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U.S. senator pushes for cybersecurity review of remote biometric voting app

U.S. senator pushes for cybersecurity review of remote biometric voting app

Popular biometric remote voting application Voatz is under the radar again, after U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper pushing to place the app under rigorous cybersecurity review, writes NBC News.

Writing he is “very concerned about the significant security risks associated with voting over the internet,” Wyden based his concern on an argument made by the National Academy of Sciences that advises against voting via internet because “(n)o known technology guarantees the secrecy, security and verifiability of a marked ballot transmitted over the Internet.”

Concern that the devices nowadays are not properly secured, which could compromise the election, was also expressed by other experts.

“They assist people in casting digital ballots that can’t be verified or audited,” said John Sebes, co-founder of the Open Source Election Technology Institute (OSET), a nonprofit that conducts election technology research. “Paperless voting is an inherent problem because we have national security threats to our election technology.”

“We welcome any and all additional security audits by the Department of Defense and NSA regarding our platform,” Voatz said in a statement Friday night. “We remain committed to providing as much transparency as possible about our system while at the same time needing to protect our intellectual property.”

Voatz has been used in elections in Colorado, Oregon, and Utah. West Virginia also tested the app, however during the 2018 pilot rollout for the military, Secretary of State Warner pointed out to the U.S. Attorney’s office that third-parties had tried to gain unauthorized access to the system.

Although several audits delivered positive results, the vendor identified an illegal attempt to gain access to the system. Warner said there was no breach and all IPs were handed over to the FBI for further investigation.

In August, an audit conducted by the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) and Denver Election Divisions concluded there were no discrepancies in how the votes were cast, recorded and tabulated through blockchain technology.

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