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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.