Doubts on EVM? – ‘ Democracy’s beep or blip? Evgeny Morozov – The Indian Express’

Doubts over EVM? – ‘ Democracy’s beep or blip? Evgeny Morozov – The Indian Express’


While Congress electoral sweep appeared to the entire Indian nation as incredible as well as welcome, doubts seems to be rising in some quarters about electronic voting. This morning Indian Express has very pointedly borrowed and published an article from Newsweek, to give a hint of the need to probe, if there was some hanky panky behind this sweeping electoral victory that has stunned friends and foes of Congress alike.  


Other factors that rake up doubts are US envoy’s personal visits to L.K. Advani (NDA) and Chandra Babu Naidu ( ref:Third Front), two days before the election results were to be announced, and the presence of Navin Chawla, a widely believed Congress sympathiser, at the helm of the affair. 

If such doubts get substantiated by a neutral agency, Indian democracy and 700 million Indian voters have reason to be appearing as being defrauded on a colossal scale.
 


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
————————————————————————————–
 

 

Democracy’s beep or blip?

EVGENY MOROZOV
 


While India basks in the success of another e-election, electronic voting machines haven’t found much favour in other countries WHEN Ireland embarked on an ambitious e-voting scheme in 2006 that would dispense with “stupid old pencils”, as thenprime minister Bertie Ahern put it, in favour of fancy touchscreen voting machines, it seemed that the nation was embracing its technological future. Three years and euro 51 million later, in April, the government scrapped the initiative.High costs were one concern—finishing the project would take another euro 28 million. But what doomed the effort was a lack of trust: the electorate just didn’t like that the machines would record their votes as mere electronic blips, with no tangible record. 

A backlash against e-voting is brewing all over the continent.

After almost two years of deliberations, Germany’s Supreme Court ruled in March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand the exact steps involved in the recording and tallying of votes. Political scientist Joachim Wiesner and his son Ulrich, a physicist, filed the initial lawsuit and have been instrumental in raising public awareness of the insecurity of electronic voting. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, the younger Wiesner said that the Dutch Nedap machines used in Germany are even less secure than mobile phones. The Dutch public-interest group Wij Vertrouwen Stemcomputers Niet (We Do Not Trust Voting Machines) produced a video showing how quickly the Nedap machines could be hacked without voters or election officials being aware (the answer: five minutes). After the clip was broadcast on national television in October 2006, the Netherlands banned all electronic voting machines.

Other such electronic-voting inconsistencies have only added to the controversy. After Hugo Chavez won the 2004 election in Venezuela, it came out that the government owned 28 per cent of Bizta, the company that manufactured the voting machines.

Why are the machines so vulnerable? Each step in the life cycle of a voting machine involves different people gaining access to the machines, often installing new software. It wouldn’t be hard for, say, an election official to plant a “Trojan” programme on one or many voting machines that would ensure one outcome or another, even before voters arrived at the stations.

One way to reduce the risk of fraud is to have machines print a paper record of each vote. While this procedure would ensure that each vote can be verified, using paper ballots defeats the purpose of electronic voting in the first place.

Using two machines produced by different manufacturers would decrease the risk of a security compromise, but wouldn’t eliminate it.

A better way is to expose the software behind electronic voting machines to public scrutiny. The root problem of popular electronic machines is that the computer programmes that run them are usually closely held trade secrets. The electronic-voting industry argues that openness would hurt the competitive position of the current market leaders. A report released by the Election Technology Council, a US trade association, in April says that disclosing information on known vulnerabilities might help would-be attackers more than those who would defend against such attacks. But making such disclosure mandatory for all electronic voting machines would be a good first step for the Obama administration, consistent with his talk about openness in government.

He’d better hurry, though, before a wave of populism kills electronic voting. State and local governments across the US, much like European governments, are getting increasingly impatient with e-voting. Riverside County in California is considering asking voters to choose between e-voting and paper ballots in a referendum. Voters would be justified in dispensing with e-voting altogether. Atthe moment, there’s very little to like about it.

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Doubts on EVM? – ‘ Democracy’s beep or blip? Evgeny Morozov – The Indian Express’”

  1. R.Alamsha Karnan Says:

    “Hey Muslims, Go to Pakistan”….and….. Varun Gandhi won:

    Let us recall the famous hate speech by Mr.Varun Gandhi, a potential future PM from Nehru-Gandhi dynasty

    1. Indian Muslims should be kicked out to Pakistan.
    2. Indian Muslims have scary names like Nazarullah, Kareemullah…
    3. Muslims should submit to the will of Hindus. If they raise their hands on Hindus, i swear on Gita that i will cut those hands.

    This is his election promise. No development, no more poverty and nothing else.

    What’s the result?

    VG won elections with a huge margin of 288521 votes, highest in UP for any candidate including Soniaji.

    Be honest. Had every BJP candidate repeated these lines, do you think BJP would have won a landslide victory with a thumping majority?.

  2. R.Alamsha Karnan Says:

    Muslim leadership – Ultimate answer for prosperous India:

    Many may jump to say “Let Muslims lead themselves first and then bother about leading the nation”. Please cool down and don’t get emotional.

    Let us keep an open mind and look into the situation. Despite making it’s mark in all walks of science and technology, why India could NOT provide better quality of life for 70% of it’s population who do NOT have access to toilets and clean water?. Why India has become silent on the regional superpower dream and Dr.Kalam’s vision 2020?. Why do we look inferior compared to China?.

    The naked truth is staring right on our face. Overpopulation. 1.2+ billion ever growing silent nightmare called overpopulation. It’s a bottomless pit. Can we ever get out of it?. Is the ship sinking?.

    How Muslim leadership can resolve overpopulation crisis?:

    There are 55 OIC Islamic nations whose combined land and mineral resources is 15 times more than India. Out of 1.7 billion Muslim population, around 1.1 billion is living across 10 countries – Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest of SE Asia. Around 600 million, 50% of India’s population, is spread across 40 Islamic countries which is very low population density by world standards. Today, the Muslim world is living under the threat of US and Israel. Countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are living examples of US+Israel invasion. The only way to protect their lands and resources is to allow migration and populate with able manpower.

    Quran gives unequivocal mandate for Muslims living outside Darul Islam to migrate and live in Darul Islam. Muslim leadership can negotiate with 55 OIC nations and openup opportunity for 250 million Muslims to migrate and rebuild their homes in Darul Islam. Forget the likes of Shahrukh Khans and Amir Khans. More than 80% Muslims have got nothing to loose and they will be very happy to migrate for better hopes.

    This will create space for 250 million non Muslims in India. Also it will create millions of jobs for Hindus for another 50 years. Above all, this will bring ultimate peace and prosperity in the subcontinent.

    Blueprint to make India, a true world leader. 850 million Hindus should give this mandate for a new Indian Muslim leadership.

    Will Muslim leadership compromise Hindu identity?.

    A valid fear. Narendra Modi likes to call Muslims “Babur ke aulad – Children of Babur”. Let him get his facts right. More than 60% of Indian Muslims are Shudra converts who renounced Hinduism to escape the caste based discrimination and suppression. The rest are from other high castes. Who is Babur ke aulad?. Look at Taj Mahal. Shahjehan is the true Babur ke aulad. Majority Hindus think that Taj Mahal is a Muslim holy shrine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    In fact, this is an unIslamic structure. Shahjehan constructed a Mosque like structure on the cemetry of his wife and worshipped (ibadad) her for the rest of his life, ignoring the duty and welfare for his citizens. This is “shirq” in Islam. A simple Mosque in a Muslim “mohallah” is much more dearer for us than Taj Mahal, which has got nothing to do with our faith Islam.

    Ample historic evidence proves that Taj Mahal was originally called as Tejo Mahalaya, a palace temple of Lord Shiva.

    http://www.stephen-knapp.com/was_the_taj_mahal_a_vedic_temple.htm

    To win the trust and confidence of 800 million Hindus, 250 million Muslims should demand for the restoration of original Tejo Mahalaya. It’s high time to kick out the ghost of Babur and 1947 partition.

  3. R.Alamsha Karnan Says:

    Muslim Guardians, please GET OUT and GET LOST:

    I read this article titled “Indian Muslims put their faith in Congress” in this link and lost my cool.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/may/27/india-muslims-congress-elections?commentpage=1&commentposted=1 ………(By Rushda Majeed)

    It’s a shame on this author to say that Indian Muslims put their faith in Congress. Let me say it clearly. We put our faith in Allah the Almighty, first and last.

    We do not want you to dangle any more carrots like Sachar committees, Haj subsidies, reservation and appeasement . Keep it with yourself. We are ready to lead the nation and rewrite our own destiny. We will join hands as one nation, one people and create millions of jobs together.

    I hate to call myself a Muslim, when i see two kinds of beggers. Beggers who wear Muslim identity and Muslim political beggers. Beggary is forbidden in Islam. Rather, it’s mandatory for every capable Muslim to give away 2.5% of his wealth as zakat, every year, to the have-nots. Wealth distribution eradicates begging.

    Election is a democratic process of choosing the leadership and every individual decides his vote for the leader who can fulfill certain basic aspirations. Today India, a nation of 1.2 billion people, aspires for peace and better quality of life. Indian Muslims have chosen lesser of the two evils, Congress, towards this aspiration only and nothing else. They have shown the door to all those so called guardians of Muslims by defeating almost all the Muslim candidates fielded by SP, BSP and other parties nationwide.

    Muslim guardians, please GET OUT and GET LOST.

  4. R.Alamsha Karnan Says:

    Brahmins are responsible for the partition and creation of Pakistan:

    Undivided India today – Hard facts?

    Total population = 1.55 billion.
    Muslims = 600 million
    Shudras (low caste Hindus) = 600 million
    Christians, Sikhs and Others = 150 million
    High caste Hindus = 200 million

    Can you see?. Who will be the kingmaker?.

    Divide and rule:

    Brahmins practiced Manu Smriti and Varnashram Dharma. They divided society in to four castes – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya as high castes and Shudra as low castes who are supposed to serve the 3 high castes. This forced Shudras to renounce Hinduism and embrace Islam. This inturn lead to Hindu-Muslim hatred which eventually culminated into the creation of Pakistan.

    Why India could NOT progress?:

    Today, India is NOT able to provide better quality of life for 70% of it’s population, who do NOT have access to toilets and clean water, despite it’s spectacular success in science and technology. Instead, Manuvadis who inherited power from the British in 1947 have started blaming everyone around them for their own failures. Not only Pakistan, which remains a threat since 1947, but all our neighbours are perceived as a threat for India. China is 30 years ahead of India and has become the default regional superpower. We have stopped talking about our vision 2020 and superpower crap.

    So, Brahmins are responsible for the creation of Pakistan. Otherwise, we would have remained as one nation and would have surpassed China and brought prosperity and better quality of life for all.

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