back to article Police extend detention of e-voting critic

A computer scientist who exposed serious vulnerabilities in India's electronic voting machines will remain in police custody until at least Saturday, seven days after he was arrested, news websites reported. A metropolitan court magistrate in Mumbai on Thursday denied a motion to release Hari Prasad on bail before August 28. …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    WHERE, exactly is the conspiracy?

    Sounds to me like the government in question is conspiring to hide the fact that their vaunted e-voting system is subject to fraud.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The problem is likely to be that this has made some high ranking election official look like a berk.

      I suspect someone signed a paper saying the machines were really secure, safe and tamper proof, and the idiot who signed it is looking for someone to blame.

      India has its share of incompetent jobsworths hoping to keep hold of their job, just like everywere else.

    2. Martijn Bakker
      Thumb Up

      On the contrary..

      Surely, even India knows of the Streisand effect by now?

      As a more or less scientific argument by a small pressure group, this would hardly have made the headlines. This wouldn't have gotten half the publicity it deserves if some helpful soul at the justice department hadn't decided to help these people reach a broader audience.

      Either this was a brilliant move by a well meaning civil servant.. or a piece of numbskullery of the higest order from a retarded office drone.

      Okay.. the odds are against me.. but somehow I want to believe this was a case of the former.

  2. Lou Gosselin

    Wikileaks anyone?

    Hate to say it, but it's government behavior like this which legitimize wikileaks.

    As much as they'd like to misdirect blame onto those who uncover the bug, there's no getting around the fact that those who implemented the technology are really at fault.

    The government are also at fault for claiming the devices were totally secure in the first place without due diligence.

  3. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    And the moral of this tale...

    ... is don't embarrass the authorities...

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Don't they know .... you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, even with binary*

    "“This is a very sensitive case with repercussions at the national level and police should be given time,” Magistrate V B Srikhande said in court on Thursday, .."

    Actually, it has repercussions at the international level as it reveals that elections using such machines are easily rigged, and that is bound to be known by manufacturers/wholesalers and is most probably their secret weapon of mass destruction of democracy selling point.

    Roll up, roll up, get your guaranteed fascist dictatorship virtual machine, right here.

    * But you can obviously try.

  5. Mike Morris

    Just because we say so

    Saying the sky is green doesn't make it so. Denying even the possibility of failure insures it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back to the simple stuff

    I've got no objections to e-voting, it seems to make sense as long as we have confidence that it works and is verifiable. The last bit seems to be the problem (hello George W!) and a bit of good old fashioned dot-matrix, fanfold paper that would hopefully never need to be looked at seems to be a reasonable and cheap backup.

    1. A J Stiles

      I have

      If you've really got no objections to e-voting, then you haven't thought about it enough.

  7. Christoph

    Discrediting the election process

    "We are conducting a thorough probe ... whether there is a conspiracy to discredit India's election process"

    Yes guys, there is someone discrediting India's election process. Very, very badly. It's YOU for arresting him.

  8. Cameron Colley

    Yet another shithole dictatorship.

    When will the wankers in charge of these countries* realise that, generally, countries gain wealth by being free not by being fucked by the government?

    *luckily the UK, where I reside, is just escaping being one.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What's that, Big Ted?

    Judiciary attempting to uphold the status quo?

    Well I never!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's your proof

    that the officials, and apparently not just the election committee officials, are unfit for service. QED.

    I call again for their wholesale dismissal and blackballing from government service. Nothing less will do.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    What crime?

    What crime is he alleged to have committed, to justify his arrest?

    Clearly the authorities in India are letting it be known that it is a crime to reveal that government implemented, and hence approved, e-voting systems are vulnerable to manipulation.

    It's the one with the sysadm's access card in the pocket.

  12. A J Stiles

    No, paper trails do not work

    Paper trails *do* *not* *work*, and won't solve the problem. The problem is that you are counting a *copy* of the vote, which cannot be proved to be accurate.

    In a traditional pen-and-paper election, voter anonymity comes from the fact that all ballot papers are mutually indistinguible before they are marked; integrity of counting comes from the adversarial relationship between the parties involved (candidates and their representatives do the counting, none of them trust any of the others, so the only way they can agree on a result is if it's correct); and unalterability comes from the fact that the *actual* ballot papers are counted (there is no copying involved).

    The only way I can think of to mechanise the process without involving any copying is to use as the replacement for the "ballot paper" a quantity of stored energy, delivered under the control of the presiding officer; which is then used, under the control of the voter, to initiate one of a set of different possible actions per candidate.

    1. Basic


      I understand what you're saying but surely the answer should be that the voter makes a mark on a paper ballot which is then inserted into a machine for counting - so you merely automate the counting process not the input process?

      1. A J Stiles


        "[T]he voter makes a mark on a paper ballot which is then inserted into a machine for counting - so you merely automate the counting process not the input process" -- no. A machine which counts marks on paper is still making a copy.

        Rather, I'm thinking in terms of using the energy stored in a charged capacitor or wound spring to advance one of a set of counters. Once the capacitor is discharged or the spring is unwound, it is then impossible to cast another vote until the machine is reset by the presiding officer.

        What this is actually equivalent to, is not "inserting ballot papers marked in one of a finite number of ways into a common slot", but "inserting unmarked ballot papers into one of several different slots".

  13. Tom 13

    Dear Indian Magistrate:

    It is already too late, your election process has been irrevocably determined to be susceptible to fraud. Holding the guy who disclosed this in jail will not make your election process less susceptible to fraud. It will make both your citizens and the citizens of other countries more suspicious of the corruption levels within your country. While you are correct that this is a highly sensitive matter, you seem to be engaging in Bizarro world logic and further irritating that sensitivity. Let the whistleblower out of the clink and resolve the matter in open debate.


  14. TkH11


    I don't have much confidence in the Indian judicial system!

    They've had in in a cell for a week, have they actually charged him with a crime yet?

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