Election Commission spurns invitation to see how Indian EVMs are hacked

A cyber expert has promised to demonstrate in London today how Indian Electronic Voting Machines are hackable and have been hacked in recent Indian elections - so as to rig results

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

NH Web Desk

Indian Journalists Association (Europe) in association with Foreign Press Association, London is presenting on Monday a ‘US based cyber expert’ who has promised to demonstrate how elections can be sabotaged through cyber attacks.

The Chief Election Commissioner was extended an invitation to attend the presentation, said sources in the IJA. But till Sunday the hosts had not received any response from the Election Commission of India. The ECI has always maintained that Indian EVMs cannot be hacked. But it is curious why the ECI decided against sending a technical team to London to prove its point. Especially when the cyber expert, whose identity has not been disclosed, has claimed to have been part of the team which designed the Indian EVM and has promised to show proof that some of the past elections in India have been rigged.

Only invited guests will be attending the presentation in London at 12 Noon local time (5.30 pm IST) today (January 21) at the Lutyens and Wedgewood Rooms of The Clubhouse, 8 St James's Square.

The invitation issued by IJA says:

The bedrock of a democracy is free and fair elections. In recent years, as you are aware, legitimacy of elections has been called into question in several major democracies. Possible international interference from remote locations via cyberspace has been suspected and become a matter of concern.

Indian Journalists' Association (Europe) has come into contact with a United States-based cyber expert who promises to demonstrate on record how sabotage of elections through cyber-attacks is possible and how this is being done.

The world's most populous democracy - India - is scheduled to hold a general election in April-May next in which an estimated 900 million people will be eligible to vote. The system of voting in India has long abandoned ballot boxes and switched to Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which have done away with physical counting of votes and are deemed to be efficient, time-saving and infallible.

The cyber expert mentioned is also a designer of EVMs in India. His contention is these machines are not only hackable, but have routinely been hacked in recent Indian national and state elections - so as to rig results.

With the help of EVMs actually used in recent Indian elections, he will, he says, show how these machines have been manipulated; and where exactly elections have been tampered with.

The claim, if correct, could shatter the serenity over election processes; and have international ramifications.

For security reasons, we cannot at present disclose the identity of the cyber expert. He will be fully introduced to attendees at the presentation.

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