Re: [OVC-discuss] SEEV system?

From: Edward Cherlin <echerlin_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Feb 12 2010 - 10:20:31 CST

On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 21:01, Douglas W. Jones <jones@cs.uiowa.edu> wrote:
>
> On Feb 11, 2010, at 7:12 PM, Edward Cherlin wrote:
>
>> A friend wants me to get involved with the authors of this voting
>> system for the 3rd world. What do we know about it? It sounds
>> inherently unlikely.

I read more of the site today and I have positive and negative
comments below, and there are other issues I don't have time for right
now. I will talk with the inventor soon.

>> http://www.cd3wd.com/SEEV/index.htm
>>
>> SEEV is a new innovative concept which uses entirely existing
>> technologies (mobile phone sms and TAN-envelopes) in conjunction with
>> an external international processing center ...
>
> There are a few problems -- it requires voters to do a pencil
> and paper encryption to cast their ballot.  This will disenfranchise
> a significant fraction of the electorate -- or force them to reveal
> their choices to someone who can help them vote.  It will also
> guarantee a significant number of misvotes from people who make
> mistakes in the table-lookup encryption process.

Thanks. In principle this could be fixed using a cell phone encryption
app, since all of the voting is done via cell phone. (I have had
several contracts with InnoPath, whose software manages software
downloads to phones.) In practice, any cell phone voting system
disenfranchises the poor. The proposal discusses getting enough phones
out to the population on election day, but not cell coverage.

> From a human factors point of view, it's significantly worse than,
> for example, punchscan.
>
> Then, there's the issue of election transparency.  The idea is to
> take the elections out of the control of the country (not inherently
> a bad idea, if we imagine that the country in question very corrupt)
> and put them in the hands of a trusted outside agency that maintains
> the databases.
>
> How do you know you can trust that outside agency?  Imagine, for
> example, that I'm an Iranian voting in an election run by this
> agency in the next Iranian election.  How do I know that the CIA
> isn't selecting the winner?

Given the Crypto AG fiasco, we don't have any assurance that an
operation using commercial software hasn't been corrupted. Open Source
is again necessary.

We could consider giving up the "one-time pad" level of encryption
security in favor of auditability without revealing who cast each
vote, by reusing encryption keys with random assignments. Each key
could be used on the order of, say, 1,000 times all over the country,
with different keys for almost everybody in a district.

Trust is built up through repeated successful interactions. (Robert
Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation) We have to begin with some
highly successful established NGO with demonstrated security smarts
and demonstrated independence of governments over a long time. Amnesty
International might do. Then we would need a trusted auditor.

There is a problem with the confirmation messages as this system is
designed. They can be trivially decrypted, by design, if the voter
keeps the key sheet. Countries would have to decide between secrecy of
voting and confirmation.

>                Doug Jones
>                jones@cs.uiowa.edu
>
> Disclaimer:  I only spent a few minutes looking at their web site,
> and these are, of course, my own opinions and not those of any agency
> or secret conspiracy with which I may be affiliated.
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-- 
Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
http://www.earthtreasury.org/
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Received on Sun Feb 28 23:17:03 2010

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