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Kaspersky Says Lack of Digital Voting Will Be Democracy's Downfall 388

hapworth writes "Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, has warned that one of the greatest cyber threats facing the world is the lack of effective online voting systems, claiming that unless young people can vote online they won't bother at all and the whole democratic system will collapse. Not everyone is buying that theory, however (and there's reason to suspect Kaspersky has a vested interest in online voting, which may need his firm's cybersecurity products). As producer James Lambie writes, 'Ultimately, the digital native's disenchantment with voting is based less on a lack of suitable technology and more on disillusionment with the craven and anemic political choices they are presented with.'"
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Kaspersky Says Lack of Digital Voting Will Be Democracy's Downfall

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  • Honestly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:23PM (#40405401)


    I’ve always hated this push to get people to go out and vote. That’s not what’s important. The message that should be going out is to educate yourself enough to make an actual decision, THEN vote! Going into a booth (or online) and selecting a random choice because MTV told you it’s your duty to vote is only going to make things worse.

    If someone won’t vote unless they can do it in less than 10 seconds... their opinion is probably worth very little, and would rather not have it diluting the already thin pool.

  • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:27PM (#40405435)


    I'd rather a small turnout of people making an actual decision.

    Voting isn't what's important. Having an opinion is. 100% voter turnout isn't worth much if 70% of that turnout picked randomly.

    Unless they figure a good way to validate that someone is making a serious choice (and force them to do so), all this does is dilute the already very thin pool of educated voters.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:33PM (#40405489)

    Do you think the current crop of politicians WANT people to be engaged and empowered to pick their governments?

  • by IAmR007 ( 2539972 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:35PM (#40405519)
    Electronic doesn't necessarily mean insecure. Public key cryptography with keys in voter cards is a possibility. Encrypt the vote with your public key and the government's public key, then sign. You could then check that your vote was counted and counted correctly either online with a cheap smartcard reader or at a library if you don't have a reader. The keys would be signed to verify identity and could also include a photo.

    The reason current electronic voting machines are insecure is that they have no electronic security whatsoever, not inherently because they're electronic.
  • Excuses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skelly33 ( 891182 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:36PM (#40405525)
    I say stop making excuses for and pandering to "young people". If they can't integrate with the "real world" IRL then they can just starve to death in their pathetic little digital corners. There are plenty of things in life that require one to get off one's own ass - voting is one of them.
  • Re:Honestly.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:44PM (#40405611)

    Second that opinion. I've always hated the stoopid motor-voter registration where they enroll voters when they attain or renew their drivers license. You should have to make the effort to GO somewhere and enroll.

    That said, in the US voting no longer matters anyway. We have Mitrock Obomney who enacted mandatory healthcare in MA and nationwide and now he's totally against it. Except in MA.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:57PM (#40405735)

    vote online = vote the bosses way at work or get fired.

    That is may be a worst case but on line voteing opens up that kind of abuse.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:57PM (#40405743) Homepage voting will be democracy's downfall.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:57PM (#40405745)

    This is from a company that is Russian, and by coincidence discovers the US might be at fault for Flame just as there is a tug-of-war between ICANN and a Russian/Chinese backed UN body for control of the Internet.

    If anyone has any clue at all, electronic voting is just ripe for being hacked. Look at what the Black Box voting site reported, from monkeys hacking voting booths, to standard keys that fit any RV fitting the locks on the voting computer. Without a solid paper component, it is a heck of a lot easier to forge results in a way that is completely detectable. At least with hanging chads, someone somewhere had to hold up pieces of paper and say they were not usable. Just being electronic means that a country's elections can be completely compromised by a foreign body.

    Hmm... I'm sure there are plenty of countries who don't like the US who would love to influence elections. Making voting electronic just means the hack will be untraceable. I'm sure advocating E-voting would help lots in this department.

    Hell with e-voting. We need paper trails, as what was shown with the voting machine stories.

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:57PM (#40405751)

    This sounds suspiciously like preliminary marketing buzz for a new Kaspersky Labs software venture: create perception of a problem so they can then leap in and solve it. As irredeemably cynical as I am about human motives, behavior, and so-called intelligence, even I don't believe that a lack of e-voting will be a significant deterrent to people voting. The proximal cause of most people not voting, as demonstrated time and time again, is disillusionment with the whole process and the mediocre - at best - results... "why bother when my vote doesn't count and I have no idea who the 'better man' actually is?"

  • How to Vote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:59PM (#40405777) Journal

    Which candidate promises to give me more tax money taken from other people?

    a) BreadAndCircuses-crat
    b) CircusesAndBread-lican
    c) CrankyOldCoot-itarian (never happen)

    Votes are bought and sold every day. How do you think the US deficit got as high as it has? Greek foreign debt? Spanish public debt? Voters, when offered a chance to tax anyone except themselves, do so.

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:02PM (#40405793)

    Voting isn't what's important. Having an informed opinion is.

    There, fixed that for you. And exactly how do you propose that people get informed, when 90% of what they read and see and hear is mis-information?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:05PM (#40405839)

    You could then check that your vote was counted and counted correctly

    Like! Now my wife can prove to me that she voted "correctly".

  • Re:Honestly.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:10PM (#40405883)

    And that's exactly the path I don't want to go down again.

    It is inevitable that your suggestion would be abused to discriminate against people. You may mean well, but your idea is a mistake.

    Is it possible people will vote based on shallow reasons? Absolutely, but I prefer that kind of individual decision to yours which will lead to institutional corruption.

    You may have nobility in your mind, but noble virtues are all too often exploited. Which doesn't mean we should never act nobly, but when it's been demonstrated to be flawed, in this case, I'll decline to act on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:12PM (#40405901)

    Describe to me precisely why it's tamper proof. Provide all details. Explain them, including the mathematics. Show you understand everything fully.

    Provide evidence that every voter of average intelligence will also understand it.

    If you can't or they can't, it's asking you to rely on your masters. And that's not democracy.

  • by psiclops ( 1011105 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:26PM (#40406023)

    If you fully prove the same about pen and paper voting then your comment will have some merit.

    you can't - because there's no such thing as a foolproof system - just ones that you don't know how to break yet.

  • Re:Honestly.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psiclops ( 1011105 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:36PM (#40406119)

    if only a certain type of people (in this instance those who care about US history) are allowed to vote then you are no longer representing all of the people, which would be un-democratic.

    Secondly caring about history and current political matters are two very different things. in Australia even some of the the most politicaly active people may not know the first prime minister - because it's not really relevant, and not really taught in schools.

  • by gwolf ( 26339 ) <gwolf.gwolf@org> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:24PM (#40406553) Homepage

    You can explain to anybody with the most basic literacy level how to count the votes at his booth. They will do it once, twice or thirty times â" The results will match. Anybody can understand this happens at every booth, and they can audit it. And everybody will understand that you ad up the results of tens of booths to get a result for the district/electoral college/whatever. And that gets repeated nationwide. And that's it. My 85 year old aunt can act as one of the auditors.
    Try to get her to audit the code for an electronic booth. I won't even start to describe how impossible that is.
    That's the reason that led to Germany's Supreme Court to mandate that e-voting is against the constitution in 2009.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:33PM (#40406609)

    Describe to me precisely why it's tamper proof. Provide all details. Explain them, including the mathematics. Show you understand everything fully.

    Provide evidence that every voter of average intelligence will also understand it.

    If you can't or they can't, it's asking you to rely on your masters. And that's not democracy.

    You're expecting a voter of average intelligence to be able to understand the workings of complex security systems and the mathematics behind cryptography? Haven't you seen the news articles about the results of polls in this country?

    I see the point you're trying to make about democracy, but the voter of average intelligence probably has trouble with some of the points in the constitution too. should we junk that just because it's a little complicated?

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:46PM (#40406679)

    Provide evidence that every voter of average intelligence will also understand it.

    If you can't or they can't, it's asking you to rely on your masters. And that's not democracy.

    No, that's saying people who are stupid, lazy or just don't care have to rely on their masters. That's the way it should be. Part and parcel of democracy is the responsibility of the individual. I may not understand the mathematics behind public key cryptography, but I can understand the general principles. For the hardcore maths, I can ask any mathematician I trust to verify them; I'm not relying on the government telling me they're secure. And the mathematics for these things are available for public scrutiny, which is the important part.

    Besides, I'm not convinced the average voter understands all the complexities of the electoral system they're participating in now anyway.

  • Re:Honestly.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeSigna ( 522207 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:06PM (#40406819)

    Our politics are a bit more modest than the media gala that goes on in the US. There's no parades or huge rallies, just old dudes talking and occasionally going on a shopping centre tour kissing babies and shaking hands.

    What I find interesting is how our mandatory voting affects the polls. We have a lot more swinging voters than hardline idealists and since they're forced to vote, the attitude is they might as well make (at least) a semi-informed decision. I just wish election campaigns weren't epic sledging matches and our politicians would stop throwing their rattles out of the pram.

    I'd be all for electronic voting so I could spend more time at the sausage sizzle on election weekends and less in a queue. It would be great if it increased public participation in policy as well as elections, and if politicians weren't as tightly bound by the parties as they are now and could properly work with their electorate.

  • by rednip ( 186217 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:20PM (#40406885) Journal
    The reason why TARP passed was because without it we would have fallen into the Great Depression II. The real trouble is that the many of the same people who foam at the mouth about TARP are also somehow think that softening the already weak banking regulations more would work as a stimulus. The simple fact is that the Republican House that was elected in the 2010 has worked hard to keep banks 'too big to fail'. Sure to a lessor extent the Dems are also to blame, but I'd argue that it's just political Darwinism, where only the well financed survive.
  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:40PM (#40407049)
    So, instead of considering those who save their money, and would prosper in a recession, we reward those who are in debt, by paying off those debts with inflationary policies.

    You don't have kids, do you? Rewarding bad behavior only results in more bad behavior.
  • by Kreigaffe ( 765218 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @11:08PM (#40407191)

    This is modded funny, but should be modded insightful.

    This is America. Anything that makes it harder to commit election fraud gets colored as disenfranchisement and racist.

    Police aren't allowed at polling places because minorities are scared of them. Meanwhile, the Black Panthers can stand outside polling places with clubs and not a thing is done about it.

    Welcome to America.

  • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:12AM (#40407511)


    Vote buying.

    Right now, if someone "buys" my vote, they have no idea if I actually followed through. Which means vote buying doesn't occur.

    With online voting, they can watch over your shoulder and pay you after you've voted for their preferred candidate.

    No need for expensive campaigns, just hand out cash to enough voters to get elected.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:48AM (#40407799)
    They'd do what they do already: not pass anything we wanted to pass, shovel through the stuff we don't want to pass via loopholes, political tricks, misinformation, and waiting until the fewest possible people are watching.

    Furthermore, if we can't manage to vote twice every year between about 5 candidates (or 2 if you ignore the primaries, which most people do), what makes you think we'll be able to handle voting many more times a year?

    Lastly, I think of myself as better informed and smarter than the average voter, and I don't know if TARP was a good idea or a bad idea. I know most other voters were stronger in their convictions about it than I was, I don't think that means anything though.
  • by Casandro ( 751346 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:48AM (#40407803)

    Electronic Voting cannot be democratic as it doesn't conform to the minimal standards.

    So far nobody has proposed an electronic voting system which can be proven to not be manipulated by anybody. If you need a degree in math to understand how the security works, it may be suitable for an election in the maths department of an university, but it is not suitable for the general population.

    The pen an paper system can be checked by everybody, not just specialists who might fear for their job if they became politically active.

  • by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @02:14AM (#40408327)

    Not until we quit electing lawyers and former lawyers, it won't. :) (Speaking from a US perspective.)
    They're all crooks, but we've managed to elect the entire club of crooks who spend all their time thinking up new ways to stick it to the average citizen.

  • by FearTheDonut ( 2665569 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @09:20AM (#40410413)
    It's the same law which allows some rather obnoxious Tea Party members stand outside polling places shouting about their concerns. Yes, this is America - those laws work for both sides.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer