Australia

Articles about voting issues in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Australia: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: Australia should stay away from electronic voting | IDM Magazine

The civic experience of interacting with analogue voting interfaces is as Australian as the democracy sausage. Voters are confronted with tiny pencils, plus physical security measures that involve huddling in a cardboard booth and origami-scale folding. The use of paper ballots – and human counting of those ballots – creates one of the most secure electoral systems imaginable. And the Australian tradition provides another sometimes under-recognised component of electoral security: compulsory voting. This practice secures against the voter suppression tactics used to undermine elections in the United States. In the digital era, smartphones are so prevalent that it might seem tempting to move to voting online. In 2013 the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) explored internet voting. But cyber security experts say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The problems the US has had with electronic voting provide a perfect illustration of what can go wrong. Every year hackers and cyber security experts from across the globe converge “In Real Life” (IRL) on Las Vegas to attend one of the world’s largest and longest-running annual hacker conventions: DefCon. Read More

Australia: Intelligence officials plan to repel fake news in Australian federal election | Financial Review

Australian intelligence and government officials are working on the best means to repel attacks from foreign actors attempting to cause unrest and interfere with the 2019 federal election via the dissemination of fake news of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. A new wave of election interference came into the spotlight following the shock election of Donald Trump as US president in 2016. Russia-linked accounts were discovered to have been circulating false stories over Facebook, Twitter and Google before the election in an attempt to whip up social and political unrest with outlandish claims which many Americans believed. Read More

Australia: Facebook working with Australian authorities to improve election integrity | AdNews

Facebook’s Australia boss Will Easton says the social media giant is working with local authorities to ensure next year’s federal election is not influenced by fake accounts and bad actors manipulating users on the social media platform, according to an interview with Fairfax Media. Easton said its policy team is working with the government on election integrity in a effort to prevent an Australian version of the Cambridge Analytica scandal where user data was harvested and then used by political strategists to manipulate and influence users to vote for Donald Trump in the US election. “Our policy team are in constant connection with the government around a number of different areas and election integrity is clearly a part of that. We’re very proactively talking to the election authorities in Australia about potential elections coming up,” he told the Fairfax Media. Read More

Australia: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: Australia should stay away from electronic voting | The Conversation

The civic experience of interacting with analogue voting interfaces is as Australian as the democracy sausage. Voters are confronted with tiny pencils, plus physical security measures that involve huddling in a cardboard booth and origami-scale folding. The use of paper ballots – and human counting of those ballots – creates one of the most secure electoral systems imaginable. And the Australian tradition provides another sometimes under-recognised component of electoral security: compulsory voting. This practice secures against the voter suppression tactics used to undermine elections in the United States. In the digital era, smartphones are so prevalent that it might seem tempting to move to voting online. In 2013 the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) explored internet voting. But cyber security experts say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Read More

Australia: MP warns of cyber threat to Australian elections | Computerworld

The shadow assistant minister for cyber security, Gai Brodtmann, has called for the government to classify Australia’s election systems as a “critical infrastructure sector” under the Trusted Information Sharing Network in order to “overlay the appropriate scrutiny and assurance mechanisms to assure the Australian people of the cyber resilience of their democracy”. The Labor MP, who earlier this month announced she would not contest the next election, cited concerns over alleged attempts to influence the US and French elections as well as the denial of service attacks on the 2016 Census. The TISN is an initiative to boost information sharing and collaboration between critical infrastructure operators. Read More

Australia: Want to hack the Western Australia government? Try ‘Password123’ | Computerworld

A staggering 60,000 out of 234,0000 active accounts at a range of WA government agencies were potentially at risk of a dictionary attack due to their weak passwords, a review by the state’s auditor general has found. The state’s auditor general today upheld a venerable WA government information security tradition, slamming agencies for poor practices when it came to passwords and other protective measures. For the report, the WA Office of the Auditor General obtained encrypted password data from 23 Active Directory environments across 17 agencies. Using a selection of password dictionaries it found that tens of thousands of users had chosen weak passwords including “Password123” (1464 accounts), “password1” (813), “password” (184), “password2” (142) and “Password01” (118). “‘After repeatedly raising password risks with agencies, it is unacceptable that people are still using Password123 and abcd1234 to access critical agency systems and information,” said Western Australia’s auditor general, Caroline Spencer. Read More

Australia: Flaws in ACT election systems could reveal voters’ votes | ZDNet

Two newly revealed flaws in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) electronic voting systems could have allowed voters to be linked to their votes, breaking the core democratic concept of the secret ballot. The vulnerabilities were disclosed in a detailed technical write-up on Monday by independent security researcher T Wilson-Brown, who originally discovered and confirmed the flaws in early January. Elections ACT had agreed in March to public disclosure on April 9, but on April 10 it pulled out. Four months later, Wilson-Brown has published them, to allow time for changes to be made before the next ACT election in 2020. The first vulnerability stems from Elections ACT publishing online the individual, and their preference allocations under the ACT’s preferential voting system, for later analysis. Read More

Australia: Election rejection: Tasmanian activists launch inquiry into 2018 result | The Guardian

A March election would usually be a distant memory by August. But not so in Tasmania, where anger over the 2018 campaign remains white-hot. A group of community activists will tap into that sentiment on Wednesday, launching a novel concept in a state with the weakest political donations laws in the country – fed up over a lack of political transparency, the group will hold its own inquiry into the 2018 state election. Read More

Australia: Cyber security experts warn Australia not immune from election meddling via Facebook | ABC

Facebook’s latest move to shut down accounts involved in interference in the US democratic process has prompted concern about possible election meddling in Australia. A former cyber security expert with the US State Department today issued a stark warning to Australians: we are not immune to the threat. Black Elevation, Mindful Being and Resisters are the names of just a few Facebook pages that had thousands of followers Facebook said were possibly linked to Russia, and involved in co-ordinated, inauthentic behaviour. Read More

Australia: Political parties to get cyber subsidy for electoral databases | iTnews

Australia’s four major political parties have been granted $300,000 to shore-up their systems following Russia’s alleged cyber interference in the 2016 US election. The funding will be made available to the parties in the form of voter information protection grants that will be administered by the Department of Finance over the second half of 2018. The Liberal, Nationals, Labor and Greens parties will use the grants to “improve security of their constituent management systems and associated data, including information pertaining to the electoral rolls and voter information”. The funding follows a series of briefings on the security threat to Australia’s elections between Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and party leaders in early 2017. Read More