Internet Voting

Tag Archive

Australia: NSW government finally released ‘net vote system review, says everything’s just fine Including, wait for it, ‘security through obscurity’. No, really | The Register

Australia’s New South Wales Electoral Commission has given its electronic voting system a clean bill of health, dismissing hacking fears as “theoretical,” and accepting a PWC report saying the system to date was protected by “security through obscurity”. Reviews of election processes are routine, and in 2016, the NSW Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters kicked off the Wilkins report. It was completed in May of this year, but was only recently made public (PDF). NSW’s “iVote” system was used by nearly 300,000 citizens in the 2015 election, a week after Melbourne University crypto-boffins Dr Vanessa Teague and Dr Chris Culnane demonstrated a FREAK-bug-like “theoretical attack”. Read More

South Korea: ​South Korea to develop blockchain voting system | ZDNet

South Korea plans to develop a blockchain voting system, with trials starting next month in the private sector. The Ministry of Science and ICT, and the National Election Commission (NEC) said they will develop a blockchain-based online voting system by December. The NEC ran an online voting system, dubbed K-voting, back in 2013, which has since been used by 5.64 million people but trust in the voting system remains low due to hacking and fraud concerns. The latest system to be developed will apply blockchain in voter authentication and result saving, which will increase transparency and security, the government said. Read More

National: Here’s Why Blockchain Voting Isn’t the Solution Voters Are Looking For | Strategic Tech Investor

Now that we’re past Election Day, a certain sort of “silly season” has begun. I’m talking about folks coming up with big ideas on how to fix our outdated voting system. And one of the big ideas out there is using blockchain for voting. Let’s stop that conversation – now. The other day, the Twitter cryptoverse blew up after Alex Tapscott, co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute, had his op-ed on the matter published in The New York Times. In it, Tapscott presents his case for using a blockchain to carry out online voting. He apparently believes such a process would be much more decentralized and safe from hacking. The only downside, he claims, is a potential delay in the voting process. Let me just tell you straight up: This is a terribly ill-considered idea, for a variety of reasons. Read More

Switzerland: E-voting system to undergo ‘hacker test’ | SWI

Next year, Swiss authorities will put one of the country’s two e-voting systems up for attack by hackers – with a prize on offer for those who break it. The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), a strong backer of online voting, has welcomed the confidence test. The test, organised jointly by federal and regional authorities, will take place over four weeks sometime in spring 2019, the NZZ am Sonntag reports. According to the newspaper, the Federal Chancellery has a budget of some CHF250,000 ($247,500) to implement the contest and pay the hackers; a figure not confirmed by the authorities themselves. Contacted by swissinfo.ch, OSA Director Ariane Rustichelli said that it was “a good sign that the Federal Chancellery, which is leading the project, is reacting to and taking seriously the fears [around e-voting]. Because, for about a year and a half now, more and more critical voices are arising, including in parliament”. The OSA, which represents the interests of the 750,000 Swiss living abroad, is a heavily involved in debates around voting rights and the rolling out of online ballots. “If we manage to show that e-voting is safe, this could boost confidence in the system,” Rustichelli said. Read More

Florida: Bay County allowed some hurricane victims to vote by fax or email. That’s not allowed. | Miami Herald

As counties recount ballots in three statewide races and lawyers battle over the complex vote tallying in court, the top elections official in Bay County said he allowed some displaced voters to cast ballots by email or fax after Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle, even though there is no provision for it in state law. Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen said Monday that 11 ballots were accepted by email and 147 ballots were domestically faxed in, though state statute does not allow emailed ballots and faxing in ballots is only permitted for military and voters overseas. But Andersen defended his decision to accept those ballots by email and fax vigorously, noting the mass devastation that rocked the coastal county one month ago. “You did not go through what we went through,” he said, describing areas that were shut off by law enforcement and people barred from returning to their homes. “If some are unhappy we did so well up here, I don’t know what to tell them. We sure had an opportunity to not do well, I can tell you that much.” Read More

West Virginia: State Not Planning to Expand Use of Blockchain Voting | Government Technology

This week West Virginia became the first state in the nation to use Internet voting with blockchain technology in a federal general election, piloting the program for military and other voters living overseas. Despite what officials are calling a successful trial for the app, from Boston-based startup Voatz, Secretary of State Mac Warner has no plans to extend the program to domestic civilians, according to The Washington Post. West Virginia used the Voatz app in a similar limited capacity for the primary election in May. The app works by recording votes on a blockchain, a cryptographic concept popularized with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Read More

National: After a stressful election, experts warn blockchain is not the answer | NBC

Experts this week warned against entertaining the idea that blockchain could fix the voting system despite growing frustration with the long lines and malfunctioning machines that caused problems during the midterm election. “If you’re trying to convince Walmart it needs blockchains to track avocados or whatever, be our guest,” Arvind Narayanan, an associate professor of computer science at Princeton, tweeted. “But if you’re messing with critical infrastructure, you’ve crossed a line.” Blockchain is technology that uses computers to build a shared, secure and decentralized digital ledger. Blockchain is best known as the basis for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin but in recent years has attracted interest from a variety of industries that see a benefit in using the ideas behind blockchain. Read More

Switzerland: Flaw reported in Switzerland’s biggest e-voting system | SWI

A hacker claims to have discovered an important weakness in canton Geneva’s e-voting system to attacks that could redirect online voters to malicious websites. The canton says it is aware of the issue and introduced countermeasures years ago.  Last week, Volker Birk of the Chaos Computer Club Switzerland said he had discovered that the Geneva online voting system – the biggest in Switzerland – uses an insecure procedure to protect its web address. Birk told Swiss public television, SRF, that it took only a few minutes to discover the system’s weakness to so-called DNS cache poisoning – an attack that exploits vulnerabilities in the domain name to divert internet traffic away from legitimate servers and towards fake ones. He added that the problem had been known for decades. In a public statement on Saturdayexternal link, canton Geneva said it had been informed by SRF about the fake site, which it admitted “did not allow people to vote electronically”.  Read More

India: Online voting not feasible: Former election commissioner S Y Qureshi | Times of India

Former chief election commissioner S Y Qureshi on Sunday ruled out the possibility of online voting in India in near future. Online voting is not feasible here because of reasons related to security and integrity. “People can be put at gunpoint to vote for anyone or can be bribed,” Qureshi said, while speaking at a programme, “Mission 2019 — No Voter Left Behind”. The programme was organised by the Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy. The former CEC asked all voters to check their names on the voters’ list. He said a voter card doesn’t ensure one’s voting right. “Because names can be deleted for wrong reasons or due to computer errors.” He said that while he was the CEC, he had faced an uncomfortable situation becasue Arvind Kejriwal’s name was not on the voters’ list. However, it was found out that his name was listed in a different constituency where he used to stay earlier and finally he was able to cast his vote. Read More

Switzerland: The security of e-voting in Geneva questioned | The Sivertelegram

The security of e-voting in Geneva is again in doubt. In march 2015, a journalist of the RTS had shown how he had been able to vote electronically on two occasions. This time, the alert is given by the swiss broadcasting corporation SRF. The latter has proven that a hacker could very easily access the votes of the citizens. The “Chaos computer club”, an organization of hackers, which brings together about 8000 members in Europe, has indeed shown how a simple manipulation diverts the user to the official website and directed to a similar site. This fake site allows you to see the vote of the user. According to the hacker Volkler Birk, quoted by the RTS, this fault shows that “the canton of Geneva has forgotten to protect against a computer attack that dates back more than twenty years.” Read More

Nigeria: ‘How Virtual Polling Units May Mar 2019 Elections’ | allAfrica.com

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was warned yesterday that the credibility of its elections in 2019 may be threatened by electronic manipulation. It was further told that the manipulation was being planned by some persons within its ranks. The alarm was raised by the convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, at a press briefing in Abuja. Reliable sources in INEC revealed that the commission’s e-collation portal has been tampered with, Adeyanju said, warning that this could lead to the creation of virtual polling units. According to him, while e-collation remains the most potent way to end vote rigging, a faulty system means anyone could enter results from any location at anytime or date because the portal allegedly no longer shows location, time and date of collation. Read More

Canada: End online voting — it’s not worth the risk | Kitchener Post

Online voting has been used in Canada for about 15 years, but you’d never know it judging by the most recent municipal election. That looked like our first swing at cyber voting, as if we were still trying to iron out the wrinkles. But those were no mere wrinkles. Those weren’t glitches, or hiccups. That was an absolute meltdown, an unmitigated disaster for which inexperience is not an excuse. Though the meltdown affected more municipalities than our own, nowhere was the impact greater or more embarrassing than in Waterloo Region, where an entire community was left in limbo for almost 48 hours as it waited for the winner of the top political job to be announced. Yes, it’s easy to second guess in the aftermath of such a massive malfunction and the enormity of the disaster leaves plenty to criticize. But with the credibility of an election at stake, the scrutiny is warranted and analysis is necessary. Read More

Malaysia: Jammer device allegedly used to sabotage PKR e-voting | The Star

A police report has been lodged by a Kuala Selangor PKR candidate after a jammer device was found allegedly used to sabotage the party polls. According to the report sighted by The Star, Kuala Selangor PKR Youth chief candidate R Sabahbathi said the device was found by district council workers at about 2pm on Sunday while they were cleaning up the Kuala Selangor Indoor Stadium where the election was supposed to take place. He said the device was allegedly placed on the floor at the spectators’ seats since 10.30am when polling just started. It had a metal casing with six antennas, and labels that read “4G” and “WiFi”. “All the Internet data cannot be used forcing eligible voters not to be able to cast their votes,” he said in the report, which was lodged at the Kuala Selangor police headquarters. Read More

Canada: Election night glitch points to the ‘wild west’ of online voting, says cybersecurity expert | Ottawa Citizen

Online voters in 51 Ontario municipalities had either a few more hours or an extra day to vote after a 90-minute computer portal slowdown on election night. Affected municipalities in Eastern Ontario included Renfrew, Laurentian Valley, Pembroke, Petawawa, Whitewater, Belleville and Kingston — all clients of Colorado-based Dominion Voting. Dominion is one of four companies that supplied Ontario municipalities with services in this municipal election. On Monday night, Dominion posted a statement saying the glitch was the result of a Toronto co-location provider that placed an unauthorized limit on incoming voting traffic of about one-tenth of the system’s designated bandwidth. The company was unaware of the glitch until it was alerted by the municipalities that are its customers. In those 90 minutes, voters experienced slow response time and system timeouts. This points to problems with the “wild west” of online voting in Canada, said a cybersecurity expert. Read More

Canada: Online voting causes headaches in 51 Ontario cities and towns | The Toronto Star

Glitches with a private online voting company impacted local elections in 51 cities and towns across the province on election day, causing at least six to extend voting hours until Tuesday in an example one expert says highlights the wild west of internet voting. Dominion Voting blamed the “slow traffic” that voters experienced just after 6 p.m. Monday on a third-party Toronto-based data centre placing an “unauthorized limit on incoming voting traffic,” in a press release sent to affected municipalities. … Aleksander Essexan assistant professor of software engineering at Western University, in London, Ont., said Dominion Voting is essentially “blaming it on their subcontractor,” adding it’s not clear why the entire website appeared to shut down temporarily. But the incident highlights bigger concerns with online voting, the use of which has been steadily growing in Ontario.  “Wild west is exactly the term I’ve been using,” he said. “It absolutely is dangerous for democracy.” Read More

National: Blockchain Might Make Voting Worse — Not Better: Crypto Researchers | CCN

Three researchers with the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3) are questioning whether, as some proponents claim, blockchain technology will be able to change the internet voting sector for the better. In an article published by Business Insider, the scholars argue that while blockchain technology might serve to revolutionize other industries, internet voting might be a sector that doesn’t benefit from the technology at all, and could potentially even be harmed by it. The researchers start off by acknowledging that they understand why blockchain technology is being considered as an option to optimize internet voting. There is little doubt in the fact that the cryptocurrency world has attracted billions of dollars for legitimate reasons and that it has clear potential to revolutionize everything from the global payments sector, to logistics, to retail, to land ownership rights, among other sectors. Read More

National: 5 Risks We Face with E-Voting Technology | Techspective

Technology brings with it a number of conveniences, but it also opens up opportunities for scammers and hackers to take advantage of people through tech fraud. That crime involves using technology in a variety of possible ways to mislead people, steal data, shut down systems and more. Increasingly over the past several years, tech fraud has influenced voter fraud, which also manifests in many ways. People may use fake information at the polls, try to vote more than once or otherwise wrongfully attempt to swing votes in a certain direction. Unfortunately, e-voting could facilitate both tech fraud and election fraud if the platforms aren’t sufficiently locked down. Read More

National: The AI Threat to Democracy | ExtremeTech

Strolling the leafy suburbs of Austin, Texas, one could be forgiven for thinking democracy is in a robust state of health. The trees are changing color and the world appears largely in order, the outcome of inevitable forces leading to ever greater levels of comfort, luxury, and efficiency. But as the historians are fond of reminding us, there’s nothing inevitable about democracy. Other, less equitable systems of government have historically been far more representational of human affairs. And the democratic liberal order has never been more fragile. Democracies have always had their opponents, but for the first time in history, the principal threat to it comes from shifting technological sands rather than power-hungry despots. As some of more perceptive among us have begun shouting from the rooftops, the rise of strong artificial intelligence could well send the spool of democracy unraveling across the floor. Read More

West Virginia: The Campaign for Mobile-Phone Voting Is Getting a Midterm Test | The New Yorker

Bradley Tusk has a plan to fix American democracy. A former high-level staffer for Chuck Schumer and Michael Bloomberg, among others, Tusk has recently been using his political wits to help tech companies sidestep red tape and clear regulatory hurdles. As he recounts in his new book, “The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics,” Tusk has—for better or for worse—convinced authorities across the country to let Uber operate in their cities, figured out how to get the San Jose City Council to allow on-demand home delivery for marijuana, and toppled regulations banning the sale of online homeowners and renters’ insurance. When Uber, the first tech client of his fledgling consulting firm, didn’t have enough cash to pay him, Tusk took half his compensation in equity. As a consequence, he said, “I just got more money than I ever expected to have.” …  On its face, voting by phone makes sense. Nearly ninety-five per cent of American adults own mobile phones, and rely on them for all sorts of secure transactions. Using them to cast a ballot would seem to be a natural extension, and one that removes many of the impediments that discourage people from voting, such as inconveniently located polling places, limited hours, and long lines. A survey of 3,649 voting-age Americans in 2016 found that about forty per cent would choose the option of Internet voting if it were offered. (Voting by phone app is a variant of Internet voting, since ballots are transmitted over the Internet.) But implementing a working system is not as simple as it may appear. Read More

Canada: Voting times extended in several Ontario municipalities due to online voting glitches | Global News

Several municipalities in Ontario are extending online and in-person voting times after problems with their online voting systems. The glitch affected several municipalities that use the Dominion Voting System, which struggled to process the traffic on its website, according to Kingston city officials. “The City of Kingston is one of a number of municipalities that have been affected by online voting issues. Internet voting became inaccessible at approximately 5:45 p.m. this evening,” read a public notice from the City of Kingston, which added that in-person voting times would be extended by an hour and 15 minutes to 9:15 p.m. Read More