Online Voting: All That Glitters is Not Gold (Unless You're a Vendor)

Dan McCrea Huffington Post Jul 20 2010
Voting over the internet seems like a cool idea whose time has come. But, it depends on who's doing the talking.

A computer scientist friend calls it whack-a-mole, the way online voting pitchmen keep popping up to announce they've fixed security problems and voting over the internet is now secure. You look at their plans and find they're as full of holes as ever.

You knock down one story and another pops up. Whack - it's back. Whack. It's back again. The latest was here on Huffington Post last week, in Sheila Shayon's seemingly-harmless puff piece for the online voting vendor, Scytl, "Digital Democracy: Scytl, MySociety Secure Funding."

Ms. Shayon blithely pitched Scytl's "secure solutions for electoral modernization" and the news that Scytl had closed on a $9.2m investment, "led by Balderton Capital, one of Europe's largest venture capital investors." They estimate the online voting market at $1.5 billion. Rival vendor, Everyone Counts, estimates the market at $16 billion over the next five years.

But of course vendors say it is secure - and going to be very profitable. Scientists, on the other hand, say it's not secure - and the very architecture of the internet makes secure online voting almost impossible today.

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