DHS Expert: Internet voting not secure

I had a front row seat last Thursday in Santa Fe, to hear Bruce McConnell from the Department of Homeland Security discuss Internet Voting. From NPR: Online Voting ‘Premature,’ Warns Government Cybersecurity Expert <read>

He ended his talk with a light lesson in Government-Speak reading several snippets warning of risks or inadequate technology which use nuanced words understating reality, hence the description of internet voting technology as ‘Premature’.

Warnings about the dangers of Internet voting have been growing as the 2012 election nears, and an especially noteworthy one came Thursday from a top cybersecurity official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Bruce McConnell told a group of election officials, academics and advocacy groups meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., that he believes “it’s premature to deploy Internet voting in real elections at this time.”

McConnell said voting systems are vulnerable and, “when you connect them to the Internet, that vulnerability increases.” He called security around Internet voting “immature and underresourced.”

McConnell’s comments echo those of a number of computer scientists who say there’s no way to protect votes cast over the Internet from outside manipulation.

Some, particularly Bob Carey, say it is a trade-off between security and convenience.

Some election officials say it’s a trade-off between security and convenience.

Bob Carey, director of FVAP, told a group of bloggers in October that there are risks to online voting, but also “inherent security risks with the current system,” such as people not getting their ballots on time and losing the opportunity to vote.

Carey added that “there’s not going to be any electronic voting system that’s ever going to be 100 percent secure, but also the current paper-based system is not 100 percent reliable either.”…

Some people think online voting is bound to happen, though, once the kinks are worked out. But as McConnell’s comments show, those who worry a lot about cybersecurity believe that time is a long way away.

We do not have to trade risk for convenience. States that follow the MOVE Act and provide express return of ballots and absentee ballot applications in a single envelope have shown that military and overseas voters can be served effectively, and much more economically than risky, costly internet voting schemes.

For more, see: <CTVC Internet Voting Index>

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