001 We have released GNU.FREE 1.8 which includes:

  • A protocol overhaul – we now use an HMAC-SHA1 system initialised with a client-server seed/key swap. We also use sequence numbers to increase its resistance to replay attacks.
  • There’s been some enhancing of key objects to enable us to tidy up the comms code.
  • We have begun the process of enabling GNU.FREE to deal with all counting and voting systems. In this release we include the XML we will use in future to define what vote/count system a GNU.FREE vote will use. We do this to elicit feedback and thought on any issues the use of XML may raise – such as is it best to define how GNU.FREE handles the systems specified in an XML file through code or text files (i.e. more XML)?
  • Bugs have been fixed, especially a major one in the installer. Concurrency in the servers has also been improved.

Download it now >>>

29-08-2001 A series of screenshots of GNU.FREE in action have been uploaded. Take a look >>>

24-07-2001 Version 1.7 of GNU.FREE, our heavy-duty Internet voting system has been released. This version offers:

  • Communications level encryption of all data transmitted using an RSA/Blowfish system.
  • Some protocol bugs have been fixed, including improving the coverage of the MAC.
  • File imports give users significantly more information when a problem is encountered.
  • The Electoral Roll database now stores more information, making it relevant beyond just GNU.FREE usage.
  • The new PollManager application is included. This allows polling station mangers to use GNU.FREE services in a ballot even if it uses postal and conventional voting systems (or a mix thereof).

Of course some niggly bugs have been fixed too, including the spurious time-out messages. It’s hot so download it now >>>

03-07-2001 A new article “I voted for Big Brother , but I didn’t vote the Prime Minister in.” exploring turnout, federalism and political culture has been put online here >>>.

25-06-2001 This site now has a complete web-based discussion system. Please take part and debate the future of democracy here >>>. Also release candidate 1 for GNU.FREE 1.7 has just gone online, if you feel able then please take part in testing. More info >>>

23-05-2001 We are very proud to release GNU.FREE version 1.6 which offers the following new features:

  • Internationalisation support has been added the FreeClient with 9 languages now available.
  • Logs have tamper resistance due to a message digest system. Using FreeTest the administrator can check to see which line of the logs tampering began at.
  • The central data structures have been improved to remove large amounts of redundant and/or repeated code.
  • GNU.FREE now has out of the box support for PostgeSQL and MySQL, with the installer providing all the setup you need to talk to them.
  • FreeInstall now supports multiple ports so that RTServer and ERServer can be run on the same physical machine – for test purposes.
  • Test Ballots can now be created. These are used to prove that voting XXXX actually registers XXXX in the RTServer. This system is blind until the final step to stop a test vote being registered as a real vote.
  • The GNU.FREE Testing Suite (FreeTest) has been massively updated to support stress testing with the new security architectures developed over the last few versions. It also generates test data for importing into the servers.
  • Menus have been added to the server interfaces making regular use more streamlined.
  • The log console display has been vastly improved with the inclusion of auto-scrolling, word-wrap and the long awaited return of colour!
  • Automated Electoral Roll data import has been implemented. Data is read in the CSV format.

A big thank you to the testers, translators, users and coders who contributed. We’ve got some great ideas for the next version so stick with us… Download it here >>>

18-05-2001 Working with the Foundation for Information Policy Research we have had some interesting and enlightening contact with the Office of the e-Envoy. Two documents were received as a result of a Freedom of Information request sent to the UK government have been put online. Go see them >>>

17-05-2001 On May 15th Jason Kitcat of the FREE project attended, via teleconference, the first meeting of OASIS’ Election & Voter Registration Technical Comittee. This Committee was founded by Election.com, Microsoft and Accenture – and they all had representatives present at the meeting. There are concerns, what with the corporations involved and the fact that you need to pay to join an OASIS committee, that the resulting standard would be less than open, fair or appropriate. Fortunately the Free Software Foundation paid for Jason to take part and while our membership does not constitute endorsement of OASIS or the standard we feel that Jason’s involvement should help to balance the input along with some of the other NGOs involved.

However if you too also want to get involved, either as a member, or in the public parts of OASIS – then please do help to provide more input from the Free Software community’s perspective. We feel that most of the people on the committee are well intentioned and are very receptive to new thinking – so let’s get involved!

20-04-2001 A new article is online: Direct Democracy: A valid future? A discussion on why we don’t believe direct democracy is the way to go.

Also thanks to all those who’ve submitted translations.

17-04-2001 Several updates, changes, improvements:

A belated Happy Easter to everyone.

28-03-2001 Welcome to the new website! We’ve moved to free-project.org thanks to contributions from Swing Digital. Hope you like it.

27-02-2001 After nearly four months of hard work we’re proud to release the latest version of GNU.FREE – 1.5 – A whole range of new features and improvements make it a landmark release for the FREE e-democracy project. The major changes:

  • The name change to GNU.FREE as we become an official GNU package.
  • Database cacheing has been implemented with a connection pooling system.
  • A wide range of performance tweaks have been done on the code base.
  • The JFC Swing interface has been converted to AWT 1.1 (much faster).
  • Upgraded to v1.0.4 of log4j and more logging detail.
  • The voter authorisation process has been made more secure.
  • All database information is encrypted for added privacy.
  • All the documentation has been updated.

So what are you waiting for? The latest version of GNU.FREE is hot and it’s here >>>

21-02-2001 For all those burning questions we have a Frequently Asked Questions page now. Go see the FAQ >>>

15-02-2001 Jason has written a new article on how electronic voting is the first step in building a revolution in democratic government. Updating the Vogon planning process >>>  Also new is the Four Minute Guide to GNU.FREE >>>

9-02-2001 On Thursday 8th February, 2001 Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation officially dubbed FREE a GNU package. Which is nice! As a result FREE becomes GNU.FREE

22-01-2001 We’ve got a new GNU.FREE in the news and on the web page here >>>

16-11-2000 Ron King has submitted a handy patch to use Interbase with FREE. See it on our Sourceforge tools >>>

15-11-2000 A new article by Jason has just been put online: Taming the Tentacles of Transnationals.

14-11-2000 Roll up! Roll up! Get your hot new code… FREE 1.4 has been released and boy, it’s got some great new features: The security protocol has been enhance to improve reliability and protect against reverse engineering of the client; general security has also been tightened with strict boundary tests and an upgraded MAC; we’ve got new verification checks as well as some great bug fixes. So go get it now >>>

31-10-2000 Happy Halloween! The current HSQL database implementation we are using is not Java 1.3 compliant – however due to the greater availability of Java 1.1 we will not be fixing this bug in the forseeable future. This is not a problem for users who have replaced HSQL with JDBC database access to the system of their choice such as MySQL.

05-10-2000 A motley array of buttons and logos are now available for you to put on your website either as a display of support or to indicate where your totally excellent e-Voting system came from. No obligation downloads are here >>>

23-09-2000 The article “Why electronic voting software should be Free Software” has been put online read it now >>>

11-08-2000 Java Network Launcher Protocol (JNLP) support has now been included to allow easy distribution of the FREE client program through a browser. See the JNLP-INSTALL file for more information or see Sun’s page. This takes us to version 1.3 of FREE – download it now >>>

20-07-2000 Sorry about the delay in updates – computer problems. Anyway FREE 1.2.2 is now online with 1 major and 1 minor bug fix. More importantly the INSTALL file has been considerably expanded and improved.

29-05-2000 As part of an increased security focus we now offer PGP signatures for our downloads.

27-05-2000 We’ve updated the documentation, especially Getting Started thanks to feedback from Kevin Mactavish & Songhai Liu at the Western Nevada Community College IS dept.

18-04-2000 We have released FREE 1.2.1 which offers some bug-fixes, log4j 0.8.3, an automated installation system and we now meet GNU release guidelines.

10-04-2000 You can now download FREE 1.2 which provides faster logging, a timeout system for client-side communications and now analyses the results when all totals have been received.

29-03-2000 FREE 1.1 is now available with logging, improved modularisation and some bug fixes.

25-03-2000 The SSL version has been put on hold until further notice due to the need for Java 1.2 with Sun’s SSL implementation and expensive certificates in Entrust’s SSL API. If you know of alternative ways of doing this please mail me.

24-03-2000 FREE mailing lists have now been setup, we have Free-dev and Free-announce. Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe!

20-03-2000 First public release of FREE is now available! Note SSL version is due in the next week.