Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alex Halderman on Internet Voting

Computer Science Professor J. Alex Halderman is an upcoming academic star that we at Securology have been watching for awhile now, since some of the earliest days of all the great work put on at Princeton by Ed Felten and his Freedom to Tinker group (an excellent blog). Halderman, having completed his PhD (Bell Labs UNIX and C programming language creator Brian Kernighan was on his PhD committee!), has moved on to the University of Michigan as a member of the faculty and is continuing his excellent work at the intersection of technology and public policy, which always means security and privacy issues are in the spotlight.
Here is an excellent interview with Halderman (presumably shot at the 2012 RSA Conference) on how he and his students (legally) hacked the mock trial of Internet Voting put on by Washington D.C., and why Internet Voting should not be employed for a very long time.

In summary, there are two main reasons why Internet Voting is a horrible idea:
  1. Getting the software perfectly correct is, for all intents and purposes, impossible.
  2. Authenticating a voter eliminates the ability to anonymize the voter's vote (major privacy flaw).


Colin McD said...

Internet voting is extreemly scary and dangerous.

If you look at you can find out even more nasty surprises. Usually the problems stem from Vendor lockdown, already bad voting processes and 0 polling official involvement in the machines. Good on you to the few polling officials that stand up to the Mega voting corporations infulence.

Sadly the general public's perception is that "Computers" are more secure then People. Hey machines never lie (just programmers are devious).

Colin McD said...

For those Ron Paul fans out there? BBV casts serious doubt over Romney winning this caucus. Actually Excel and 3rd grade maths cast serious doubt!!

securology said...


Going Ron Paul on me now? That's quite a turn around from your previous comments, and more that we can get behind in agreement.