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Why You Can't Vote Online


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The lack of verifiable security in online voting systems due to unresolved fundamental problems is the main reason such systems are impractical, according to computer security experts at a recent Princeton University symposium.

Such problems include the ability of malevolent hackers to intercept online communications, log in as someone else, and penetrate servers to rewrite or corrupt code. "Basically, it relies on the user's computer being trustworthy," says Stanford University professor David Dill. "If a virus can intercept a vote at keyboard or screen, there is basically no defense."

The U.S. Department of Defense cancelled plans this year to permit military personnel posted overseas to vote online after the audit of the system revealed a vulnerability to cyberattacks. Although electronic-voting systems already seeing widespread U.S. use could be prey to theoretical hacking threats because they do not generate paper trails, they are not connected to the Internet and thus are vulnerable to a smaller spectrum of attacks.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Ron Rivest says Internet voting is seldom the best option for casting votes, given its complexity and the fact that it invites wrongdoing.

From Technology Review
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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