Skip to content
Click here

Government Computer News
Government Computer News

Wednesday August 25, 2004 | Updated 4:38 PM EST August 25

Post Newsweek Tech

Visit our other sites
Washington Technology
FOSE
 Current Issue  Columnists  Products Central  Site Map  Events  Subscribe  My Account
 Search GCN
 Advanced Search
|Help

Hot Topics
Biometrics
Content Management
Defense IT
E-Government
Homeland Security
IT Infrastructure
Mobile & Wireless
New Products / Technology
Outsourcing
Policy / Regulation
Procurement
Section 508
Security
State & Local
Storage
Web
Work force / Training
GCN Management
Business Process (BPM)
Enterprise Architecture
Executive Center
Portfolio / Program / Project
Current Management Edition
GCN in print


Government Computer News

Subscribe

GCN Management

Tech Edition

Sponsor message
 click here!
Archives


Online Resources


GCN Events/Seminars


Sponsor Forums


Technology Reports

Index of reports
HP blade servers
HP ProLiant DL145



  Printer-Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
  Purchase A Reprint Link To This Page

 Sponsorship Information and Announcements
Click here

 Sponsorship Information and Announcements



Public and experts split over e-voting security

By William Jackson
GCN Staff


Despite the concerns of security professionals, the general public has a high level of trust in electronic voting.

More than half of those polled in a recent survey had a favorable opinion of e-voting, and three quarters had confidence in the technology.

But a majority of computer professionals attending recent IT security conferences expressed concerns. Nearly half said they had no confidence in the technology and 60 percent had an unfavorable opinion of it.

The survey underscored differences in opinion about whether touchscreen computers are ready to replace paper ballots in the polling places.

“That’s a gigantic schism between the two groups,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, which conducted the survey last month. “That’s the largest difference I’ve ever seen in a study.”

Touchscreen voting systems, also called direct electronic-recording systems, have gained popularity as states look for alternatives to flawed punch card machines that created problems in the 2000 presidential election. The Help America Vote Act has provided federal funding to help replace those machines, and a number of states are turning to DRE.

But some experts have raised concerns about the software development process, the security and reliability of the systems, and the lack of a paper audit trail for recounts of DRE balloting. California has decertified the machines for the November election and Missouri will require some form of paper audit trail.

Several Congressional hearings have been held on the subject and legislation requiring paper audit trails has been introduced in the House.

But nearly 80 percent of the public feel that e-voting machines are at least as likely to accurately record their votes as traditional paper ballot machines.

The survey reflects the responses of 3,798 people and was presented Saturday at the Defcon hackers’ conference in Las Vegas. A group of 101 security professionals was surveyed at Defcon and at last week’s Black Hat Briefings, also in Las Vegas.

The survey explored people’s perceptions of the technology rather than the technology itself.

Ponemon cautioned that the expert group did not constitute a scientific sample. The results illustrate the differences in awareness of security and reliability issues.

The largest concerns for security professionals were system and programming errors and attempts to swing elections. The major concern of the general public was voter turnout. About 35 percent of those polled were afraid distrust of the e-voting systems could dissuade people from voting.

That might not be an idle concern. Although most of the public sample said they trust electronic voting machines, a significant minority expressed reservations. Twenty-five percent said they had little or no confidence in the machines.





Marketplace

 MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Software for the Enterprise
Learn how MicroStrategy's easy-to-use BI platform can improve your advanced business management and advanced analytics. FREE Full Access to Our Award-Winning Software for 30-Days!

 Intuit Help Desk & Network Management Software
Intuit provides Track-It! and Network Monitor - the leading help desk and network management solutions for call tracking, problem resolution, IT asset management, electronic software distribution, and network performance monitoring. Free demo & trial

 Marconi Federal's "Circle of Security" White Paper
Marconi proposes the "Circle of Security" to secure multiservice networks in today's world of deceit, industrial espionage, and terrorist attacks. As next-generation, multiservice network infrastructures are built, network security must be addressed.

 Automating the FISMA process
Click here to request our white paper, "Automating the FISMA Process", which describes how automated systems such as BelSecure can help U.S. Federal government agencies comply with the FISMA security process.

 Mark Minasi on The Art of Network Troubleshooting
Learn the 12 absolute laws of troubleshooting any network problem from Mark Minasi, best-selling author and instructor. TechMentor offers training for managers and administrators on scripting, GPOs and more. TechMentor, San Jose, Sept 27 to Oct 1.

 Buy a link NOW!