Monday, March 13, 2006



Lawyers for a man arrested for drunk driving sought to examine the source code for the breathalyzer machine to find out whether the machine was accurate. The manufacturer refused to divulge the code, and the judge tossed out the test results.

Since then, DUI suspects in Florida, New York, Nebraska and elsewhere have mounted similar challenges. Many have won or have had their DUI charges reduced to lesser offenses. The strategy could affect thousands of the roughly 1.5 million DUI arrests made each year in the United States, defense lawyers say. [...] "It seems to us that one should not have privileges and freedom jeopardized by the results of a mystical machine that is immune from discovery," Florida's 5th District Court of Appeal ruled in Muldowny's case, which resulted in his charges being reduced to reckless driving. Judges in the Florida counties of Manatee, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia counties are among those who have ruled in recent months that the defense was entitled to the Intoxilyzer's source code to see if the test results are reliable.
If drunk-driving suspects are legally entitled to know whether the source code for the breathalyzer machine produces accurate results, shouldn't voters be legally entitled to know whether the source code for the voting machines records and counts the votes accurately? And if the voting-machine manufacturers continue to insist we can't know how the machine works, maybe we should just be counting the ballots by hand, eh?
And what's even more stunning is that, in both cases, knowing the source code would have saved us from dangerous drunks.
Good catch, MEC!

Will you marry me? (Oh, that's right, I'm already married.)
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