On this forthcoming weekend the Australian state election takes place, and in Victoria State they will be using a new e-voting system to improve secrecy, reliability and user-friendliness. But how secure are such systems? And do people trust such systems?
These are key questions for Prof. Peter Y A Ryan, e-voting expert at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) from the University of Luxembourg. The technology that will be applied at this weekends state election is based on Ryan’s original voting concept called “Pret-a-Voter” that he developed in 2004.
“The new voting system includes mainly two advantages compared to classical ballot systems,” says Ryan: ”It guarantees ballot privacy and offers an encrypted receipt at the same time, so the voter can verify that his vote was correctly counted.
Furthermore it reduces the probability of unwanted invalid votes by using a touchscreen that gives extensive support, for example to handicapped people or people with language issues.” Building on Peter Y A Ryan’s fundamental contribution, the system is the result of a collaboration between experts from Luxembourg, the University of Surrey (UK), the University of Melbourne (Australia) and the Victorian Electoral Commission.
In recent years, computer scientists, mathematicians, sociologists and psychologists are developing new voting systems that should offer more comfort, less costs, increased turnout of voters plus increased security and trust. Beside the positive aspects of using digital technology to support elections, like the one used in Australia, every technology brings with it risks of manipulation.
“Of course, IT experts are able to make e-voting systems very secure, but they will never be able to reduce the risks to zero. Every electronic system can be hacked, but with smart encrypting, the risk of a manipulation or the loss of secrecy of votes can be minimized”, says Ryan, who is specialized on such encrypting mechanisms: “Also pen and paper based elections can be manipulated - so the pros and cons need to wisely be deliberated and systems need to be developed further.”
The history of e-voting started in 18th Century with lever machines in the US and moving on through punch cards, optical scan and touch screen machines. Similar technological experiments have been conducted in Europe and beyond. Some countries have experimented and even introduced internet voting, notable Estonia. All of these have been shown to be vulnerable to attack, often large-scale and virtually undetectable.
The crypto/security community have made significant strides in the last decade or so in designing schemes with remarkable security properties. In the past few years we are starting to see implementations of these designs trialled for real elections, notably the upcoming elections in Victoria State.
”Arguably such systems provide much stronger assurances of integrity and secrecy of the votes than conventional, pen and paper hand counting,” adds Ryan: ”The challenge remains however to convince the various stakeholders, politicians, election officials, voters, of their trustworthiness. The arguments are subtle and involve some understanding of the properties of cryptographic primitives, so the challenge remains to convey sufficient understanding and instill confidence.”
Details on the actual system applied at the Australian State Election are explained in a youtube video provided by colleagues from University of Surrey: http://youtu.be/cSrpwc7qQvE .
Launched in 2009 by the University of Luxembourg, SnT is an internationally recognised leading research institute that together with external partners establishes Luxembourg as a European centre of excellence and innovation for secure, reliable, and trustworthy information and communications technologies (ICT). www.uni.lu/snt
http://wwwen.uni.lu/snt - SnT: Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust at the University of Luxembourg
Sophie Kolb | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University
New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality
19.10.2016 | University of Waterloo
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences