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E-voting Seen As A No-No: Too Hard, Too Risky

Despite calls from PM Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for the introduction of electronic voting systems to Australian elections, the idea is largely being opposed by cyber security experts, who maintain e-voting technology at this stage is too complex and too risky for widespread adoption.

A typical response comes from Raymond Schippers, a senior security analyst with cyber security firm Checkpoint. “The amount of attacks over the Internet is insane,” he said.

“In an instant, someone could compromise 10,000 computers. And without the voter ever knowing: someone could change their vote and no one would ever be able to confirm it was changed.”

Ian Brightwell, former CIO of the NSW Electoral Commission, takes a slightly different view, saying partial use of electronic voting could offer significant advantages but – given the possible problems – he doesn’t see any need for Australia to go “all-in” for an e-vote system..

The Australian Information and Industry Association remains enthusiastic, however. CEO Rob Fitzpatrick has called for governments to introduce “a safe, secure and reliable electronic voting system.”

Fitzpatrick believes the possible problems are being over-stated. “Australia has some of the world’s leading researchers in secure operating systems, providers of cybersecurity infrastructure and public and private sector operations, handling complex transactions,” he said last week.

“Without question, secure electronic voting is a challenge. But when were we not up for a challenge?”

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