Breaking News PIL in Delhi High Court:EVMs can be hacked, replace...

PIL in Delhi High Court:EVMs can be hacked, replace it by ballot paper during forthcoming UP elections

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New Delhi, Jul 16 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court Today, adjourned the hearing of a matter seeking to discontinue the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and use the ballot paper instead in any forthcoming elections as the electronic voting machines locked up in store rooms in districts and remote rural locations are not secure, may fall prey to the miscreants.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh adjourned the matter for August 3, 2021, as the Petitioner was facing some connectivity issues.

The Petition filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin (in person) sought directions to the Respondents to stop the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and use ballot paper in all the forthcoming elections. The petitioner alleged that the computers in the Prime Minister’s office and the personal computer of no less than the national security adviser, M.K. Narayanan have been hacked, so there is no guarantee that the EVMs will not be hacked.

Since the electronic voting machines are kept in locked store rooms in districts and remote rural locations, it is very likely that they would not remain secure and what is the guarantee that it will not fall prey to the miscreants?

The Petitioner said that, EVMs can be hacked. It is a threat that is not only in India, but in many other countries, which is why a number of them have banned the voting machines. “EVMs, like all other machines, are prone to errors and malfunctioning. No machine made anywhere in the world is infallible, the petitioner contended.

The Petition stated that the most countries of Europe and North America are getting away from the EVM system. As per an estimate carried across 31 countries of the world, only 4 used it nationwide, 11 used EVMs in some parts or small elections. There are 5 countries using it on a pilot basis, 3 nations have discontinued it and 11 that used it on a pilot basis decided to stop its use.

The Petition further said that, the Supreme Court in the matter of Dr. Subramanian Swamy Versus Election Commission of India in its order on October 08, 2013 gave a specific direction to the election Commission that the “paper trail” should also be used alongwith the EVMs.

Former president of the U.S, Jimmy Carter, and former secretary of state, James Baker III, co-chairs of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, U.S. in their 42 report titled, “Building Confidence in U.S. elections” said, “There is no need to trust the insiders in the election industry anymore than in other industries, such as gambling, where sophisticated insider fraud has occurred despite extraordinary measures to prevent it.”

The most important among the “insiders” in India are the manufacturers of electronic voting machines namely, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL), the Petition said.

The Petitioner submitted that, in order to mitigate these threats, the researchers suggest moving to a voting system that provides greater transparency, such as paper ballots, precinct count optical scan, or a voter verified paper audit trail, since, in any of these systems, skeptical voters could, in principle, observe the physical counting process to gain confidence that the outcome is fair.

The Petitioner further submitted that Electronic Voting Machines (“EVM”), like all other machines, are prone to errors and malfunctioning. It would be right to say that it does not matter by which means the election is conducted but democracy must win in all situations.

The Petitioner said that television channels and print media have time and again questioned the use of EVMs in different states across the country. Experts have alleged that EVMs are not satisfactory for the electoral process of the country.

The Petitioner further said that , according, mainly developed countries are either very small (area wise and population wise) like most of Europe, Japan, South Korea etc. These countries- do not use EVM because the don’t simply have that much of population and the basic need is to conduct an election which has done easily by ballot paper and the votes have counted by Sk-1 Ok people in one single day, and results also declared easily on the same day, so there is no need to use EVM, the petitioner said.

The Petition stated that, according to BBC news, eight years ago University of Michigan scientists connected a home-made device to a machine and were able to change results by sending text messages from a mobile phone. Indian authorities rubbished the claim, saying that even getting hold of machines to tamper with would be very difficult. Experts like Dhiraj Sinha of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believe that hacking tens of thousands of voting machines on a mass scale would require lots of money, involve both those who make the machines and authorities and require the use of a very small receiver circuit with an efficient antenna “which would remain invisible  to the human eye”. To enable wireless hacking, he says, the machine would need to have a radio receiver containing an electronic circuit and an antenna. Authorities claim the Indian machines do not have such a circuit element. In short, carrying out a mass hack would be next to impossible.

The Petitioner states the supremacy of people’s rule is enshrined in the constitution of India, and has withstood the test of time. The people in India surely do not believe in EVMs, due to the lack of transparency and verification methodologies.

The Petitioner state, the issue of Electronic Voting Machines being tampered with in India has been raked up by several political parties. Linked to this debate is the core emotion of democracy – making it no ordinary issue. Naturally, the voices alleging tampering with the very fabric of democracy have instilled a fear even among the common populace.

“The Petitioner said that, Indian EVMs can be hacked both before and after elections to alter election results. Apart from manipulating the EVM software and replacing many hardware parts discussed above, discussions with knowledgeable sources revealed that Indian EVMs can be hacked in many ways. ” Each EVM contains two EEPROMs inside the Control Unit in which the voting data is stored. They are completely unsecured and the data inside EEPROMs 4 can be manipulated from an external source. It is very easy to read (data from) the EEPROMs and manipulate them” the most deadly way to hack Indian EVMs is by inserting a chip with Trojan inside the display section of the Control unit. This requires access to the EVM for just two minutes and these replacement units can be made for a few hundred rupees. Bypassing completely all inbuilt securities, this chip would manipulate the results and give out “fixed” results on the EVM screen. ‘The Election Commission 1s completely oblivious to such possibilities. A demonstration of these vulnerabilities is on the cards”, the Petition reads./ILNS/KR/SNG/

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