Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GVLN Rao Blog » Blog Archive » EVMs can be manipulated in elections: Election Commission

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    narasimha row
    • G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, 45, is a leading election analyst and a political commentator in India.
    • The Election Commission of India has made an amazing confession: that the security and integrity of the entire election system will be compromised if the EVM software and the hardware design becomes known.
    • The above revelation was made by the Election Commission in a letter dated March 30, 2010 to V.V. Rao, petitioner in the Supreme Court on the EVMs. I quote below:

      ”…The Commission is concerned that commercial interests could use the route of reverse engineering (a process by which the original software and hardware configuration can be accessed) which may compromise the security and sanctity of the entire election system.”

      “…It is once again made clear that any demonstration of alleged tamperability cannot include reverse-engineering as it compromises security and sanctity of the entire election system.”

    • This statement of the Election Commission raises several questions that impinge on India’s electoral democracy.

      1. Why has the Election Commission repeatedly misled the nation so far repeatedly claiming that its EVMs are tamper proof and unriggable?

      2. Given that for a reverse engineering operation, one requires access to only a single machine of each make/ model (there are only four models in use), what is the guarantee that people have not gained unauthorized access to EVMs? Over 13 Lakh EVMs are lying all over the country in the districts and it is easy and simple to get a few of them.

      3. Manufacturers, software programme developers, other employees, private foreign companies involved in software fusing etc. have access to the machine software and hardware specifications. What is the guarantee that they have not used such knowledge to “fix” elections in the country? In the light of the ground level reports that such insidious operatives are at work, isn’t it silly to make such assumptions? (Refer my book “Democracy at Risk: Can we trust our EVMs?” for vivid accounts of such murky operations.)

    • 5. Why has the Election Commission chosen to blindly trust the EVM manufacturers when it has a splendid record in taking officials involved in elections to task for even minor aberrations? Is it its helplessness or lack of technical familiarity that made it blindly trust the manufacturing PSUs?

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