Wellington has been warned it faces an Ashley Madison-style election hack as it opts for online voting for 2016. In a split vote, councillors have agreed to join a trial of online voting for next year’s election – despite warnings from IT experts about potential security risks with e-voting. At Wednesday’s extraordinary full council meeting, software developer Nigel McNie said online voting opened up the process to “massive risk”. “Hacking is a risk. Consider the Ashley Madison hack, which I’m sure most of you have heard of.” He said “one small hole” in the adultery hookup site led to its hack, and eventual destruction. In July, it was revealed about 36 million members globally had their details leaked in the 9.7-gigabyte data dump on the dark web.
Wellington’s online voting service would cost ratepayers $100,000, and be supplied by company Electionz.com. … Managing director Steve Kilpatrick said the company would look to scale up its systems from January for the increased demands of council elections. Electionz.com would start security testing on the software from June, and the system would be ready in time for October’s council elections, he said.
The decision came a week after Christchurch dropped out of the proposed trials, amid fears of voter fraud and security breaches.
Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston, in charge of the trial, said each council must demonstrate it met Cabinet-agreed security requirements set in May. Councillors voted seven to six in favour of online voting.