Computer scientist rubbishes e-voting

» Nick Farrell , 18-10-2002

A top computer scientist has warned the UK government that its plans for internet voting are a licence to commit election fraud.

Rebecca Mercuri, assistant professor of computer science at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, told The Guardian that she was horrified that any government would even consider using the internet for elections.

She explained that e-voting leaves no paper trail and provides less accountability, poorer reliability and greater opportunity for fraud than traditional methods.

Although people assume that electronic voting employs the same technologies used in everyday life, such as in banking or airline ticketing, Mercuri insisted that there are crucial differences.

She argued that internet voting is inherently unsafe because websites can be "spoofed, identities can be stolen and the whole thing is open to international attack".

Without using biometric techniques like iris or fingerprint scanning, Mercuri said that there is no way of establishing online that the person voting is who they say there are.

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