I’m impressed that The Daily Show got someone who actually knows about cryptography to help with their script tonight. Most shows would string together a bunch of random Star Trek jargon words…
Extract from Ed Helms talking to John Stewart about digital voting systems:
Ed: Fortunately today’s e-voting systems support a robust cryptography architecture, using DES keys in CBC mode with a random initialization vector. Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Ed, the CBC encrypt uses a zero seed number so keys could be recovered by parallel processors running a virtual network protocol in a trivially short timeframe.” But in my opinion, that’s fucking bullshit.
John: I don’t, obviously, speak for everybody, but I’m not sure I understood anything you just said.
Ed: No, John, but I did. And there are at least several other people who also did, people like DemocracyHacker23 and GovSniper17… and while no-one knows who they are or what shadowy government conglomerate snatched them up out of college, I have no doubt they will do a bang up job of safeguarding our democracy.
John: But Ed, shouldn’t the process of the election be more transparent? I mean, if something were to go wrong, what would be the harm, say, of having easy to read paper printout of who people voted for, we could go back and check?
Ed: Well, it’s true, paper could give us a way to verify results, but paper’s very expensive, and we’ve already spent an awful lot of money on these computers.
But my favorite quote was slightly earlier in the show:
Ed: …In fact, most of these voting machines run on the same rock-solid Windows platform that never crashes at your home or office.
[Obviously Comedy Central bleeped “fucking bullshit”.]