While certain parties in the United States continue to question the integrity of the electoral process, A group of researchers speaks out against the use of blockchain and internet-based voting systems in the future.
According to a November 16 report by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Relying on blockchain-based voting technology is not a reliable means of promoting higher participation and can increase the risk of hackers manipulating elections.
The Sunoo Park Cybersecurity Team, Michael Specter, Neha Narula and Ronald L. Rivest concluded that blockchain technology was “unsuitable for political elections in the near future” compared to software-independent methods that include in-person and mail-in voting. Some of the concerns they raised were the possible lack of secrecy of the votes, which can be traced in the blockchain, and the lack of verification in the event of a controversial competition.
“While current electoral systems are far from perfect, a blockchain would significantly increase the risk of undetectable election failure at the national level.” said Rivest, an MIT professor and lead author on the report. “An increase in the turnout would mean the loss of a substantial guarantee that the votes were counted when they were cast.”
The researcher continued:
“I haven’t seen a blockchain system that I would trust a candy count, let alone a presidential election.”
The team argues that One of the main differences in using blockchain technology for a democratic process like voting against financial transactions is that in the event of attack or fraud, financial institutions sometimes have methods to compensate victims for their losses. Credit card companies can refund money, and even some crypto exchanges have been able to freeze tokens associated with a hack.
“For the elections there can be no insurance or recourse against a failure of democracy,” indicates the report. “There is no way to make voters healthy again after a compromised election.”
Blockchain-based voting According to the MIT team, it also offers “fatal error” opportunities. For example, if hackers could find a way to attack the voices without getting caught, the authorities would essentially have to run an entirely new election to get reliable results. A blockchain-based voting system with a single point of attack could offer hackers the ability to change or remove millions of votes, while “destroying a mail-in ballot generally requires physical access”.
Many countries are trying to integrate blockchain technology further into the voting process after small implementations. According to reports Russia’s blockchain-based voting system during Vladimir Putin’s tenure did not allow secret voting. as users and third parties were able to decipher the votes before the official count.
In February, another team at MIT, including researcher Michael Specter, released a report identified the security flaws in the blockchain-based voting application, Voatz. However, both the Democratic and Republican parties took advantage of the Request for voting at congresses In the run-up to this year’s general election, Utah reportedly allowed certain residents to cast Voatz in the presidential election.
“Democracy and the approval of the governed cannot depend on whether any software has correctly recorded the election of the voters”, Said Rivest.
Cointelegraph reached out to Voatz to comment on the matter, but no response was received at the time of this writing.