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Mobile Voting Systems Potentially Better Than Electronic Ones: Study

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Smartphone owners made fewer errors using a mobile voting system, a study found.

Rice University researchers have designed a mobile voting system optimized for use on smartphones.


Rice University researchers have designed a mobile voting system optimized for use on smartphones and have tested it against traditional voting platforms. The researchers found no reliable differences between the smartphone-based voting system and other voting platforms with regard to efficiency and usability.

However, their study found smartphone owners made fewer errors while using the mobile voting system.

A potential benefit of mobile voting would be the opportunity to cast votes when and where it is convenient for the voter. However, several critical security and authentication issues would need to be addressed to make mobile voting work, says Rice University professor Michael Byrne. For example, he says research may be needed to develop systems that support secure and anonymous submission of ballots. "There may be compromise solutions that involve the mobile user interface that do not have the same security requirements, though they would not be as convenient," Byrne says.

From NDTV (India)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


Gunnar Wolf

A great deal of the security woes of e-voting platforms is ensuring the running code is what the designers intended to run. Even in dedicated electronic booths, it's practically impossible to assure the code has not been modified or trojaned And, time after time, model after model, this is proved (see i.e. Alex Halderman's or Ed Felten's famous hacks to e-voting machines all around the world).

The problem only gets worse if we consider the terminal (the voting station) not to be a thoroughly guarded system: If users can vote from their own computers or smartphones, the security of the whole system is as weak as the sloppiest system administrator Do you trust phone users in general to be competent system administrators? Me neither.

Yesterday, F-Secure released a memo detailing that 97% of the malware in 2013 was targeted at the Android operating system ( ). A phone infected by malware can no longer be trusted to follow its user's commands (everything can be changed "on route" by the malware system). Voting with the phone in a general election will basically just allow hackers to more reliably sell packs of thousands of votes to the highest bidder.

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