Hack early, hack often

This morning’s Observer column — on the security vulnerabilities of voting machines.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t these flaws that forced the ministry’s hand, but the further discovery that the ES3B emitted enough electromagnetic radiation for its operations to be monitored by snoopers, thereby violating the constitutional requirement for secret ballots.As a result, municipalities that had planned to use the ES3B have gone into panic mode. There was a stampede to purchase the alternative – and supposedly safe – voting machine, but supplies soon ran out.

Officials in Amsterdam, having decided to go back to pencil and paper, discovered that some ingenious jobsworth had sold all the old ballot-boxes for €25 apiece – and the Dutch media have been gleefully unearthing the uses to which their proud new owners have put them. (One has made an attractive barbecue from his.)