每日英語跟讀 Ep.809: Voting by Phone? Elections App Sets Off Alarm
For more than a decade, it has been an elusive dream for election officials: a smartphone app that would let swaths of voters cast their ballots from their living rooms. It has also been a nightmare for cyberexperts, who argue that no technology is secure enough to trust with the very basis of American democracy.
The debate, long a sideshow at academic conferences and state election offices, is now taking on new urgency. A startup called Voatz says it has developed an app that would allow users to vote securely from anywhere in the world — the electoral version of a moonshot. Thousands are set to use the app in this year’s elections, a small but growing experiment that could pave the way for a wider acceptance of mobile voting.
But where optimists see a more engaged electorate, critics are warning that the move is dangerously irresponsible. In a new report shared with The New York Times before its publication Thursday, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say the app is so riddled with security issues that no one should be using it.
In response to the report, the Department of Homeland Security organized a series of briefings in recent weeks for state and local officials who are planning to use Voatz’s technology.
“The choice here is not about turnout,” the report says, “but about an adversary controlling the election result and a loss of voter privacy.”
With security already a dominant theme of the 2020 elections, the debacle at the Democratic caucuses in Iowa — an app used to report results failed to, well, report results — has raised new questions about the role technology should play in American elections and prompted calls for it to be scaled back.
While a return to the analog days of punch cards and hanging chads is unlikely, there is growing unease about how far state and local governments should go in modernizing election infrastructure — from registration databases and electronic poll books to the voting machines themselves.
An initial experiment with wide-scale online voting took place in Washington a decade ago. It was called off after researchers hacked into the system, electing HAL 9000 — the computer from “2001: A Space Odyssey” — as mayor and making the University of Michigan fight song play every time a ballot was cast.
Since then, some states have allowed online voting through web portals, emails or digital faxes, despite the security risks. But they have restricted it to groups of people who cannot make it to the polls, mostly overseas military personnel.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/350337/web/