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New push for digital voting options has cybersecurity experts alarmed

If you thought “butt dialing” someone was embarrassing, just wait until “butt voting” becomes a reality.

Here in America, we covet our right to vote – as well we should.

A large part of living in a free nation is the opportunity to have your voice heard.  Not only does the United States enjoy the freedom of speech, in which we can openly show our support or disdain for any particular political entity, but we are also guaranteed that every American has a vote that counts.  (Minus, of course, convicted and incarcerated felons – something that Bernie Sanders looks willing to change).

The only problem we face now is he we can ensure that this freedom remains intact.

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With a glut of digital voting options already in place here in the US, experts are growing concerned about the susceptibility of our elections to cyber attack.  These worries have been fueled by the reality that many vote-counting machines are easily manipulated, calling into question the veracity of their results.

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As if these concerns weren’t enough, there are now calls for text-voting; something that cybersecurity experts are overtly wary of.

Voting by phone could be coming soon to an election near you.

As seasoned disruptors of the status quo, tech pioneers have proven persuasive in selling the idea, even as the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine specifically warn against any such experiment.

The fight over mobile voting pits technologists who warn about the risks of entrusting voting to apps and cellphones against others who see internet voting as the only hope for getting most Americans to consistently participate on Election Day.

The issues are obvious.

“There is wide agreement among computer security experts that this is problematic,” said David Dill, a professor emeritus in computer science at Stanford. “It disturbs me that officials are getting enthusiastic about this voting technology without talking to the people who have the expertise to evaluate its security.”

The National Academies report warns that the risks of this and other forms of internet voting are “more significant than the benefits.”

“Secure Internet voting will likely not be feasible in the near future,” the report said.

These concerns have been amplified by Russia’s recent foray into election meddling, particularly here in the United States, which has put an onus on lawmakers to find concrete solutions to this complex problem before 2020 rolls around.

 

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