New South Wales Electoral Commission (NSWEC) CIO Ian Brightwell has defended the state’s online iVote system for the second time in as many weeks, after concerns were raised that a ballot error could put the state’s Legislative Council results in question for some seats. In the first two days of voting for the NSW state election, which was held on March 28, an error on the electronic ballot paper used for the online iVote system saw voters unable to vote above the line for two parties. … Brightwell’s defence of the NSW iVote system comes just two weeks after he fended off claims by online security researchers that the system had been vulnerable to a range of potential attacks, including those using the FREAK vulnerability. At the time, Brightwell played down the findings of the two researchers, Michigan Computer Science professor J Alex Halderman and University of Melbourne research fellow Vanessa Teague, saying that the vulnerability claims had been “overstated”.
He also questioned the researchers’ motivation in releasing their research just a week out from the state election, highlighting their roles as voluntary advisors to Verified Voting, a US-based non-governmental organisation which bills itself as working toward “accuracy, integrity, and verifiability of elections”, and claims a mission of “safeguarding elections in the digital age”.
However, on Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) — which counts Verify Voting, and the two researchers, as a past client — slammed Brightwell for questioning the validity of the researchers’ claims. In a blog post on April 6, the EFF’s Farbod Faraji said that NSW officials seemed more interested in protecting their reputations than the integrity of elections.
“They sharply criticised Halderman and Teague, rather than commending them, for their discovery of the FREAK attack vulnerability,” said Faraji in the post. “Criticising Halderman and Teague for identifying security flaws in an internet voting system is like criticising your friend for pointing out that the lock on your front door doesn’t work. “Perhaps the Electoral Commission lashed out against Halderman and Teague because it has been forced to reckon with the potentially severe consequences of its flawed internet voting system,” he said.
Full Article: NSW iVote ballot mistake put down to human error | ZDNet.