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US scientists say no to blockchain-based voting


A United States association of scientists has written a letter to governors, secretaries of state, and state election directors asking them to don't vote on the blockchain.

The sender of this letter is the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an association whose mission is "Advance science, engineering and innovation around the world for the benefit of all people."

The United States is going through a delicate political period: the presidential elections will be held in November 2020. Meanwhile, the primaries of the Democratic Party are underway to choose who will challenge Donald Trump. The Coronavirus has entered this scenario, with the restrictions that are affecting the current electoral campaign. If the emergency does not end, the vote may also be affected.

It is enough to remember that Italy, which was one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, has already postponed both a constitutional referendum scheduled for the end of March and the regional and local elections scheduled for May.

To get around the problem of organizing the electoral process, one of the possible solutions could be online voting. But this prospect does not convince AAAS scientists at all.

In their letter they write explicitly

"Right now, Internet voting is not a safe solution to voting in the United States, nor will it be for the foreseeable future."

Reason why American scientists say no to blockchain-based voting

Scientists fear not only vote tampering, but also possible DOS attacks, malware, invasion of privacy. That's why his advice is not to favor the use of online voting, but to prefer voting by mail or early voting to ensure safety, precision and protection at a time when American voters are struggling with the pandemic. of Coronavirus.

Their doubts have not been allayed by the use of a blockchain-based voting system. They declare:

"If a blockchain architecture is used, serious questions arise about what content is stored in it, how the blockchain is decrypted for public access, and how votes are ultimately transferred to some kind of durable paper record."

His verdict is clear:

"Blockchain systems do not address the fundamental problems with internet voting."

If anything, blockchain-based voting seems to be even more feared. In fact, according to a report cited in the letter, using blockchain technology as a voting system would increase the risk of attacks by "malicious actors."

At this point, experts analyze an application that allows voting on the blockchain, Voatz , which was already the focus of analysis at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Experts who studied the app reportedly identified various vulnerabilities starting with the privacy breach. But not only that, the risk inherent in the application is also the one that could control the result of an election. Furthermore, no one guarantees that the vote will be kept secret and safe from attack.

The other serious problem that AAAS scientists point to when referring to the MIT report on Voatz, is that confidential data is required to register on the platform. This would expose voters to the risk of identity theft and could ultimately be a danger to national security.

Their conclusion is that elections must be guaranteed for all, despite Covid-19. That is why it is essential to use alternative methods that are not done through the Internet or applications. Not through blockchain.

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