‘I-voting solution for overseas Pakistanis is outdated’ says an audit firm
PAKISTAN’S existing internet voting solution for its overseas nationals does not fulfil the constitutional requirements of vote secrecy, a report found.
Spanish audit firm Minsait said neither voters nor the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would have any guarantee that the results obtained from the system represented choices made by voters.
A third-party audit was done on behalf of the government by Minsait which looked at the implementation of internet voting for overseas Pakistanis, The News said.
In a 231-page report, recently submitted to the government, the audit firm “strongly recommended” that the existing system be upgraded prior to being used in any election.
It warned that the technologies included by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) are outdated and vulnerable and could be exploited by attackers.
“I-voting would remain a risky affair even if the present system is improved. The resulting system would probably be more resilient than the current one, but would still fail to give all the guarantees that voters and candidates deserve,” the audit report said.
It raised concerns about the protection of internet voting from external and internal attacks – for example, by hackers or system administrators.
“Minsait has done the best possible effort to analyse the situation of the existing i-voting system. Nadra and the ECP provided the information requested, but more detailed documentation would have helped understanding the system better,” said the report.
The report highlighted that in the present i-voting system for overseas Pakistanis, voters have no way of verifying that their vote was cast as intended, recorded as cast or counted as recorded. It added that voter privacy can be broken at several points in the system.