Eighth Movie-Plot Threat Contest Winner

On April 1, I announced the Eighth Movie-Plot Threat Contest:

I want a movie-plot threat that shows the evils of encryption. (For those who don’t know, a movie-plot threat is a scary-threat story that would make a great movie, but is much too specific to build security policies around. Contest history here.) We’ve long heard about the evils of the Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse—terrorists, drug dealers, kidnappers, and child pornographers. (Or maybe they’re terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, and money launderers; I can never remember.) Try to be more original than that. And nothing too science fictional; today’s technology or presumed technology only.

On May 14, I announced the five semifinalists. The votes are in, and the winner is TonyK:

November 6 2020, the morning of the presidential election. This will be the first election where votes can be cast from smart phones and laptops. A record turnout is expected.

There is much excitement as live results are being displayed all over the place. Twitter, television, apps and websites are all displaying the vote counts. It is a close race between the leading candidates until about 9 am when a third candidate starts to rapidly close the gap. He was an unknown independent that had suspected ties to multiple terrorist organizations. There was outrage when he got on to the ballot, but it had quickly died down when he put forth no campaign effort.

By 11 am the independent was predicted to win, and the software called it for him at 3:22 pm.

At 4 the CEO of the software maker was being interviewed on CNN. There were accusations of everything from bribery to bugs to hackers being responsible for the results. Demands were made for audits and recounts. Some were even asking for the data to be made publicly available. The CEO calmly explained that there could be no audit or recount. The system was encrypted end to end and all the votes were cryptographically anonymized.

The interviewer was stunned and sat there in silence. When he eventually spoke, he said “We just elected a terrorist as the President of the United States.”

For the record, Nick P was a close runner-up.

Congratulations, TonyK. Contact me by e-mail, and I’ll send you your fabulous prizes.

Previous contests.

EDITED TO ADD (6/14): Slashdot thread.

Posted on June 13, 2015 at 12:11 PM13 Comments


ES June 13, 2015 12:28 PM

From a certain point of view the last few elected presidents of the US could be labelled as terrorists.

According to Wikipedia: “Terrorism is commonly defined as violent acts (or the threat of violent acts) intended to create fear (terror), perpetrated for an economic, religious, political, or ideological goal, and which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (e.g., neutral military personnel or civilians).”

As the last few presidents did invaded countless other countries, or just bombed them back into stone-age or made indiscriminatory drone-killings just because there were some phone calls etc. they did commit a lot of violent acts. Those acts should make other so-called “terrorists” cower in fear and the aim of it all was for economical and political reasons.

wrc June 13, 2015 3:11 PM

This sounds like the lead-up to a fantastic fish-out-of-water comedy. Adam Sandler? Eddie Murphy?

Nick p June 13, 2015 5:10 PM

Good job, TonyK, on the winning entry! And I appreciate my fans showing their support. 🙂

albert June 13, 2015 6:09 PM


“…He was an unknown independent that had suspected ties to multiple terrorist organizations. …”
Well, that might depend on which organizations. If they were interested in stopping the US from attacking their countries, that behavior might be stopped.
The idea the President is the all-powerful leader of the ‘free world’ has been a joke for many years. The entire corporate/political System moves in lock-step. The idea that the System would ever allow popular votes for balloting and electing candidates is absurd.
‘Science fiction’ indeed.
From: “…He was an unknown independent that had suspected ties to multiple terrorist organizations…”
To: “…”We just elected a terrorist as the President of the United States.”…”
A funny, if unintentional(?) jab at the MSM…that’s not fiction.

syskill June 13, 2015 9:06 PM

OMG you guys… what if we just elected a terrorist as the winner of the Movie Plot Threat Contest???

Thoth June 14, 2015 9:52 PM

@Nick P
You can add a part 2 where a bunch of community crypto guys are brought in to do XSL/Cache-Timing attacks/Brute-force keyspace searches for 256 bit AES key but overall it’s good.

Eire Old Boy June 15, 2015 5:41 AM

The meeting of the Electoral College in January 2021 would be quite interesting.

J. C. Salomon June 15, 2015 7:27 AM

Eire Old Boy has a good point: in fact, the various State legislatures could intervene to send electors other than the ones pledged to this candidate. Better, arrest them all on suspicion of participating in this conspiracy. This is one root-kit the U.S. Constitution is not currently vulnerable to.

But push the story out a few years, and include a prologue where the Electoral College is eliminated…

tinfoil hat June 15, 2015 12:39 PM

The movie-plot terrorist-presidents’ initials?: JFK.

Might as well work RFK into the movie, too.

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