By Joseph Marks
A voter wears an “I Voted” sticker while using a mobile phone in San Francisco.
Some states are planning to dramatically expand their use of mobile voting in response to the
Two states will soon announce that they’ll offer voters who have disabilities the option to cast ballots using mobile phones in upcoming primary elections so they don’t have to risk going into polling places, said Sheila Nix, president of Tusk Philanthropies, which is funding the efforts. The option will extend to voters in the military or state residents who are based overseas.
Those states will join West Virginia, which became the first to try statewide mobile voting for military and overseas voters in 2018 and has already announced it will expand to voters with disabilities during its upcoming primary June 9. Nix said she’s also talking with about half a dozen other states about potentially using mobile voting for some residents, which would be a significant expansion
As states scramble to expand voting-by-mail and early-voting
But there have been dire warnings from
The critics’ strongest objection is that, by definition, mobile voting doesn’t produce a paper record that is verified by the voter and that auditors can use to ensure votes were tallied correctly. That’s basically the same problem with the paperless voting machines that state and local election officials have been
There's also no way of ensuring a mobile vote was cast by the person that was supposed to cast it rather than a hacker that compromised the phone. And adding new technology to the voting process also creates other risks, such as that hackers from adversary nations will force mobile networks offline on Election Day or overwhelm them with traffic so voters get frustrated and give up.
“There’s a remarkable consensus among the scientific community that voting on mobile apps just cannot be made secure,” Marian Schneider, president of the voting security group Verified Voting and a former state election official in Pennsylvania, told me. “Election officials are under enormous pressure right now to deliver an election where everyone can vote, but Internet voting is not the solution.”
Even Nix and other mobile-voting supporters acknowledge the systems need to develop better security protections before they're deployed more broadly and say it will be several years before they're ready to be tried across an entire state's population. Tusk also funded security reviews of the major mobile voting vendors that it shared with states and localities and that pointed out some of the security problems with the Voatz system. The companies ShiftState Security and Trail of Bits also vetted the company Democracy Live, which will be used in the West Virginia primary.
But supporters also argue there could be massive benefits
“We still have a lot of work to do from the technology standpoint, but I think five to 10 years from now we’ll in a better place solving a lot of these issues,” Jay Kaplan, a former National Security Agency technologist and co-founder of the
They’re also urging other technologists and election officials to start working on ensuring the systems are
“This technology is going to exist no matter what, so it’s important that we insert security best practices on the front end,” Andre McGregor, a former FBI cyber special agent and chief security officer at ShiftState Security, told me. “[
West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner (R), who’s one of the strongest state-level advocates for mobile voting, also sent a letter March 19 to Defense Secretary Mark Esper urging that the department assist in developing a mobile voting system that could be used by troops stationed abroad and warning that situations similar to the
“If soldiers can bank electronically, shop by internet, and rely on tele-medicine, they should be able to participate in the very
Warner told me mobile voting is “an appropriate place for the federal government to be involved” and said he worried voting by mail is often too costly and burdensome for military voters overseas.
“We should be using the power of today’s technology to make sure democracy can run smoothly,” he said.
PINGED, PATCHED, PWNED
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin walks to a meeting during negotiations on the
The primary challenge is building a portal for millions of Americans who don't already have their bank information on file with the Internal Revenue Service so that they can receive their money. But collecting all that information in one place will be an irresistible draw for hackers, experts tell Tony.
“We can certainly assume this website will be a target that hackers of many stripes and kinds will go after, given the amount of money being discussed here,” Tom Gann, chief public policy officer for the security company McAfee, told Tony.
The IRS also already faces numerous challenges managing its digital infrastructure. The department's inspector general slammed the IRS for its “legacy systems and aged hardware, as well as its use of outdated programming languages” in a September hearing.
Proctors in ProctorU's Hoover, Ala., office watch over students.
Many of the proctor companies retain the rights to reams of students’ personal data including their home addresses, citizenship status, medical records and biometric data, including fingerprints, facial images, voice recordings and “iris or retina scans,” Drew found.
“Students are paying tens of thousands of dollars to have their higher-
The companies all offer similar products that mix human observers with technology and monitor text-takers via webcams. But some students have said they've been falsely flagged for cheating because of innocuous behavior like looking away from the screen to solve a math problem on paper.
Some administrators acknowledge the potential privacy implications. Chris Dayley, the director of academic testing services at Utah State University, described Proctorio as a “sort of like spyware that we just legitimize.”
Zoom in Manchester, England.
There’s no evidence hackers have actually exploited the bugs and they would need to physically access a user's computer for both attacks. But, once they do, they could install any assortment of malware and spyware, researcher Patrick Wardle says.
“If you care about your security and privacy, perhaps stop using Zoom,” Wardle told Zack.
Zoom did not respond to TechCrunch's request for comment and has yet to issue a fix, Zack reports.
PRIVATE KEY— The number of phishing attacks targeting Netflix users has doubled during the
WILD WILD WEST—
CyberHubUSA is hosting a free virualsummit: Security During Social Distancing on Thursday. You can register here.