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Tech & Science 'We Feel Really Terrible,' CEO Of Company Behind App That Ruined Iowa Caucuses Says

08:15  05 february  2020
08:15  05 february  2020 Source:   gizmodo.com.au

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The chief executive of the technology company whose app threw the Iowa caucuses into disarray Monday night defended his company but apologized for a “I’m really disappointed that some of our technology created an issue that made the caucus difficult,” said Gerard Niemira, the CEO of political

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a close up of a flag: Elizabeth Warren’s shadow on a flag at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, in October 2019. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP)© Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP Elizabeth Warren’s shadow on a flag at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, in October 2019. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP)

CEO Gerard Niemira of Shadow Inc., the developers of the unfortunately named election app that caused Monday’s Democratic presidential caucus in Iowa to turn into a much bigger shitshow than it usually is, told Bloomberg on Tuesday night that he’s really sorry about all that. But he argued that the app was actually pretty solid, you know, so long as one overlooks the software bug that ruined everything.

“I’m really disappointed that some of our technology created an issue that made the caucus difficult.” Niemira told Bloomberg. “We feel really terrible about that.”

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  Lines, some delays signal strong turnout at Iowa caucuses Lines of people snaked out the door and down the block waiting to enter an Iowa caucus site Monday, among the early signs of strong turnout as Democrats begin choosing a nominee to take on President Donald Trump. The start of a caucus in downtown Iowa City had to be delayed by more than an hour as hundreds of people were still waiting to check in or register to vote. Inside the Englert Theatre near the University of Iowa, 500 first-floor seats were mostly full and organizers were opening an additional 200 seats in the balcony.

The company behind the Iowa caucus app that caused the results delay just released their first public statement on the fiasco. Shadow and the Iowa Democratic Party said on Tuesday that the errors in the app did not corrupt the actual results, but impacted the way those results were reported to party

Don't fall behind on Iowa caucus night. We 'll send you up-to-the-minute results and analysis. A highly anticipated poll of Iowa Democrats, set to be released two days before the presidential caucuses , was shelved on Saturday night after complaints about irregularities in the methodology.

“The app was sound and good,” Niemira added. “All the data that was produced by calculations performed by the app was correct. It did the job it was supposed to do, which is help precinct chairs in the field do the maths correctly. The problem was caused by a bug in the code that transmits results data into the state party’s data warehouse.”

That bug was “catastrophic,” he said.

Shadow was run in part by former staffers on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times, and is owned by ACRONYM, a Democratic nonprofit run by 2012 Barack Obama campaign digital producer Tara McGowan. Neimira had previously worked at the San Francisco-based Kiva microlending platform, and Shadow co-founder Krista Davis worked on the Clinton team and spent eight years at Google. The app itself was reportedly hastily built in just two months for around $US60,000 ($89,100).

What we know about the app that threw the Iowa caucuses into chaos

  What we know about the app that threw the Iowa caucuses into chaos The Iowa Caucuses were thrown into chaos on Tuesday night when the results were delayed following "inconsistencies" in voter data reported through a new mobile app. Democratic Party activists downloaded the new app to their personal phones and were planning to use the mobile app to transmit the voter data from the approximately 1,700 caucus sites to the state Party. In a statement, the Iowa Democratic Party said it would take more time to verify the results and conduct "quality checks." This isn't the first time the parties have used an app in Iowa.

The Iowa Democratic Party says it will release results of Monday night’s caucuses on Tuesday, blaming inconsistencies in reporting for the delay. Price said state offiicals are checking app data against paper documentation, and that precinct level results are still being reported to the IDP.

The Iowa caucuses got their first-in-the-nation status in 1972, and traditionally each precinct has simply called in its results. After giving up on the app , multiple Iowa Democratic county chairs said they experienced holds of up to an hour when calling into a phone hotline the party has used for decades.

As of about 9:00 p.m. on Monday, reports of problems with the Shadow app had resulted in everyone from the campaigns themselves to caucus volunteers and CNN commentators starting to get pretty angry. But Niemira told Bloomberg the bug was fixed by 10:00 p.m., and that “caucus results that came from our app were sound and verified.”

Niemira also said that volunteers and officials had been trained on the app’s “‘sandbox’ mode” for weeks and that the main issue earlier in the day was “people having difficulty logging in for the first time.” (University of South Carolina computer science professor Duncan Buell told Politico that parties and developers’ practice of keeping election app materials secret is “dumb.” According to the New York Times, it’s not clear that the app underwent any rigorous testing and the Department of Homeland Security denied prior reports it had reviewed the app.) Most of the precincts chose not to use the Shadow app, Niemira told Bloomberg, and out of everyone given the option “We saw about a quarter reporting successfully through the app.”

The app at the centre of the Iowa caucus vote delay wasn't hacked, according to Iowa Democratic Party

  The app at the centre of the Iowa caucus vote delay wasn't hacked, according to Iowa Democratic Party After results from the Iowa caucus were delayed Monday evening, the Iowa Democratic Party said the wait was caused by inconsistencies in the reported results. The chaos centres around a vote-relaying app made by a company called Shadow that was supposed to help get results in faster. The use of an app raised concerns about security and potential hacking, but the Iowa Democratic Party said on Tuesday that it has "every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion.

‘ We Feel Really Terrible ,’ Says CEO Whose App Roiled Iowa Ca Not only did the party bungle the release of results after Monday’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses , but partial returns released Tuesday afternoon show former Vice President Joe Biden in a disappointing fourth-place.

An Iowa Democratic caucus app came under a lot of scrutiny on Monday, as it was partially blamed for the delayed results from the Iowa caucus . Unnamed sources spoke with HuffPost and said the company that created the app is called Shadow. However, the Iowa Democratic Party has not yet

That caused a flood of volunteers to call in via phones instead, overwhelming the Iowa Democratic Party’s phone lines at the same time that the software bug caused the Shadow app to submit only partial data, triggering systems designed to catch bogus caucus results. According to Bloomberg, Niemira said that “Yes, it was anticipate-able. Yes, we put in measures to test it. Yes, it still failed. And we own that.”

ACRONYM has seemingly distanced itself from Shadow, and Nevada Democratic Party officials have scrapped plans to use the same app in their own upcoming caucus. Neimira declined to tell Bloomberg who their non-ACRONYM investors are or who serves on its board of directors.

University of Iowa computer science professor Douglas Jones told the L.A. Times that mobile systems are a “security nightmare” and that the app “doesn’t sound like it was cost-effective.” He added that “I can buy a lot of temp workers and phone lines for $US60,000 ($89,100).”

The Iowa caucus results still aren’t in, with just 71 per cent of precincts reporting as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The DNC was reportedly 'intimately involved' with the creation of the infamous app that botched the Iowa caucuses .
Officials from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had access to and were involved with the creation of the app that botched the Iowa caucuses, according to a report from Yahoo News. National party officials pushed for "continual access" to the app in its initial contract, the report said. The app, developed by Shadow Inc., led to delays and inconsistencies in reporting of caucus data from the closely-watched caucuses. The contract said that Shadow would provide monthly updates about the app's development to the DNC, according to the report. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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