While it seems like everything can be done online these days, that’s not actually the case when it comes to elections. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien explores the security, logistical and secrecy challenges of Internet voting.
… David Wagner, University of California, Berkeley: There was no way to guarantee your vote would be counted correctly, that if someone were to hack the central computer system, then someone could change votes, and there might be no way to detect that kind of election stealing. So, I don’t think any of the voting system vendors out there right now has a solution that ensures — that’s proof against hacking or that ensures that we can detect hacking.
Mile O’Brien: And the online security threat has only become more ominous in recent years. If hackers can routinely breach heavily fortified servers at places like Google, Lockheed Martin, Visa, and Sony, which employ legions of computer security experts, what hope would a local election commissioner have of doing any better? Not much, according to computer scientist David Jefferson, chairman of a non-profit called Verified Voting, its mission, to keep the paper in our polling. Is there any doubt in your mind that the elections would become the target of a coordinated attack?
David Jefferson, Verified Voting: See, I think a U.S. election would be a very rich target for any number of classes of attackers. There could, of course, be the isolated individual somewhere in the world who wants, for self-aggrandizement reasons, to attack a U.S. election. But other foreign nation states who are rivals of the United States might want to surreptitiously change the results of a U.S. election somewhere.