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FE Editorial : Evasive voting

Messrs Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru (India), Rop Gonggrijp and Alex Halderman have jointly published a paper titled, Security Analysis of India?s Electronic Voting Machines…

Messrs Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru (India), Rop Gonggrijp (the Netherlands) and Alex Halderman (the US) have jointly published a paper titled, Security Analysis of India?s Electronic Voting Machines, which concludes that ?in spite of the machines? simplicity and minimal software trusted computing base, they are vulnerable to serious attacks that can alter election results and violate the secrecy of the ballot?. In the US, two presidential elections have been mired in doubts concerning the reliability of computerised machines to count the vote. In

the Netherlands, doubts concerning the security and accuracy of electronic elections led to EVMs getting banned. In India, Prasad

was actually arrested on the charge of stealing an EVM. Other than theft, it was charged, how did he get his hands on an EVM long enough to demonstrate its fallibility? Now, Prasad?s coauthor Halderman has reportedly been deported on arrival. Without taking sides on the question of EVMs? reliability, it seems odd to us that Indian immigration authorities are acting as defensively as they are.

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We believe that one of the biggest strengths of Indian democracy is its openness to dissent. We believe that Indian voting systems can withstand the most rigorous of scrutinies. We also know that the Prasad, Gonggrijp and Halderman paper is up on the Web anyway. So, we think Halderman?s deportation is really uncalled for. Speaking to the Indian Express before getting deported , he said: ?I am about to be thrown out of this country and there is no reason anyone is giving me.? Are we short of explanations because we are in the wrong here?

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