[Privsec] e-vote privacy and security theme

Ginger Paque ginger at paque.net
Wed Mar 29 17:32:45 BST 2006

Hi everybody,

Here is the e-voting theme with a little more information so a discussion can resolve whether it should be included.  It would help me learn how to work more effectively if the discussion takes place on the mailing list, where I can observe the process and understand the reasoning behind the logic. If you more experienced actors don't teach us novices, who will?

Sorry to be trying your patience, but I do appreciate it. Thanks again.
Saludos, Ginger

a.  A concise formulation for the proposed theme
E-voting technologies  must be examined to ensure that they do not threaten the right to vote through violations of privacy  and security which erode voter confidence in the confidentiality of the vote.

b.  A brief description of why it is important
Electronic voting and identification systems may help more people exercise their right to vote. But the potential for manipulation and invasion are frightening.

All voting processes, manual or electronic, are subject to error, to omission, to physical and training problems. Electronic voting adds the issue of vulnerability to manipulation through software particularly if
there is not a verifiable paper backup.

Computer hackers have every conceivable motivation, many times incomprehensible to most of us. But without a doubt, the stakes in an election are high enough that there most probably will be attempts to
manipulate the results. There must be an international certification process for electronic voting machine and software manufacturers to oversee these processes and ensure that all possible efforts are made to
avoid tampering.

The collection and use of voter information is a privacy issue which seriously affects the right to vote. A voter who is not confident that their vote will be secret and is afraid of retribution related to their political stance may well be affected in their decision of whether to vote and how to vote. If voter ID information is collected in a serial manner parallel to the serial vote tabulation, it is conceivable that the individual vote could be deciphered and recorded. Collected information must not be published on the Internet for the purpose of discrimination based on political views.

 If there is not voter confidence in the electoral process, there is no exercise of the right to vote.

Proper protection of the right to vote will also support the right to access, which is eroded and endangered where there is not a properly elected government.

 c.  How it is in conformity with the Tunis Agenda  in terms of substance, particularly in reference to para. 34 to 54;

>From the Tunis Agenda:

1.          We recognize that it is now time to move from principles to action, considering the work already being done in implementing the Geneva Plan of Action and identifying those areas where progress has been made, is being made, or has not taken place.

42.        We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom to seek, receive, impart and use information, in particular, for the creation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. We affirm that measures undertaken to ensure Internet stability and security, to fight cybercrime and to counter spam, must protect and respect the provisions for privacy and freedom of expression as contained in the relevant parts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Declaration of Principles.

84.        Governments and other stakeholders should identify those areas where further effort and resources are required, and jointly identify, and where appropriate develop, implementation strategies, mechanisms and processes for WSIS outcomes at international, regional, national and local levels, paying particular attention to people and groups that are still marginalized in their access to, and utilization of, ICTs. 

The Tunis Commitment:

2.         We reaffirm our desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and multilateralism, and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that people everywhere can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, to achieve their full potential and to attain the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. 

3.         We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that democracy, sustainable development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen respect for the rule of law in international as in national affairs.

5.          The Tunis Summit represents a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can bring to humanity and the manner in which they can transform people's activities, interaction and lives, and thus increase confidence in the future. 

d.  How does this fit within the mandate of the IGF as detailed in para 72;

(i) "Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet Governance processes."  

e. Who are the main actors in the field, who could be encouraged to participate in the Forum and its thematic sessions?

More committed actors need to be contacted and included in the process, since it has not yet been addressed. This is a reason to give the issue priority, not a reason to "leave it for later". These are some organizations that are interested in e-voting issues:



International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications (IWGDPT) (see <http://www.datenschutz-berlin.de/doc/int/iwgdpt/evoting_2_en.pdf>)

Council of Europe (CoE)

ESF: European Science Foundation (ESF) within the project TED: Towards Electronic Democracy

International Federation of Integrated Processing Working Group 8.5 Information Systems in Public Administration

Election Protection Coalition

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Verified Voting

f. Why should this issue should be addressed in the first annual meeting of the Forum rather  than in subsequent ones?

Since this issue has not yet been seriously addressed, it needs the priority of prompt inclusion in order to keep pace with today's elections, events and technologies. We need to start the process immediately or risk worsening the situation through neglect.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robert Guerra 
  To: Ginger Paque 
  Cc: Privacy Security WG 
  Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 12:26 PM
  Subject: Re: [Privsec] e-vote continued


  I've had a few people react negatively to your proposal. People think
  it's more an Information society issue, but not in the specific scope of
  the IG discussions.

  To help answer the critics, i'd ask that you please detail on how
  e-voting fits with the framework of the IG section of the Tunis agenda.



  Ginger Paque wrote:
  > Ralf, (and everybody)
  > Thanks so much. I do appreciate your patience with my inexperience and
  > ignorance. I will work with Robert on shaping up this theme proposal.
  > Could this issue be called Privacy and Security of e-Voting, not just
  > privacy, so that it includes transparency and integrity of the voting
  > process as well?
  > Saludos,
  > Ginger

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