Computer scientist Ronald Rivest has said that blockchain is not the right technology to vote, although it may find the right application in a number of other areas.
Rivest gave his opinion at the RSA Security Conference, held earlier this week in San Francisco, reported technology-focused news broadcast ITWire on February. 28. Rivest – who is a cryptography expert and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – called voices an interesting problem that requires a stricter approach compared to many existing security applications. He said:
“Blockchain is the wrong security technology to vote. I like to bring a combination lock to a kitchen fire or something. It is good for certain things in itself, but it is not good to vote. “
According to Rivest, voting is an area that requires no hi-tech to work, and anonymity and secret voting only complicate the audit process. “Blockchain technology really does not fit for a few reasons. One of them is that we have learned that we need software independence,” Rivest said, adding:
“And if you use some technology, use the paper ballots to check it and you can do it very well. We call this software independence, so you don’t have to trust the results because you trust some software. That is a dangerous path to go down if you don’t have to follow that path and with votes we really don’t have to. “
Rivest has elaborated on this and compared blockchain with permanently stored waste. “Once they have had the chance to manipulate your vote, it goes on the blockchain and is never changed again,” he concluded.
Rivest’s speech came on the heels of the Iowa Democratic Caucus scandal, when a mobile software application devised to calculate the total number of votes in the vote was allegedly defective, forcing the Democratic Party to delay its public reporting of the results.
After the event, blockchain-based applications were heavily criticized by regulators, with many political commentators and media analysts opposing mobile and blockchain-based voting technology.
Meanwhile, companies at the forefront of blockchain technology are realizing the potential of the products they develop to not only transform the global economy, but also the way voters cast their vote. Recently, cyber security company Kaspersky Lab unveiled a new type of blockchain-based voting machine using Polys, the system released in November 2017 designed as an effective and secure way to vote online.
Earlier in February, India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the country will soon be able to cast votes outside of their city of registration thanks to a blockchain-based system. With this step the government hopes to increase voter turnout.