Don’t hack my vote! Get hands on with election security at South by Southwest

Free & Fair will be joining The Christian Science Monitor’s Passcode division and Wombat Security Technologies during the annual conference & festival that celebrates the convergence of the technology, film, and music industries. Free & Fair team members will be on hand at the CSM-Passcode/Wombat booth from Sunday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 14.

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Blockchains and elections

As people and companies seek new ways to conduct elections that make better sense in our high tech world, several startups have proposed using blockchains, or even Bitcoin itself, to conduct elections. Using Bitcoin (or a blockchain) as an election system is a bad idea that really doesn’t make sense. While blockchains can be useful in the election process, they are only appropriate for use in one small part of a larger election system.

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A path to public confidence in elections

The path to provably secure, high assurance, open source election systems capable of protecting elections and providing such certainty may seem daunting. However, the process of achieving that goal can be broken down into a series of useful, common sense steps, each of which positively affects current election systems and processes. We consider these steps in three phases, starting with the most basic and building to fully trustworthy and transparent systems and vendor relations.

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What is high assurance?

The most critical software and hardware systems go beyond evaluation and certification to provide guarantees and mathematical evidence that they will function exactly as intended at all times.

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Open source and elections

Open Source Software (OSS) is computer software whose source code is made freely available to anyone who wants to use, study, modify, enhance or re-distribute it for any reason. OSS is a fundamentally collaborative concept that seeks to harness the expertise of worldwide developers in order to achieve a polished, correct, and secure product.

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The advantages of COTS hardware

Elections software that only operates on proprietary hardware makes it impossible for a jurisdiction to change vendors without replacing their entire voting system and puts the jurisdiction at the mercy of a single vendor with respect to upgrade and maintenance pricing.

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