In order to ensure the security of online voting systems used in Switzerland, the government needs to issue a challenge to the worldwide hacker community, offering rewards to anyone who can “blow holes in the system”, says a computer scientist in parliament. Since it began in 2000, Switzerland’s e-voting project has been a matter of controversy. While some have been calling for its introduction to be fast-tracked in all the country’s 26 cantons, others would like to see the project slowed. In parliament there has been a call for a moratorium on electronic voting in the whole country for four years, except for the Swiss abroad. To put an end to all the concerns and convince the critics that security and secrecy of online voting can be guaranteed, Radical Party parliamentarian Marcel Dobler thinks there needs to be an unequivocal demonstration that systems used in Switzerland are proof against computer piracy. The best way to do this, he says, is to invite hackers to target them.
In a parliamentary motion, Dobler – a computer scientist and successful entrepreneur in the computer field – is calling on the government to subject electronic voting systems to stress tests, in a structured process open to public view over two consecutive nationwide votes. Afterwards, he says, the results should be issued in a public report.
To ensure that “first-rank hackers or whole groups of hackers mount real attacks”, Dobler believes a monetary incentive will be indispensable. The government, he says, should offer a reward of CHF250,000 ($251,000) for every ballot successfully manipulated, up to a limit of CHF1 million.