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Thursday, February 12, 2004


I am indebted to Alex Folkes for this link to an article on e-democracy. It highlights very effectively the dangers of the UK Labour Government's headlong rush into easier and faster ways of voting without thinking about the security and the integrity of the ballot. These paragraphs were particularly telling:

The expert panel's report condemns electronic voting systems in general for being vulnerable to attacks from inside and having no audit trail that voters can verify. Systems based on the internet and PCs are also vulnerable to "a variety of well known cyber attacks" including denial of service, spoofing and viruses.

Elections would be a hugely attractive target to anyone wanting to make mischief against the US. "A US general election offers one of the most tempting targets for cyber attack in the history of the internet," says the report.

"Such attacks could occur on a large scale, and could be launched by anyone from a disaffected lone individual to a well financed enemy agency." The result could even reverse the outcome of a presidential election and go undetected. "Even if detected and neutralised, such attacks could have a devastating effect on public confidence in elections," asserts the report.

All these vulnerabilities are fundamental, the report says. "It is quite possible that they will not be eliminated without a wholesale redesign and replacement of much of the hardware and software security systems that are part of, or connected to, today's internet.

It really is time that the Government stopped looking for quick fixes to counter low turnout and tried engaging the electorate instead.

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