He's also one of the co-founders of xs4all.nl, one of the first ISP in the netherlands.
Great quote right there from the Chief Election Commisioner: "are practically totally tamper proof.", so, effectively he's actually admitting they're broken.
You can't be 'practically' tamper proof, you're tamper proof or you're not, just like you can't be a little bit pregnant or slightly dead.
If they set up a defense fund I'll definitely contribute.
This is a just cause, India is the largest democracy on earth, they're an example for the whole region.
I don’t think that’s correct. I have a hard time imagining any system that is ever really tamper proof. Much is possible with enough resources, even tampering with the paper ballot. Tamperability doesn’t seem like a binary property to me.
When changing one vote costs you a few thousand Euro and the likelihood of the tampering being detected is still substantial (that would be my ballpark estimate for the paper ballot) the system is practically tamper proof and that’s good enough.
Sometimes we may even increase tamperability just to get the result we want. Absentee ballots are much easier to tamper with than paper ballots but we have them to allow as many people to vote as possible. That goal trumps the easier tamperability.
The problem is not that tampering with voting machines is at all and somehow possible – that’s just the same with paper ballots – the problem is that tampering with voting machines has the potential to scale much better than tampering with the paper ballot. The cost per vote is substantially lower as is the probability for detection.
And that is definitely something that can be done I think.
Being tamper proof is a thing that you address in a systemic way, with information, analysis, materials and procedures.
So a paper ballot is not tamper proof but a box that is viewed by many that is opened in the presence of many and counted, and re-counted by many can yield a result that all will likely agree on to a degree that the democratic process can be executed.
You could try to exchange the box, but there would be many witnesses, you could try to put extra ballots in it, but it would be detected and so on. The witnesses make all the difference, they turn a tamper prone piece of paper in to a tamper proof election device.
A computer in stead of that box with paper ballots is open to any number of ways of tampering that would go undetected, both locally and remotely as well as from the outside before the election has even been started.
I think the statement ‘The paper ballot process is practically tamper proof’ is essentially correct and as such don’t think that the statement of the Chief Election Commissioner with regard to voting machines in itself is incriminating. All I want to say is that saying something is ‘practically tamper proof’ is a meaningful statement.
The security (I use the term lightly) of electronic voting relies on not having knowledge about the system.
There is a sense of despair that comes from reading news about people who have no discernible motive for what they do except deliberately trying to be as stupid as possible. I have started to disbelieve in Hanlon's Razor. It's not stupidity. It's malice. In this case, very clearly malice, but I'm starting to wonder if it's malice more often than that.
Oh, and most people shrugging and going on with their lives - that's stupidity.
1. The motive here is fairly straightforward -- they are trying to silence the researcher. (Edit. There is of course also the fact that they want to find the identity of the source; I don't know which of these is the primary motivation.)
2. 10 years ago or probably even 5 years ago this would have absolutely worked. The Indian government just hasn't woken up to the fact that news travels fast these days due to the Internet, and they can't control it. Indeed, the Indian media aren't even covering this. That's probably what they were counting on.
3. It is also clear to me that it is not malice. Their point of view is that if these pesky security researchers didn't go around poking flaws, then no one will find them and exploit them. Regrettably, that is a surprisingly common view. For example, many commenters right here on hacker news criticized my research on those grounds (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1193417)
4. Yes, most people are going to go on with their lives. What else would you expect -- there are dozens of these minor atrocities happening around the world every day, there simply isn't enough time to do something about all of them. A good many people in India and elsewhere are doing something about this, and I believe it is making a difference. Police brutality (let alone random arrests) used to be common in India; things have gotten dramatically better in the last decade due to activism.
You often throw out these terms from philosophy/logic; that doesn't make your arguments more logical. Just an observation.
What alarms me is that this is a country where parliamentary votes can be bagged for money (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash-for-votes_scandal ) and politicians try to buy the people through thinly veiled bribes. What happens if you remove the last pillars of belief in the system? The ballot has been sacred ground in India and it has been a symbol that everything can be fixed. What happens if you take that away?
Indian election commission ideally should open source the hardware design and the software, and let there be debate on how to make the system foolproof.
but going back to paper vote should not be a option, we have enough backward thinking regional parties who are opposed to gender equality, education and technology
This is also going to draw a lot of international scrutiny.
Unfortunately, the way things work in India, there's way too much bureaucracy with these sort of things and a bunch of old people running the show who are very much resistant to change (not to mention the potential $$$). Unless the matter is really played up by the media (which in itself is another animal to be wary of), this would have gone through without a question. With the public outcry and the coverage of this arrest, there might be Public Litigations coming in which can atleast halt the process and get due diligence.
Does India have whistleblower protection written in to law?
(that would not help Hari directly but it could help him in his defense to not reveal his source)
It's unfortunate but the situation is slowly improving as time goes by and connectivity and access of information improves.
The place to lodge all such complaints is http://cvc.nic.in/lodgecomp.htm
I would'nt be surprised if this law was invoked during the legal defense.
India is litigation prone, and courts take decades to deliver justice.
Everyone who has lost a election in the last 20 years is going to claim election was rigged.
the few bad things we have inherited in, Parliament and legislative assemblies can be not allowed to function by a small group of irritant elected representatives.
hope sanity prevails with civil servants and he get released soon, and we have a open debate at various levels
In Brazil it is the law that everyone must vote. It is also the case that the vote must be anonymous because it could be dangerous for voters if it could be found out how they voted. Because of this Brazil has an electronic system that both verifies that everyone has voted and ensures that a vote could never be tied to the person who cast it. As far as I know it's the best voting system in the world. Why don't other countries just buy this one instead of maintaining their own?
Imagine the first time you read the phrase, coming from a un-informed background.
Thats pretty much the way, the everyman is going to back the government on this arrest -> for being a traitor to the government.
I found : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_Verified_Paper_Audit_Trai...
for a country of our size with 120 crore people, it already takes multiple days of voting in phases, due to security and administrative difficulties
if we go back to paper ballots, counting will take many days, error prone, we would have large number of invalid votes
booth capture used to be norm in UP bihar in 1980's early 1990's