Internet Voting Is ‘Not Secure’ and Blockchain Won’t Help, Warns Scientific Body

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil elections and voting officials look for solutions, scientific experts are warning against the dangers of voting online.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues has written an open letter to U.S. governors, secretaries of state and state election directors to express concern about the security of voting via the internet or mobile apps. The letter has been signed by renowned cybersecurity and computing experts and organizations. It reflects research from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other organizations.

“At this time, internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the United States, nor will it be in the foreseeable future,” the letter reads, pointing to undetected manipulation of votes, privacy violations, malware intrusions, and the potential for denial-of-service attacks and other vulnerabilities.

Internet voting, which includes voting via email, fax, web and mobile app, has no meaningful voter-verified paper record, the letter states, which makes it impossible to conduct a valid audit of the results.

Fundamental issues

The idea of internet voting isn’t new.

Steve M. Newell, Project Director at AAAS’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues points to a report facilitated by the National Science Foundation around two decades ago.

“Their conclusion was that it’s not a viable product now, and it won’t be for the foreseeable future. And then two years ago, the National Academies [of Science, Engineering and Medicine] put out their big comprehensive report on election security and their conclusion was basically the same thing,” he said.

Also read: Election App Voatz Just Got Kicked Out of a Major Bug Bounty Program

New tools, such as blockchain-based voting apps, don’t appear to be a solution either.

According to the letter, the use of…

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