Motherboard Publishes ‘Shadow’ App That Blew Up the Iowa Caucus

Motherboard has chosen to publish the app used to tabulate early voting results in Iowa’s Democratic Presidential primary. According to editor-in-chief Jason Koebler, “Trust and transparency are core to the U.S. electoral process,” and “that’s why Motherboard is publishing the app that malfunctioned in Iowa. From the report: The app, called IowaReporter, ultimately won’t affect the vote totals of the Iowa caucuses, which are being recounted with paper ballots and other hard documentation. But the app’s failure — and the widespread attention this failure has received — spurred chaos on election night, followed by speculation, conspiracy theories, and political jockeying. To try to combat that misinformation, it’s necessary to offer complete transparency on what the app is, what it can and cannot do, and why it failed.

Motherboard obtained a copy of the app. By decompiling and analyzing it, it’s possible to learn more about how the app was built and what might have gone wrong during the Iowa caucus. We reached out to several security researchers and asked them to analyze it for us, and have published an article about their findings. Motherboard waited to publish the app until Shadow, which controls the app’s back-end servers and accounts, confirmed that it had been taken offline. [Shadow Inc. CEO Gerard Niemira] stressed that no voter data could be accessed from the app or from any of the databases it used. What we are publishing is an inert app that is no longer being used for an election, that the DNC has stated will not be used in future elections, and that is no longer connected to backend servers or services.

You can download the Android .apk file here.