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The Internet Communications Government Politics

Out With E-Voting, In With M-Voting 161

Posted by Zonk
from the has-to-be-safer-than-diebold dept.
InternetVoting writes "The ever technology forward nation sometimes known as 'E-stonia' after recently performing the world's first national Internet election are already leaving e-voting behind. Estonia is now considering voting from mobile phones using SIM cards as identification, dubbed 'm-voting.' From the article: 'Mobile ID is more convenient in that one does not have to attach a special ID card reader to one's computer. A cell phone performs the functions of an ID card and card reader at one and the same time.'"
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Out With E-Voting, In With M-Voting

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  • How about this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cap'nPedro (987782) on Friday September 28, 2007 @05:24PM (#20788219)
    I have 8 sim cards.

    Does that mean I get 8 votes?
    • by SnoopJeDi (859765)
      I suppose they could tie each SIM back to an individual, and thus eliminate this problem. ...only I don't think they'd have that kind of coordination.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by spykemail (983593)
        Instead of rigging the election the old fashioned way they could just hire a bunch of pickpockets.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by buswolley (591500)
          Greeeeaaaat. Now Republicans can triangulate and send police to arrests blacks on election day even MORE effectively. Let freedom ring, eh KKK??? How about we pass, and keep America's vote clean and fair.

          Seriously, If you make a SIM card an official method of citizen identification, attach it to political affiliation, and then match it with a cell phones ability to be triangulated, then Big BROTHER is here in a big way.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            So only Republicans attempt to deny people their vote? How about the sons of a Democrat Congresswoman and a Democrat Mayor [usatoday.com] slashing the tires of vans rented by Republicans for their get out the vote effort? Oh... and triangulation? That was Dick Morris' technique for Bill Clinton, not a Republican idea. I'm also intrigued about this notion where Republicans suddenly control the police where large numbers of blacks live... those areas (known as cities) are almost always controlled by Democrats, on both the l
            • by buswolley (591500)
              Omission is not equal to declaration. Yes, democrats are likely to do things also. However, after the Florida fiasco, maybe republicans should feel a little shame and shut the hell up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Gabest (852807)
      Yes, and you can vote as many times you wish! (1 euro/sms + tax)
    • by Tackhead (54550)
      > I have 8 sim cards.
      >Does that mean I get 8 votes?

      "I have a spectrum analyzer.
      It means that even if you only had one SIM card, you still get a knock on the door after midnight."
      - FSB.

    • Clearly, to implement this you'd have to register your SIM card in your phone. I presume that this would be a verifiable process. If you had more than 1 SIM cards, the only ones that would be cleared to have votes from that card accepted would be ones which had a unique voter registered with them.

      The fact that SIM cards would have to be registered with the government carries with it some degree of invasion of privacy. However, as long as the government allows people to own SIM cards that weren't regist

      • hEY, CAN i BORROW YOUR vOTE,.. ER UM i MEaN PHONE.. I need to call my mom.
      • Clearly, to implement this you'd have to register your SIM card in your phone. I presume that this would be a verifiable process.

        And in a country (USA) where 1/2 the federal representatives bitch about a person having to produce a picture ID to be able to vote...not gonna happen.
        • by Abreu (173023)

          And in a country (USA) where 1/2 the federal representatives bitch about a person having to produce a picture ID to be able to vote...not gonna happen.

          Really?

          How the heck do they verify that people don't vote twice, then? or vote in a different district or something like that?

          I mean, even here in Mexico your voter card (which has become the de-facto id for everything here), has your picture, signature and thumbprint. And when you go to vote they check you against the federal registry book for that district, which has all the info on your voter card, including your picture so they can make sure it is really you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alfa2omega (1093251)
      No it does not!

      m-ID is a technology that ties the national ID card with the SIM. This mean You can have only one valid m-ID AFAIK.
      Just a little info about it http://id.ee/?id=10995 [id.ee].

      PS! m-ID is allot better than the usual ID card as its always with you and does not need any special hardware :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sheehaje (240093)
      Hmmm... An interesting way to do something is using a phone with a camera to do some sort of biometrics. Take a picture of the face, or eye, or a finger print. Would be some cool software to work on. Have the actually camera be initiated by a server to take the picture. Of course, this is big brother talking, but biometrics in conjunction with a SIM card would probably be more secure against ballot stuffing than going to your local voting poll site.
    • by pilgrim23 (716938)
      obviously you could use mine; I use a rotary land lien telephone. and I am not alone; many still do.
    • No. You'd have to register to vote, with the option of voting by mobile phone. You'd give them the details of one of your SIMs (or if the system is permissive, all 8!), and you'd use that to vote. If the SIM card gets stolen, you'd just unregister it.
    • These systems concentrate on the ability to conduct a ballot.

      But the secrecy of the ballot is equally important. It is not just a side-issue. Even postal voting defies the right to secret ballot. How do you ensure the right to secrecy from your family or peer group, or undue pressure therefrom, if the place of voting is not controlled?

      I may be a Luddite but such fundamentals are best left un-technoligised. Go back to paper ballots.
    • by s_p_oneil (795792)
      I'm sure the richest people, who can afford to buy a million sim cards, will agree to that.
  • Call Me (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by spykemail (983593)
    Call me when you can vote by drinking a certain number of beers, lol.
    • Call me when you can vote by drinking a certain number of beers, lol.

      Ah, bright college days. I remember proposing some very unpopular rules and seeing if I could vote it in at 1 beer, 1 vote.

    • Blevins, who trademarked "pops-right" and invented the "presto-pop" prepackaged ready-to-pop popcorn/oil/aluminum popping pan, for decades ran the "popcorn poll" on presidential races.

      Moviegoers could request their popcorn in a Democrat or Republican styled box. Starting with Truman/Dewey upset election and running for 20 years he successfully predicted the outcome of six consecutive presidential races.
  • Can you elect me NOW?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    SIM cards identify phones uniquely, right? So, what prevents the ruling party from finding out how each person voted?
    • by edis (266347)
      To be precise - they do not identify phones, but their ownership
      (sans photo, beware danger, they are easier transferable, and more transferable/collectable,
      than actual voters).

      But, rest assured, to laugh of "silly Estonians" is way too early - they, of course,
      have some scheme in place how to do it with good result, so it must be only
      about polishing. Like, say, what it costs to have one more SIM for voting id purposes?
      You can even track location of vote making place/device, I believe.

      I am certainly proud to
  • I'm reminded of voting in the MaxHeadroom world where viewers tune to the channel of their candidate at voting time.
     
    But seriously, this seems like a well intended idea with an amazing amount of problems. The most obvious is that the phone company's computers and networking gear have many places to intercept the record of how you voted.
    • by Tackhead (54550)
      > I'm reminded of voting in the MaxHeadroom world where viewers tune to the channel of their candidate at voting time.

      Ah, Episode 2.3, Grossberg's Return [maxheadroom.com]!

      Cheviot (CEO): "Murray... Carter! What the devil is going on here? A false story mounted on flimsy evidence, my top reporter exposed as a shyster, a senior producer accused of criminal incompetence, and a major politician publicly accusing this network of character assassination... good grief!"

      Although I was thinking of Episode 1.6, Blanks [maxheadroom.com]...

      Car

    • by Teancum (67324)
      Forget about trying to figure out if you are voting for the opposition party or not.... what about intercepting those votes and getting them changed on the way to being counted?

      Checksums can help to detect some interceptions and modifications.... but that is only a partial and imperfect solution. Other cryptographic techniques can be used for both preventing people from finding out what your ballot has been cast as, or to modify your vote. Even that has some strong limitations and would prove to be imposs
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Wasn't this country IT infrastructure allegedly shut down by Chinese hackers a few months ago ?
    • by db32 (862117)
      The most obvious is that they wouldn't have to intercept anything because your vote is tied to a personally identifiable SIM card. This would be the same as having to scan your ID to vote.
  • No signature. (Score:2, Informative)

    No vote.
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Friday September 28, 2007 @05:33PM (#20788317) Homepage Journal
    We tried this in the UK, but for some reason the votes were still being counted 3 hours after the results were announced.
  • "The ever technology forward nation sometimes known as 'E-stonia' after recently performing the world's first national Internet election are already leaving e-voting behind.

    Are? The nation are blah blah blah...? That can't be right.
    • a nation is a group of people so are is perfectly acceptable.
      • by Phroggy (441)

        a nation is a group of people so are is perfectly acceptable.
        Not in US English. Presumably the submitter isn't American, so it's valid grammar in their dialect of English, but it isn't in ours - thus the confusion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aasitus (811665)
      Estonia is a collective noun, so in British English using the plural verb form is completely correct. [wikipedia.org]
  • A major problem with both mVoting and voting over the internet is that the 'secret ballot' is sacrificed. It becomes very easy for this create problems like the US had in the 1800s.

    For example, your boss can tell you to vote while he is watching. If you don't vote
    the way that he wants he will fire you.

    For this reason I am against internet voting and mVoting.
    • by Zarhan (415465) on Friday September 28, 2007 @05:41PM (#20788395)
      For example, your boss can tell you to vote while he is watching. If you don't vote the way that he wants he will fire you. ...and in Estonia, this is solved by allowing you to change your vote as many times as you wish until the election day, and on that day you can still drop traditional ballot which overrides the e-vote.

      http://www.vvk.ee/elektr/docs/Yldkirjeldus-eng.pdf [www.vvk.ee] has description of their system. Considering the confidentiality aspects, read especially pages 9 and 13.
      • Ah, excellent. In my "copious free time" I'll be sure to read that over. This may somewhat defuse my concern about the lack of a secret ballot. I can still imagine problems like being coerced to prove how you vote shortly before the deadline. And, of course, voter id problems like your boss demanding that you give him access to use the system so that he directly votes for you and locks you out.
        • Other problems could exist in how voters figure out how to login to vote. Risks like: Phishing, digging through peoples mail, etc...
        • voter id problems like your boss demanding that you give him access to use the system so that he directly votes for you and locks you out.

          Sure. Or maybe your wife making the same demand, "honey, you want to get any dessert tonight you better give me that damn phone. You know you don't know what's going on in politics anyway."
    • Along these lines, I've seen corporations where an executive sends an email to the whole company encouraging ppl to vote a certain way. This obviously bothers the living crap out of me, but I'm curious as to how others feel about it. They aren't watching over anybody's shoulder, but it just seems wrong to me to put any pressure on the workers.
      • by magarity (164372)
        I've seen corporations where an executive sends an email to the whole company encouraging ppl to vote a certain way
         
        I've worked at a major hospital network where the 'advocacy' office would email everyone before elections urging us to all vote for all Democrats because they were more likely to boost Medicare/Medicaid spending. The emails would go on to talk about the organization budget in general and heavily imply there may be layoffs if there wasn't more revenue coming soon.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        In Soviet Russia[1], you watch over boss[2]

        [1] on topic, Estonia used to be part of it.
        [2] In theory, anyway. Worked out well, didn't it?

        Sadly, you've got to second guess the moderetards these days.
    • by El Cubano (631386)

      A major problem with both mVoting and voting over the internet is that the 'secret ballot' is sacrificed. It becomes very easy for this create problems like the US had in the 1800s.

      While that is a very good point, there is something even more basic.

      Estonia is now considering voting from mobile phones using SIM cards as identification, dubbed 'm-voting.'

      Did you catch that? A mobile phone. As it stands, people in the states think that requiring a photo ID (obtainable for free everywhere) as being an

      • Photo IDs aren't obtainable for free everywhere. In Maryland, for example, there's $15 fee to get a state-issued photo ID (http://mva.state.md.us/AboutMVA/FEE/default.htm [state.md.us]).
        • by El Cubano (631386)
          I stand corrected.
        • by Abreu (173023)
          Well, in that case, the easy answer is for the Federal Goverment to issue free id voter cards to all registered adults.

          C'mon, if Mexico can do it [ife.org.mx] you can do it

          (Disclaimer: linked site is in spanish, but you can see the id card design)
      • The issue isn't the ID, it's the documentation required to get the ID.
    • > For example, your boss can tell you to vote while he is watching. If you don't vote
      > the way that he wants he will fire you.

      Your boss can always force you to take a picture of your traditional voting process to prove what you have voted for. Traditional voting is not more secure than internet voting.
  • But for those who cannot afford cell phones or cellular service, it kind of leaves them out of the voting process. I'd have a hard time calling a country like that "Democratic" or even a Republic.
    • by Korveck (1145695)
      They did not say all voters must vote with their mobile phone. It is just another option for some voters. If you actually read the article, only 3.5% of voters used the internet to vote in last election. The other 96.5% still voted in person.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      But for those who cannot afford cell phones or cellular service, it kind of leaves them out of the voting process. I'd have a hard time calling a country like that "Democratic" or even a Republic.

      I'd hate to break it to you, but ubiquitous and cheap cell phones and coverage is available to even places like 3rd world places Somalia. Due to its 5 monopoly companies (or is it 4 now?) and lack of network sharing by the US cell phone companies has actually made cell phones and access expensive only to Americans.
  • Your address is verified when you receive the ballot, you can take your time looking up all the ballot measures in the voter's pamphlet, and it's convenient. It's as secure as an absentee ballot, and if you really wanted security, it's easier to get poll watchers from every campaign to one central location than to every precinct in the state.
  • Yes! Just what we need, voting that is dependent on the level of infrastructure you pay to support, causes brain cancer, lowers your sperm count and your IQ! As if the conspiracy theorists don't have enough to talk about already. So, do people with cheap unreliable cell phones petition to have government provided cell phones in order to ensure the reliability of their voting? Or, how about petitioning that the radio towers in their region aren't reliable so therefore the vote was flawed and biased again
    • by sakonofie (979872)

      So, do people with cheap unreliable cell phones petition to have government provided cell phones in order to ensure the reliability of their voting?

      And the people without cell phones are disenfranchised. It is all going according to plan.
  • It is really quite ironic that among the people who have most taken the message of the late economist Milton Friedman [wikipedia.org] to heart are the people of Estonia (formerly a totalitarian socialist state) and they are now reaping the benefits of forward thinking and sound economic and government policies. There have been hurdles and difficulties to overcome along the way...yes, but compared to some other European countries, were the flawed remnants of socialist ideas persist like three day old fish, Estonia is moving
  • Premium text messages costs apply typically $.99 per vote
    Can vote upto 10 times
    Premiums may be used to defend your candidate against solicitation charges.

    Gonna be tough to read that at the bottom of the cell phone screen but there's always a price to pay...
  • Problems: Stolen cell phones, Multiple SIM cards, and even LESS of a paper trail than we have now! Verizon and other cellular carriers have been at the whim of the Department of Homeland Security for a few years now, having turned over millions of call records for domestic American citizen calls! Why don't we just do away with elections done by the people altogether and have DHS and the pentagon elect our officials for us! They practically already do... remember the yellow button on the e-voting machines th
  • how can one be sure WHO actually votes here?
  • Just voted in Norway. All paper and apparently manual counting. This surprised me since USA have used punch cards for at least a quarter century, and now is mostly electronic.

    And BTW, a lot of cheating and errors with the old way, so maybe we should not demand perfection for the electronic systems.
  • People's Fascist Party leader Lek Bolokov won Estonia's national elections on Monday with an unexpected %451 percent of the total vote. When the leader of the 4 member fringe party was asked if he was surprised to have won the national election Bolokov replied with a cryptic "In Soviet Russia government brick YOU".
  • So if I wanted to vote for Estonia's Res Publica party I would just txt I VT 4 RPub PLZ FTW to 18 00 U2 CAN VOTE?
  • voting with pen and paper is thouroughly tested.

    computers either sacrifice the secret (digitally signed ballots) or make manipulation easier (anonymous ballots).

    when nearly every hacker you meet is against something like this, you should know how things should go. politicians who propose this stuff are corrupt.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      What's the saying? Don't attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. I don't think that many of the people who are in favour of electronic voting are really corrupt, being paid off, or trying to manipulate the vote, but are just ignorant of its downsides, and think that electronic voting will actually create a better system, with more accurate counts, and less corruption.
  • I say we shoot first and ask questions later.

    Wait...I thought this was an RIAA post...
  • DDoSed the entire country of Estonia because they moved a stupid World War II era statue [theregister.com] (ehem, i mean dearly important statue, dear any Russian hackers reading this comment), what Estonia is going to get from this scheme is Lenin being elected their next president, coming in second place will be Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, and coming in third place will be Boris Badenov from Rocky and Bullwinkle

    voting should be on paper. even mechanical voting is too susceptible to tampering. electronic voting? cell phone voting? are you kidding? yes, simple paper ballots can be messed with too, but anything more technological than simple paper ballots merely introduces more attack vectors... orders of magnitude more attack vectors the more unnecessarily technofetishized you get, such as with electronic voting

    democracy is too important and voting is really striaghtforward. there is no need to make it more complicated than scribble a mark on a piece of paper and dropping it in a box, especially when you risk the generla public losing confidence in their own government. all countries, no matter how technophilic and rich, should vote with paper ballots

    stupid, bad idea Estonia

  • Does it ever bother anyone that in Canada and the US Presidents and PM's tend to be lawyers? Have you noticed a lot of the house, senate, etc.. are also lawyers? Notice as well that so many laws come out that benefit no one except lawyers? Maybe we should try biasing society away from electing people who a vested interest in making things complicated. Maybe we should try voting in ore Science related professionals and engineers. Look at other major nations, China's run by a PHD engineer, Russia is run by a
  • "We're going to give all our votes to some guy you've never met, who will count them with nobody else watching, and whose answers we will trust completely. You'll never see the original votes again, but if you want a recount he'll be happy to tell you the same numbers twice."

    "What! That's outrageous! Why the possibilities for corruption are so..."

    "The guy will use a computer."

    "Oh, well, that's okay then."
  • skips the problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by waitasec (1163825)
    The problem with evoting is that computer systems are, as any /.r knows, an easy lay. Anyone here going to say that he or she can design a completely secure voting system, post it on here, and not find it cracked by next login? The privacy concerns are trivial compared to concerns about the manipulation of data. Yeah ok, I voted through my cellphone for deregulation of the cellphone markets - let's make them put their money where their mouth is. And I lost. I must be in the minority! God bless Democracy
    • by shiftless (410350)
      The problem with evoting is that computer systems are, as any /.r knows, an easy lay.

      shhh! quick, take that back! geez, next thing you know there will be an influx of geeks in the emergency room after unexplainable accidents involving their dicks and various pieces of computer equipment
  • by blubadger (988507) on Friday September 28, 2007 @07:30PM (#20789547)

    I'm serious. We know from experiments in Estonia and Switzerland and elsewhere that e-voting is convenient. M-voting will probably be even more so.

    We also know that there are fundamental, perhaps irremediable problems with voting electronically and remotely. In particular:

    • Security: In a complex system, the potential for undetected fraud multiplies exponentially
    • Transparency: The right of the voter to check how a poll is conducted is somewhat compromised by a need to understand source code (this reached court in Switzerland)
    • Identity: It's obvious and also applies to postal voting, but how do you know who is really voting on that remote device?

    Is democracy like shopping on Amazon, to be judged by its convenience and efficiency? Or is it something more important, and precious, than that?

    I think that if people take democracy seriously, they should slow down and ask these questions a bit more. If it means a few more years of voting the boring manual way, perhaps that will be for good reasons.

  • If you think I'm trusting my vote to the likes of Sprint, Verizon or AT&T you're nuts. I might consider it after all the people responsible for the NSA wiretapping fiasco have been put away for a reasonable number of years. Right now, though, I wouldn't trust any major communications carrier with my vote. Nope. Uh uh. No sir.
  • No thanks. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mmcuh (1088773) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @02:01AM (#20791635)

    Internet and mobile phone voting in the EU, where the data retention directive [wikipedia.org] will soon be implemented in every member state allowing unprecedented charting and tracing of everyone's internet and phone communications? No thank you. I'll step behind the curtain in the ballot office, put my vote in the anonymous envelope and watch the people behind the desk drop it in the box, just like in all previous elections.

    Any election method where the vote can't be guaranteed to be secret (because you are allowed to vote somewhere where someone can force you to let him watch you do it) or anonymous (because mobile phones and internet connections can not be trusted) is open to abuse.

  • Eventually all personal net/technology devices will be bio/nano connected to individuals, hopefully the individual will be better able to control personal information for protection and vet-verified elections, but (I suspect) the CSA big-bubba plutocrats will do their best to keep control of their serfs globally. The US, EU, Russia, China, Japan ... CSA plutocrats may even start a world war to make sure serf control is maintained.

    !HAVEFUN! "Reality, Freedom, Democracy ... (even god) are self-induced halluci
  • This sounds like a despot's dream. The systems receiving the data are "unseen". The path the vote takes to them is uncontrolled. The user of the phone is unverified. On top of all that, you've formally tied your Cell Phone to your National ID making you one of the most easily traced animals on the planet.

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