Finland: Security fears delay roll-out of national e-voting system in Finland | Computer Weekly

Security concerns have re-emerged to further frustrate the Finnish government’s plans to launch a national e-voting system. But the country’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) working group, which is leading the project, insists the venture is delayed rather than mothballed. Finland’s online e-voting project will now enter a problem-solving phase to identify advanced, effective and best practice solutions to protect a future e-voting system. … The MoJ estimates that the cost of launching and operating an e-voting system, based on a 15-year timespan, will be about €32m. But the risks attached to launching online voting in Finland currently outweigh its benefits, said Johanna Suurpää, chair of the MoJ’s e-voting working group (eVWG). “Our present position is that online voting should not be introduced in general elections as the risks are greater than the benefits,” said Suurpää. In its project feasibility report presented to the MoJ, the eVWG conceded that although a Finnish online e-voting system is technically possible, the technology available is not yet at a “sufficiently high level to meet all the requirements”.

The report identified certain problem areas, including difficulties in the reconciliation of verifiability and election secrecy. As regards verifiability, the eVWG said full confidence in a future system must be based on voters being able to ensure that ballots are counted as cast. Also, the voter should receive “proof” of the ballot cast.

Not surprisingly, the potential risks identified in the eVWG’s feasibility report included the threat of external interference and possible manipulation of election results. It highlighted electoral interference through cyber space-launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and large-scale breaching of election secrecy.“The greatest risk relates to the loss of public confidence, the spreading of false information and malicious rumours could be enough to shake citizens’ confidence in the election process,” the eVWG report said. “When an online voting system is used, the information produced by the system needs to be trusted.”

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