Governments Hide Information; People Take Risks for Democracy

J. Alex Halderman, Freedom To Tinker: Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested Over Anonymous Source <read view>

The Government of India, the world’s largest democracy, insists that its voting machines are safe and secure. Yet, they refuse to let researchers have access to test the machines. Apparently a concerned insider obtained a voting machine and made it available to researchers who analyzed the machine and pointed out several security flaws. So as governments do to whistle blowers and those who bring uncomfortable facts, they have arrested the Indian member of the research team in an effort to determine the source of the voting machine and to intimidate. In the words of Hari Prasad (from the video):

This kind of intimidation will hit the hearts of volunteers and no volunteer will come forward if this kind of thing happens in future, that’s the reason I’m going to take in on, and I’ll face it, so that the volunteers get inspired by me…whatever research we have done, whatever work we have done is right…

Two weeks ago at the EVT/WOTE conference there was a panel on these voting machines, shortly after the warrant for Hari was issued. It was a heated, open, and fair discussion between researchers and representatives of the Indian Government. The Election Commission is not evil, they believe they are doing the right thing, but the effect is bureaucracy protecting itself. The result of the panel was a letter from researchers and attendees to the Indian Election Commission (I am one of many signers).

Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested Over Anonymous Source

What are they hiding? Contrary to their statements, the voting machines are not tamper proof.


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