Friday, October 29, 2004

experts say: e-voting security sucks

Computer experts are questioning the security of the all-electronic voting machines being used in this year's presidential election, but the problems posed by this new approach to recording the vote run much deeper than vote tampering or lost data.

The secret ballot and the partisan nature of elections place a huge burden on electronic security--a burden the field is probably not ready to shoulder, says Barbara Simmons, a computer-security expert at Stanford University.

"In my view, voting is a national-security issue, and I have to say that I fear that what we are going to see with this upcoming election is a huge amount of chaos and a lot of questioning of results," she said. Simmons was addressing computer-security and privacy issues at an American Institute of Physics forum on the future of information technology this week.

The popular criticism of electronic touch-screen voting has centered on inadequate protection against hacking. Many experts believe it would be relatively easy for someone to electronically break into the machines and tamper with vote counts. But even without malicious intent, electronic voting machines pose serious problems for electronic data security.

Simmons participated in a government study of voting-machine security issues before the current system was mandated. The project was eventually canceled because the conclusions by the panel of computer scientists were so negative. "What the government eventually adopted was even worse," Simmons added.

Information Week - Oct. 28, 2004
Voting Machines Remain Unsecured--Experts

Submitted by George Wiman.
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