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Open-source Voting

One way to create a safe and secure mobile voting platform - that we can trust - is through a global open source project. Especially thinking back to Florida, these digital technologies must be absolutely trustworthy.

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Most voting on  the go concepts from mobile phones to ATMs have a privacy and fraud issue.

How can we make voting online safe? Voting is not something we do every day, it's one decision that makes a big difference.
These digital technologies must be absolutely trustworthy in order for people to be able to use them.

An open source project dedicated to secure voting software would provide the necessary transparency to develop a guarantee for safe voting.

It's a bottom up voting reform, that ideally at some point is supported and taken over by the big democratic bodies on the planet (India, EU, Canada, US, etc.) so we can get enough funding and the best minds out there to develop this platform.

Open-source means the project can be translated into any language and dialect easily by anyone speaking it and run on any OS, cross-platform.

Daniel Castro mentioned two foundations that are dealing with open source voting software already: There is the Open Voting Consortium and the  The Open Source Digital Voting Foundation - potentially we could collaborate with them at a later stage to build on their know-how on implementing voting software.



My Virtual Team

James Forsyth Florian Villaumé Mei Hsieh IDEO Palo Alto

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DeletedUser

Stefan, you should check out the Open Voting Consortium http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ and the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation http://www.osdv.org/ which have similar goals. Maybe there is something there you can build on?

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Photo of Ashley Jablow

Great tips Daniel! And Stefan thanks for sharing your thoughts. Security for online voting seems like a pretty big and complex topic, yet I wonder if it's possible to start outlining some early ideas for what this open source project might look like? You mentioned governments getting involved - who else might be invited to participate? What if, in addition to online collaboration, there were regional or local hack events where different technologists, programmers and makers got together in person to try to "break into" the security system that the open source project was creating? Let's think creatively about this one and see where it takes us!

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DeletedUser

It's worth noting that open source is just one way to pursue better security in elections.There are currently many ways election officials work to improve security in elections including state and national certification processes and standards, pre- and post-election security audits, tamper-evident security seals, and in-person security. Some voting systems also add on a level of security that gives end-to-end verifiability and homomorphic encryption (such as the Helios voting system) which allows voters to verify that 1) their ballot was counted and 2) that all ballots were counted correctly.

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Photo of Stefan Ritter

True Daniel my language was too strong - I changed it to one way. Thanks!

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DeletedUser

Hi, Stefan, I think the open source idea is great!

Daniel I checked the Helios and it seems going good but and I think it has an important security problem when going into serious election, your trackable code might be beaten out of you, or if you discarded it you can not use it to track and verify the result. I think I got a concept going similar to the Helios, that does not have this security problem. http://www.openideo.com/open/voting/concepting/supercheckup-2013-your-perfectly-private-vote-verification-system.-/

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DeletedUser

Hi Jakob, with the Helios system even if someone forced you to give your trackable code, the code does not reveal how you voted. It only reveals that you voted (this is public information anyway) and that your vote has not been tampered with. Only the voter knows what is in his or her ballot. Yes, if you discard the trackable code then you cannot audit your ballot. But if enough people audit their ballots then statistically there is little risk of undetectable tampering.

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DeletedUser

Daniel, that is all good for the privacy! You seems well informed with the Helios, would the tampering also be spotted if the actual voting device was hacked, before it sent/saved the data? Imagine the voting device showing you one thing but sending/saving something else. Or could someone hack the main system including the check-up system, change the result and always tell that everything is fine on the check-up?

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DeletedUser

Jakob, that is a good question. Helios is designed to prevent undetectable vote tampering. The system is fully auditable so that even if the system itself is hacked, voters can detect this. Since the system is completely open, anyone can write their own software to check the results and independently verify the vote tallies.

I don't think I can explain the security protocol better than the creator, so I'll direct you to Ben Adida's paper on this if you want to understand the details ( http://static.usenix.org/events/sec08/tech/full_papers/adida/adida.pdf )

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