The Election Commission of India on Saturday said that it never made any promise of holding a ‘no holds barred’ EVM tampering hackathon. The election body, in a reply to Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, said, “about a promised ‘no-holds-barred hackathon’, it’s clarified that no such ‘promise’ was ever made or announced by the Commission.”
Earlier, Press Trust of India reported that AAP is unlikely to take up the Commission’s challenge to demonstrate that its Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with.
In a letter to the poll commission, AAP said it had promised a hackathon but with “rules and regulations”. “Hackers are invited to test the security of any system, using any tools available. Such ethical hacking is to help understand loopholes so that they can be removed in the future,” AAP said. It wondered why the EC — “an institution that has always protected democracy” — was not ready for an open hackathon to safeguard the country’s election process.
The EC had rejected AAP’s demand that it be allowed to “tamper” with the EVM motherboard at the challenge. “Why is the Election Commission running away from no- holds barred hackathon,” AAP had asked CEC Nasim Zaidi in a letter.
“You have said that tampering or replacing the motherboard of an EVM would mean that it is no longer the same device. (But) how would you know that the motherboards of the existing EC machines have not been replaced or tampered with,” the letter, written by AAP National Secretary Pankaj Gupta, asked, as per PTI.
The party had further said that if the election body was so confident that an EVM was tamper-proof, it should allow the machines to be hacked, without imposing any rules. While the EC argued, saying EVM would lose its originality if changes were made to its motherboard, and it would not be the EC’s EVM.
Earlier this month, AAP “demonstrated” on how EVMs could be manipulated in a special Delhi Legislative Assembly session. The EC had then said the demonstration to prove that the machines could be hacked was carried out on a “look alike” EVM and not on the one used by the commission.