Is Brazil, which national motto is “Order and Progress”, too careless in ignoring the stern advice of cyber security specialists against their full commitment to electronic voting?
ArsTechnica reports in In a blow to e-voting critics, Brazil suspends use of all paper ballots that:
- Brazil’s Supreme Court has suspended the use of all paper ballots in this year’s upcoming elections. As such, only electronic ballot boxes will be used;
- There are beliefs and even a religion around the theme of e-voting, according to a Brazilian Supreme Court Justice;
- The decision came three months after a team of computer scientists published a research paper that reported a litany of serious technical flaws in Brazil’s current electronic voting system – which is implied to have been disregarded; and
- One of the coauthors of the research paper stated:
Today marks a sad ending to 6 years of hard work to prove our voting system is insecure. I decided to become a scientist with the firm belief that science can change and improve society and the world around us, but maybe I was too naive to think this was possible in Brazil. Diego F. Aranha (@dfaranha) June 6, 2018
The Brazilian decision goes against the curbing of e-voting programs in other countries over cyber security and legal concerns, such as:
- The Netherlands and Germany, which I commented on last year in A vote of no-confidence in e-voting; and
- France, which dropped last year the option for internet voting solution for citizens living abroad.
Brazil is taking a risk. I wonder about the extent to which the Brazilian Supreme Court has assessed the risk of fraud and how the risk compares to the desired benefits and opportunities of e-voting, which I discussed in e-voting: cyber risks & e-democracy opportunities.
Brazil is making a courageous, a bold and a risky move. Risks are necessary for progress. To the point of the Brazilian national motto (“Ordem e Progresso” – Order & Progress), I hope the risk will be managed with order and bring the desired progress.