Technology experts say yes to e-voting, but let’s ensure it is secure first
As the nation takes to polling stations across the UK for today’s General Election vote, could e-voting be an option in the future?
With the advent of new digital technology, e-voting promises much for voter take up, anonymity and security. Technology experts from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which supports the move to e-voting in principle, are urging the Government to address privacy concerns before introducing e-voting.
Experts at the IET want to see plans for e-voting as part of a detailed proposal for voter modernisation, which includes recommendations to ensure an e-voting system is fundamentally secure. Online voting could potentially lead to clearer and fairer engagement with the UK electorate.
In a time when cyber threats are rapidly increasing in terms of both frequency and severity, it is obvious that highly robust cyber security processes will have to be in place for any internet voting system to be considered feasible.
Professor Steve Schneider, Director of the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security and also Chair of the IET Working Group on Electronic Voting, said: “Online voting can bring new opportunities for accessibility and convenience in election participation, but it is critical that the electorate can trust online voting systems to protect the secrecy of the votes and to ensure the integrity of the results.
“Cyber security is the main concern for these systems, but emerging technologies are bringing new ways of tackling these challenges and we are developing a more mature understanding of what is required to achieve secure and verifiable online voting.”
Countries making use of technology in voting include Estonia, Australia and Canada.
The IET is due to release a new report early next year which will look at the possibilities around e-voting and the need for well-informed and authoritative technical advice on the issues, challenges and risks around such systems.