Feeds

E-voting experts call for revised security guidelines

'Black box that only a regulator can understand'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A federally funded group of voting system experts called on the United States' Election Assistance Commission, which oversees the nation's state-run elections, to revamp its recommended process for evaluating the security of electronic voting devices.

In comments published last week, the ten researchers that collectively make up A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable and Transparent Elections (ACCURATE) stated that current voting systems are not designed with security in mind and current testing procedures mistakenly focus on voting functionality, not system security. The center, funded by the National Science Foundation in August, released the comments on the last day of a public comment period held by the US Election Assistance Commission on its Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.

"There used to be no gap between the process of voting and people's understanding of voting," said Deirdre Mulligan, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Law and a member of the ACCURATE team. "Now, the advances of technology have taken a process that was meaningful and transparent and understood by everyone, and turned it into a black box that only a regulator can understand."

The comments are the last in a flood of nearly 1,000 submissions received by the EAC regarding guidelines for the creation and use of voting systems. While researchers and civil rights groups have voiced strong criticism of electronic voting technology - and in particular the systems' security - the national elections held in November 2004 saw only small problems that would not have impacted the outcome of the election.

However, trust remains a significant issue. Voting machine makers and the certification labs that have tested election systems have been secretive about the technology. And, while older machines and the method for counting votes tallied by the older technology were easily understood by the average voter, electronic voting systems have become more impenetrable and have not undergone significant and public testing, said Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University and the director of ACCURATE.

"We are focused on raising the technology level a little bit," Rubin said. "We don't even know, from a science perspective, that you can have a paperless voting machine be secure today."

The researchers at ACCURATE have recommended that the certification and testing of voting systems be public and transparent and that data be collected on election day so that systems may be better evaluated.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.