A new pilot program in West Virginia aims to vote on the technological future. In this way, the state has focused its attention on one of the most popular technological terms of 2018.
West Virginia has contracted the Voatz company of Boston to allow the smartphone vote for the troops abroad in the elections of medium end of 2018, according to CNN. Members of the armed forces will be able to cast their votes using an app, with voting data recorded on a blockchain.
Troops will still be able to launch paper cards if they prefer.
To use the app, voters will need to send a photo of their identity document issued by the government, as well as, um, a selfie video. Voatz facial recognition technology will ensure that the person who votes in the selfie video matches the ID.
But the use of voting questions related to smartphones, apps and blockchain is a concern, as these technologies may not be consistent with the recommended method of securing an election. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technician of the Center for Democracy and Technology, even told CNN that it was a "horrible idea" because of the security vulnerabilities that open up.
The industry standard for electoral security is to use devices that produce a trail of paper. In this way, there is a non-digital and non-vulnerable back-up, if something goes wrong. Facilitating the vote via a smartphone (hackerable) and aggregating data digitally sans paperwork – whether it's blockchain technology much evangelized or not – opens too many avenues for attack, said Lorenzo Hall.
And the attack is not at all close to the realm of the possibilities for the 2018 midterms. US intelligence agencies have concluded that in the 2016 elections, Russian hackers tried to hack voting systems in 21 states and they were successful in accessing voter data in at least one, Illinois (however, there was no evidence that the data was altered or voted were changed).
Federal officials are warning that Russia is now attempting to interfere with the 2018 midterms. And while they do not see hacking electoral machines as their main vulnerability, they keep an eye on it.
But the United States may not do enough to strengthen the digital integrity of electoral infrastructures. Last week, the Senate issued a bill that would provide $ 250 million to states to modernize and secure the voting process, because they said it was not clear how the states had used the $ 380 million already allocated. However, experts say the initial funds are not even remotely sufficient to fully secure the US elections.
It may be too early to rest our faith in American democracy on the blockchain.