Shedding Light in the Darkness

What Could Go Wrong – Voting by Cell Phone

Smartphone-Vote-900x600At a time when election security is in question, for the first time in U.S. history, the state of West Virginia is going to allow the use of mobile phones in the November elections – because it’s more convenient for members of the U.S. military deployed outside of the country to vote.

Secretary of State Mac Warner, a West Point graduate and retired 23-year veteran of the U.S. Army, issued a press release last week explaining the new policy. In the release, Warner, who was a lieutenant colonel at the time of his retirement, argued that he experienced “firsthand how difficult it is for uniformed service members to participate in elections using traditional absentee paper ballots.”

The voting app was developed by a Boston company named Voatz. According to the company ballots are anonymized and recorded on the public digital ledger blockchain.

“Mobile voting is a horrific idea,” Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told CNN. “It’s internet voting on people’s horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.”

TechCrunch noted: Maybe a year and a half after Russian interference was believed to have a key impact on the election of a U.S. president isn’t the best time to be floating new voting technologies.

Experts who spoke to WIRED doubt that Voatz has figured out how to secure online voting when no one else has. “In over a decade, multiple studies by the top experts in the field have concluded that internet voting cannot be made secure with current technology. Voatz claims to have done something that is not doable with current technology, but WON’T TELL US HOW,” wrote Stanford computer scientist and Verified Voting founder David Dill in an email to WIRED.

I bet hackers around the world can’t wait to get into this new system.

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