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U.K. Government Indecisive About Internet Voting Project

The emergence of security concerns associated with several pilot Internet voting projects has prompted the U.K. government to cancel them, as per reports of Guardian Unlimited on May 2, 2007.

There were allegations that one voting system had security loopholes as a team of senior security experts on Internet uncovered it. Experts have detected weak security points in a couple of projects in the 2007 election pilots. They have called them "catastrophically weak" and believed it would be possible to embezzle votes in certain districts. Intelivote Systems Inc, a Canadian company provided the software and contracted with U.K. government to deliver its electronic voting services.

Intelivote Systems showed the Guardian a bunch of web pages with test exploits against its online voting pages. The DCA noted that although it is aware of possible flaws but was convinced that the robust security arrangements would be able to block hacking attempts.

The DCA produced an internal risk assessment and the Guardian obtained it within the purview of Freedom of Information Act. The assessment showed that about 70 e-voting pilot projects had weaknesses. These projects were primarily for the elections.

Officials from the department and the Electoral Commission discussed the document at a private gathering in January this year. Although it did not list the involved councils or suppliers but it said in detail how delays damaged many schemes.

The U.K. government has been immensely interested in the electronic voting system. It believes that online ballots will encourage voter attendance and will be less expensive to hold an election. However, a series of pilot projects provided evidence that made it less impressive. Some officials even privately questioned if online voting was still active. In some incidents ministerial officials had to come in between to resolve the problems. Elsewhere the programs had to be rejected altogether.

An Intelivote spokesman said they believed the system was secure according to available knowledge. Guardian Unlimited published the spokesman's statement on May 2, 2007. There are always chances that security exploits will arise. Therefore, the company handled them taking one issue at a time, Intelivote spokesman added.

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