Re: [ga-ext] On-Line Voting
[Electronic election studies on the ALSC web site.]
On 2001-05-17 19:00:21 -0400, Danny Younger wrote:
>Both of these studies imply that on-line elections are not
>technologically feasible at this time. I am worried that if the
>ALSC does not itself commission a study on how to actually make
>such elections feasible, the currently cited arguments might
>prevail in the absence of countervailing studies.
I wouldn't expect that you get countervailing studies of real weight
when the same set of questions is asked.
However, the question you should really ask yourself when looking at
his paper is this: From where is he starting? From where are we
Rubin's topic is to investigate the suitability of Internet voting
as a replacement for a system which is perceived as highly secure
and stable, and thought to be well understood. (Or, maybe, which
used to be regarded that way before the Great Reocunt. ;)
That is, he asks whether electronic elections should be performed
INSTEAD of traditional elections. He does NOT suggest that no
elections at all should be held because they are insecure!
The ICANN situation is vastly different: To begin with, a dismissal
of electronic elections would mean that there are no elections at
all. Thus, the question the ALSC should ask is not: Can electronic
elections be made so perfect that they can replace traditional
elections? - But: Can electronic elections be performed well enough
so we can kind of accept their results? Not: Is it better than the
system we already have? - But: Is it good enough so we can do it at
Obviously, this question could easily lead to different conclusions,
based on the very same facts as, say, Rubin's paper.
>As I believe that ICANN does escrow worldwide registrant data, it
>should (in my uninformed opinion) be possible to send an encrypted
>time-sensitive one-time-use email to every registrant worldwide as
>an election ballot. Is this within the realm of possibility?
There isn't any strong e-mail encryption technology which has been
deployed down to the last registrant.
Also, there is still not much cryptographic authentication of
registrants or contacts being done - I know of one ccTLD which
accepts requests via telefax or letter only, and considers
signatures (as in: pen on paper) on these faxes or letters as
sufficient authentication. (Bad enough, they only have a sample of
the admin contact's signature, but let the tech contact do critical
changes to the domain. Ups.) Of course, this ccTLD doesn't have any
cryptographic keys from registrants.
Finally, the registrant data isn't collected securely, so all
concerns about secure voter registration would persist.
(Hell, there is less verification done on gtld domain name holders
than on ICANN voters last year.)
Your proposal would lead nowhere.
Thomas Roessler http://log.does-not-exist.org/
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