EVT/WOTE videos (mostly) up

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I've held off on writing much about EVT/WOTE because I've been waiting for the A/V recordings to be posted. Most of them are up now, including an unfortunately partial recording of the most dramatic part of the conference, the panel on Indian EVMs. (There's some other good stuff like the rump session that's not up or only partially up.)

As background, Indian elections are conducted on a relatively simple hardware-based DRE machine, I.e., a small handset with buttons for each candidate; votes are recorded in memory and then totals read out on a control module. Hari Prasad, Alex Halderman, Rop Gonggrijp, Scott Wolchock, Eric Wustrow, Arun Kankipati, Sal Sakhamuri, and Vasavya Yagati got ahold of one of the machines and managed to demonstrate some attacks on it (see their analysis here). This naturally provoked a lot of controversy, and we decided this made a good topic for a panel. The panelists were:

  • P.V. Indiresan, Former Director, IIT-Madras
  • G.V.L Narasimha Rao, Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency, and Accountability in Elections, VeTA
  • Alok Shukla, Election Commission of India
  • J. Alex Halderman, University of Michigan

Unsurprisingly, the panel was extremely contentious, with Joseph Lorenzo Hall doing a great job of keeping the various strong personalities to the agreed upon format. It's definitely worth watching for yourself: we have complete audio and video for the last hour or so.

You may have heard that Hari Prasad has been arrested. This has obviously raised some very strong feelings, but I don't think it really bears one way or another on the arguments about whether EVMs are a good choice or not. The issues here aren't really that technical; the attacks reported by Prasad at all are straightforward, as are the attacks that the representatives of the Election Commission of India report were common on paper ballot systems before the introduction of EVMs. It's definitely worth watching/listening to this panel and making your own assessment.

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