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India arrests hacker who exposed electoral fraud

Protecting corruption wherever it is found
Mon Aug 23 2010, 09:59

HACKERS WHO PROVE how India's corrupt politicians use electronic voting systems to get elected can expect to be arrested.

While many countries would have praised Hari Prasad for exposing a weakeness in a computerised voting system that allows corrupt politicians to steal votes, it seems that India takes a rather dim view of it.

Inspector Knacker of the Maharashtra Yard showed up at Prasad's house and arrested him on the somewhat flimsy charge of theft of an electronic voting machine (EVM). The machine was used in a vulnerability demonstration by Hari Prasad and a team of security researchers that included Alex Halderman, professor of computer science at the University of Michigan and Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher from the Netherlands, along with a team of their colleagues.

Earlier coppers had gone to Hyderabad in the first week of August and taken a statement from Prasad about the EVM used for exposing the vulnerability. They had asked him to show up in Mumbai for further questioning. Hari Prasad could not go as he was busy so the Indian plod arrested him.

The voting machine vulnerability exposed by Prasad has made idiots out of the Election Commission of India (ECI). It has been pushing the use of EVMs at all costs and has been telling the world plus dog that they are "totally tamper proof, perfect, fail safe and requiring no improvement".

Prasad had agreed to meet the Commission's challenge to demonstrate how easy it was to hack the EVMs, but the Commission backed out so Prasad did it on a machine that was provided by an anonymous source. This is exactly the same method as is used by the media where public interest is paramount, and the fact that Prasad refused to tell the coppers where he got the machine seems to have been the reason for his arrest.

There is a move within India to ban the electronic voting machines. More than three political parties had written to the ECI in April expressing concerns about the reliability of EVMs and urging the ECI to organize an all-party meeting. According to an Indian EVM blog the Commission has ignored them. µ

 

 

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