Flaws found in the Brazilian electronic voting system could open up the possibility of fraud as more than 140 million people go to the polls in the general elections taking place on Sunday. E-voting was introduced in Brazil in 1996 as a means to ensure secrecy and accuracy of the election process, as well as speed: the system underpinned by about 530,000 voting machines currently in place enables results to be processed within a matter of minutes within closing of the ballots. However, a public test of the equipment conducted by security and encryption specialists from Unicamp and Universidade de Brasília, two of the top computer science universities in Brazil, suggests that it is possible to easily break the secrecy of the machine and unscramble the order of votes recorded by the device. “Brazilians unconditionally believe the [security of the] country’s electoral authority and processes. The issue is that common citizens actually have no other option because of the lack of independent checks,” says Unicamp professor and encryption specialist, Diego Aranha.
Another issue is that the Brazilian machines, which are based on the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) model, do not produce a physical proof that the vote has been recorded. This means there is a constant danger of large-scale software fraud, as well as other non-technical tampering that could be perpetrated by former or current electoral justice staff and go totally undetected, according to Aranha.
The Brazilian Electoral Tribunal (TSE, in the Portuguese acronym) did not allow new public tests since the faults were discovered by Aranha’s team in 2012, when the TSE granted access to more than 10 million lines of code for five hours. Since the system holes were found, the Tribunal said it would not allow further independent tests.
“[The TSE] said that my attitude was disrespectful and a threat to democracy, which is bizarre given that I am a professor at a public university,” Aranha says. “The reality is that there appears to be a conflict of interests, since the government wants to portray the system as bullet-proof and at the same time cover up these vulnerabilities,” the academic adds.
Full Article: Fraud possible in Brazil’s e-voting system | ZDNet.