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
Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences