The Japanese, Swiss and American experience

Free and fair elections are one of the pillars of healthy democracies. From the United States to Sierra Leone, blockchain advocates believe that technology can bring a new level of transparency, fairness and efficiency to the electoral process. Despite the enthusiasm of the blockchain community – and the attempted support from political bodies – attempts to implement the technology have enjoyed mixed success and have faced passionate criticism.

Blockchain of Japan for the construction of blockchain

At the end of August, the Japanese city of Tsukuba experimented with the use of blockchain technology in its voting system. Tsukuba is a city already closely associated with scientific research, and the recent blockchain process is the city's last move to explore new ways of innovating.

Voters were able to participate using their My Number Card – a 12-digit ID number issued to all citizens of Japan, which was introduced in 2015.

A publication published on the official website of the city stated that voters were able to cast votes for the implementation of various social programs. Participants were able to choose which of the 13 initiatives they felt were most worthy of financial support, ranging from the development of equipment to improve cancer diagnosis to a program for sound navigation in cities and new equipment for business activities. open.

As quoted by Cointelegraph, the process was conducted to determine if the democratic and transparent properties of the Blockchain lend themselves well to the minimization of improper play in the voting process.

Although initially skeptical about the potential of the blockchain, the mayor of Tsukuba, Tatsuo Ugarashi, said:

"I had thought that [blockchain] would have entailed more complicated procedures, but I found it to be minimal and easy."

Although Japan's most recent trial with blockchain seems to have gone smoothly, not all government efforts to capitalize on the potential of technology have enjoyed the same reception.

Sierra Leone: the blockchain election that was not

On March 7, 2018, it was reported that Sierra Leone had become the first nation to implement blockchain technology in the electoral process.

Agora Technologies, a Swiss company, published a series of tweets claiming to have overseen the first blockchain elections in Sierra Leone:

The reality turned out to be a little different. In fact, Agora had actually observed the voting process and conducted a completely separate blockchain process along with the elections to illustrate how future elections could be conducted using technology.

The Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission (NEC) came into action and published its statement via twitter, denying that during the electoral campaign there had been any use of blockchain technology:

Agora's CEO, Leo Gammar, was forced to rectify Agora's seemingly misleading claims. The fact that the group was credited with processing its blockchain system along with the elections indicates that, despite the media frenzy, government agencies are opening the door to new ways to make the electoral process more efficient – and blockchain is one of these .

Despite the seemingly rosy relations with the NEC of Sierra Leone, the reception of the company's involvement in the elections was mixed. Morris Marah, founder of the Sensi Tech Hub in Freetown, expressed his concerns to RFI:

"What these guys [Agora] are saying is great, but they did not actually test because they basically took a paper record of the results and they put it on their system.This is what everyone else does, it is not new. "

The crypto-valley of Switzerland processes the voting blockchain

In recent years, the Swiss city of Zug became less famous for its mountain views and picturesque Swiss architecture, but more for its association with low rates and cryptocurrency. The recent influx of crypto groups establishing bases in the central canton has led to its nickname "Crypto Valley".

Eager to establish itself as a blockchain capital, the municipality allows payment in Bitcoin for services and has recently successfully completed a voting process on blockchain

The small-scale vote involved only 72 of the 240 citizens with access to the system online voting, who participated in the non-binding trial vote from 25 June to 1 July. The test questionnaire asked citizens to vote on both minor municipal problems and whether they think a blockchain-based electronic identification system should be used for referenda in the future. The Swiss news agency writes that three people declared that it was not easy to vote digitally, 22 replied that they would use blockchain for tax declarations or surveys, 19 responded that they would pay parking fees with their ID digital and three claimed they would use it to borrow library books. The head of Zug's communication, Dieter Miller, defined the premier a success.

West Virginia tests the blockchain by voting, but the clouds threaten his blue sky thinking

West Virginia is intended to allow citizens to serve in armed services – along with other citizens living abroad – vote via smartphone with an app called Voatz in November 2018. This will be the first instance of voting on a smartphone in a federal election.

West Virginia officials published a PDF describing the process:

"All you need to cast your vote is a compatible Apple or Android mobile device and a validated and validated state or federal ID. [19659029] The app idea emerged for the first time at a summit of hackers hosted by the South Southwest Technology Festival in Texas.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner remained hit by the app's biometric authentication system and blockchain-based security elements Both Warner and the Boston startup who created Voatz claim the system is safe.

The state has successfully completed a pilot in May.

The recent fanfare on blockchain technology in voting procedures is being played against a backdrop of scandal in a relatively recent electoral history. n abnormal count and, in 2016, several people were accused of having expressed votes in more than one state.

A Brookings Institute report stated that the National Legislators Conference presented a number of considerations that need to be addressed for a large scale implementation of electronic voting – such as security, coercion of voters, the authentication and the inconvenience for local officials. Although positive about the potential of blockchain technology to transform the voting process, the report concludes that the blockchain needs to be thoroughly tested to take into account the costs and dimensions of a larger implementation.

Matt Blaze, a researcher of cryptography and security at the University of Pennsylvania, has expressed criticism of the report, stating that the blockchain introduces weaknesses in the system. Blaze also said that protecting the voting system "is easier, easier and safer with other approaches."

Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, also blasted the Voatz app, stating that it is less an app-based blockchain and more of a standard mobile app with a linked blockchain. The main concern is that although the app encrypts voter data, the current system can not guarantee that the subscriber's phone and the service network are free of vulnerabilities. Regarding the protection of sensitive information while traveling on the Internet from the app, Schneider stated:

"I think they have made many statements that do not really justify any greater trust in what they are doing than any other system of voting on the Internet. "

Voatz argues that the criticisms against it are" false propaganda "and that" most of the comments in the thread are wrong or misrepresented. "

However, criticism of ; app are not completely unfounded. An experimentation in Utah led the startup to not be able to support a high concentration of downloads just before the polls opened. Voatz, however, remained optimistic and described the incident as a "valuable learning experience".

 Implementation of the blockchain in the elections

Critics remain indifferent

While most of the criticisms for online and mobile voting have been targeted to specific flaws in the programs, there are many critics of stand out that I do not agree with the notion

Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer, computer scientist and author of numerous books on cryptography and computer security, has published a blog in opposition to the use of blockchain in the elections.

"The only way to reliably protect the elections from both the mischief and the accident is to use something that is not hackable or unreliable on a large scale, the best way to do it is to run the backup of the whole system possible with the card. "

Schneier believes that the past and To automate the voting system it is necessary to send a message on the potential dangers of such transformation. In 2007, the states of California and Ohio performed complete audits of their electronic voting machines. The result was anything but positive. The review found that the vulnerabilities were endemic in almost every component:

"The researchers were able to significantly change grades, delete control logs and upload malware to systems. attacks could be implemented by a single individual without greater access than a normal survey operator, others could be made remotely. "

This is not the only case where electronic voting machines have been compromised . In 2017, Defcon's hacker conference collected 25 pieces of equipment and challenged participants to compromise them. At the end of the weekend, participants had uploaded malicious software on devices, anonymously counted scores of votes and caused the devices to crash. "These were bored hackers," writes Schneier, "with no experience with voting machines, playing between the parties a weekend."

Regarding the best solution, Schneier wrote:

"Security researchers agree that the gold standard is a paper vote verified by voters.The easiest (and least expensive) way to achieve this is the optical scan vote.The voters mark the paper cards by hand, they are placed in a machine and counted automatically.This paper run is saved and acts as a real record in a recount in case of problems. print a paper grade to be included in an urn can also work for disabled voters, as long as the vote can easily be read and verified by the voter. "

The most fierce criticism for the concept comes from the Center for Democracy and Technology, Joseph Lorenzo Hall, who defines the whole thing as a "horrible idea":

"It is the internet vote on the horribly safe devices of and people, on our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to protect without a physical paper record of the vote. "

However, this barrage of criticism does not seem to have discouraged governments from trying to implement the technology in the near future." By now, we can only talk about municipal, not national, experiments, but since they were held in the United States, Japan and in Switzerland, it would not be an exaggeration to acknowledge some interest in DLT from the world's major democracies. [19659052] window.fbAsyncInit = function () {FB.init ({appId: & # 39; 1922752334671725 & # 39 ;, xfbml: true , version: & # 39; v2.9 & # 39;}); FB.AppEvents.logPageView ();}; (function (d, s, id) {var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName (s) [0] ; if (d.getElementById (id)) {return;} js = d.createElement (s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js" ; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore (js, fjs);} (document, & # 39; script & # 39 ;, & # 39; facebook-jssdk & # 39;)); Source link