Zug, Switzerland, is a hub of welcoming regulation, digital currency acceptance, and blockchain-related events and companies. The local government has consistently extended a friendly hand to crypto-related projects, and its Crypto Valley Association strives to promote the region as “a global center where emerging cryptographic, blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies and businesses can thrive in a safe, supportive, and vibrant environment.” … The results of the survey are nonbinding but will give the city council valuable information about public opinion. The poll will include questions about local matters and digital IDs. Residents will be asked if they would like to use their digital IDs to participate in other government services such as libraries, payment of parking fees, submission of electronic tax returns, and regular referendums.
National: Email No Longer a Secure Method of Communication After Critical Flaw Discovered in PGP | Gizmodo
If you use PGP or S/MIME for email encryption you should immediately disable it in your email client. Researchers have discovered a critical vulnerability they’re calling EFAIL that exposes the encrypted emails in plaintext, even for messages sent in the past. “Email is no longer a secure communication medium,” Sebastian Schinzel, a professor of computer security at Germany’s Münster University of Applied Sciences, told the German news outlet Süddeutschen Zeitun. The vulnerability was first reported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the early hours of Monday morning, and details were released prematurely just before 6am ET today after Süddeutschen Zeitun broke a news embargo. The group of European researchers are warning people to stop using PGP entirely and say that, “there are currently no reliable fixes for the vulnerability.” You can read more about what the researchers are calling the EFAIL vulnerability at https://efail.de/.
The Faroe Islands are an archipelago of 18 tiny and remote islands in the North Atlantic. An autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, which already has an e-state of its own in place, they decided in favour of Estonia”s approach—for technological as well as political reasons, writes Richard Martyn-Hemphill. After more than a decade of Estonia showboating its e-governance methods to much of the world, it is no longer novel to see far larger nations than the Faroe Islands offering ample praise for Estonia”s drive to bring its interactions between government and citizens online. … Yet in the northerly Faroe Islands, officials are all in. On these craggy, windy, chilly lands where sheep outnumber the local human population of just 50, 000, the Faroese are implementing an equivalent of Estonia”s digital ID cards along with its X-Road infrastructure—a solution that enables internet voting from anywhere in the world, transferable and accessible data across ministries, and a digital identity that allows you to prove your credentials online. The Faroese rollout is expected in 2019. There are no plans as yet for an e-residency programme to follow.
Canada: British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer suggests pre-registering 16-year-olds | Vancouver Sun
A report from the province’s Chief Electoral Officer is calling for 16- and 17-year-olds to be given the right to pre-register to vote, while also pitching a digitization of the voting process. The teens still wouldn’t be eligible to vote until they are 18, but they would be allowed to have their names added automatically to the voters list when they turn 18. Creating a system where voters can vote at any polling station and all votes are counted on election night is also proposed (PDF). The report suggests service to voters would be improved while making for more efficient staffing and close to real-time disclosure of voter participation data.
Australia: New South Wales Electoral Commission appoints Scytl for iVote refresh project | Computerworld
Scytl has won a $1.9 million contract to upgrade the NSW Electoral Commission’s iVote application. The 2017-18 state budget included funding to enhance the iVote system, which provides browser-based Internet voting and telephone voting. iVote has been used in two NSW elections, as well as the 2017 WA election and nine NSW by-elections. There have been two versions of iVote; Scytl developed the core voting system used by the application from the 2015 NSW election onward. iVote has three key components: A registration and credential management system, which were both developed by the NSW EC; the Scytl core voting system; and a telephone system built by the electoral commission for vote verification.
Supreme Court of Pakistan recently called a briefing where National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) presented the online voting system for overseas Pakistanis. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar led a three-member bench to resume the hearing of a case referring to the voting rights of overseas Pakistanis. The hearing was attended by the officials of Election Commission of Pakistan, parliamentarians, representatives of political parties and faculty experts from reputable universities of Pakistan. … The online system has been integrated with the web portals of ECP and NADRA. To cast a vote, an overseas Pakistani who wishes to use the system must have a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP), a machine-readable passport and a valid email address to register on the website. The eligibility of the voter will be verified by the 13-digit NICOP number, its issuance date, tracking number and passport number of the machine-readable passport. After the validation of eligibility, the identity of the voter will be confirmed if they answer two verification questions asked by the system.
In response to a letter organised by Webroots Democracy and co-signed by 30 leading academics and charity bosses, Minister for Parliamentary Business Joe Fitzpatrick MSP has reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the trialling of an electronic voting system. The government outlined its commitment to improving its online services as part of the Digital Strategy for Scotland, this trial is part of that mission statement. … Scottish director of Open Rights Group, Matthew Rice said: “We have got to think what would happen if a foreign actor was interested in the outcome of our elections. It [electronic voting] always introduces security risks. We are saying that it should not be rolled out.” Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo told DIGIT: “We are deeply concerned about the e-voting trials in Scotland. It is vital in a democracy that elections are free and fair. But computerised rather than human ballot counting undermines transparency and risks serious security breaches.”
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is considering introducing an online voting system for Kenyans living in the Diaspora. Through his Twitter account, Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that the system will enable the electoral body cut costs incurred during elections. He however emphasized the need for such a system to be secure and verifiable to avoid being compromised and manipulated. “IEBC is considering online voting for Diaspora to cut costs – but must be secure and verifiable.” Chebukati further said the Commission will engage various stakeholders including Parliament, before rolling out the system.
Just like their Victorian ancestors, they are asked to mark an X on a ballot paper next to their chosen candidate. But all that could be about to change – in Scotland, at least. The Scottish Government’s consultation on electoral reform closed this week and ministers will soon begin scrutinising responses from across the country. It plans to trial “innovative” electronic voting which would mean votes could be cast on electronic machines within traditional polling stations – using systems “similar to ticket machines at railway stations or supermarket automated checkouts”. More boldly, votes could also be cast remotely via home computers or mobile devices. … But electoral reform is a sensitive subject. Public confidence in the system is vital. Previous efforts to try and streamline the process and increase turnout have not always worked.
West Virginia is testing a new secure mobile voting application to help active-duty military members vote in the upcoming May primary election. Secretary of State Mac Warner (R) announced the pilot program on Wednesday afternoon. It will initially be limited to military voters and their spouses and children who are registered to vote in Harrison and Monongalia counties. However, the state plans to expand the program to all 55 counties in the upcoming November general election if the pilot proves successful.