Tuesday, November 14, 2006

e-Petition against election machines

In their last elections, the USA managed to show the world that a missionary is not necessarily a role model. Germany is not the showpiece of political leadership, but at least we've got a working democracy - until recently, when they started to think about introducing 'election machines'.

The problem with election machines is, that you can always simply 'switch' an election machine for a different machine that looks exactly the same. This way nobody (not even a highly paid technical expert) can say for sure that the vote is taken into account without messing with the hardware.

Of course such high level attacks can be detected afterwards by inspecting all machines. After all we can just redo the election, that would save us some big money, and would motivate many more people to vote.

And than there's the 'insider attack'. An underpaid software developer working for the election machine company who needs the money to pay an expensive medical operation for her terminally ill son. She has all the cryptographic keys and expert knowledge of the operational tests done during and after the election to modify the program 'just a little' so that Mr. Money becomes chancellor.

And even if all those attacks could be eliminated - only a cryptographic expert would be able to understand and check those machines. The average German is not a mathematical genious. This will certainly boost voter participation.

Some Germans obviously remembered that democracy is all about participation of the people and filed an e-Petition against election machines.

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