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Questions to ask about Internet Voting

Questions to ask about Internet Voting

Presented to Elections Canada, June 2, 2016

NOTE: For clickable links you will have to download the PDF.

Paper Vote Canada

June 02, 2016

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  1. Voting • Has been designed • Design can be examined

    in terms of risk • Design can be examined in terms of entire system 3
  2. Coercion Risk Analysis • Voting takes place in a public

    area (with observers) • Marking the ballot takes place in private, alone • Once the ballot is in the ballot box, it is “detached” from the identity of the voter – no one including the voter can prove how they voted 6
  3. Public Understanding • “all essential steps of an election are

    subject to the possibility of public scrutiny unless other constitutional interests justify an exception” • The Constitutionality of Electronic Voting in Germany 8 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ibm_pc_5150.jpg by Ruben de Rijcke CC BY-SA
  4. Some numbers • 1995 - 50.58% to 49.42% • 2016

    - 50.3% to 49.7% • List of close election results 9
  5. In the digital world • Copyable expertise • Scale •

    Distance – which means you may be facing other nations • Detectability 14 Computers can lie
  6. Volkswagen 16 In a world where more and more objects

    are run by software, we need to have better ways to catch such cheaters. As the Volkswagen case demonstrates, a smart object can lie and cheat. It can tell when it’s being tested, and it can beat the test. New York Times – Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software by Zaynep Tufekci, September 23, 2015 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VW_Golf_TDI_Clean_Diesel_WAS_2010_8983.JPG by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz CC BY-SA
  7. High risk • “We believe that online voting, especially online

    voting in large scale, introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters’ expectations of confidentiality, accountability and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results.” – Washington Post, May 2016 • Neil Jenkins, Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity Capabilities and Strategy at the US Department of Homeland Security 17
  8. Recommendations from computer scientists 18 • To protect the accuracy

    and impartiality of the electoral process, US ACM makes the following recommendations: – All voting systems -- particularly computer-based electronic voting systems -- embody careful engineering, strong safeguards, and rigorous testing in both their design and operation; and, – Voting systems should also enable each voter to inspect a physical (e.g., paper) record to verify that his or her vote has been accurately cast and to serve as an independent check on the result produced and stored by the system. Making those records permanent (i.e., not based solely in computer memory) provides a means by which an accurate recount may be conducted.
  9. Impossible? Or just infeasible? • “Given that sufficiently secure Internet

    voting systems do not yet exist, they would need to be built. Of course, some systems, like a stone bridge to the moon, are impossible to build. Others, like a stone bridge to Hawaii, are ... exorbitantly expensive.” – Aug. 2015 • Utah - iVote Advisory Committee, Final Report 19
  10. Questions • Does the design limit voter coercion? • Can

    the voting process be understood and examined? • Is the entire system secure? 20
  11. Annex Videos • Tom Scott (8 minutes) • Andrew Appel

    (21 minutes) Reports • BC Independent Panel on Internet Voting • Assessment of Electronic Voting Options – Australian Parliament • Independent Report on E-voting in Estonia 22