Contact and Coil | Nearly In Control

Aug/11

18

Why you should be against Online Voting

So Canada wants to implement online voting. In case you didn’t already know why, here’s why you should be against it.

Vote Selling

If you can cast your vote online from any computer, then you can do it with someone looking over your shoulder. That means you can sell your vote. That means employers can favour employees who actually voted a certain way. One of the best features of our current paper and pencil method is that you can’t sell your vote.

Realistically you *could* sell your vote right now using mail-in cards, but I’m against mail-in votes too, for this reason. At least in that case, you know most people don’t do it.

Easy to Manipulate

Lets assume for a moment that the servers that Elections Canada sets up don’t have any security flaws (unbelievable). At any rate, you still can’t trust the election results because a lot of peoples’ home computers are compromised by botnets. That means there’s malicious code running on millions of computers, and in most cases those computers are available for “rent” to the highest bidder. Once you’ve rented access on those computers, you can run any program you like.

Now, do you think a secure internet connection (using HTTPS) is really secure? In most cases the connection over the internet is secure (stops eavesdroppers), but if someone has access to your computer at home, they’re past the security. If they can run an arbitrary program on your computer, they can manipulate pretty much anything.

For example, lets say you wanted to make clicks for one candidate actually get counted for another. You can do that. It’s called ClickJacking.

That’s just one example. If you have access to the computer, you can recalibrate the mouse (or touchscreen on newer computers). You can capture, log, and report on the user’s keystrokes.

Analogy to Online Banking

People try to counter this argument with analogies to the security of online banking, but that’s flawed. People’s bank accounts do get hijacked using methods like these all the time. The bank account gets cleaned out, and usually the bank refunds the money to the consumer and the loss comes out of their profits. As long as fraud isn’t too high, they can tolerate this. In online elections, you wouldn’t know if your vote had been highjacked. We would just end up with a fraudulent election.

Bottom line

Don’t support online voting, and make sure to explain to everyone else why they shouldn’t support it either. The fact that “the head of the agency in charge of federal elections” thinks this is a good idea means Marc Mayrand obviously doesn’t understand the serious problems inherent in online voting.

Edit: Further reading.

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