EC’s hack EVM challenge to political parties from June 3

EC’s hack EVM challenge to political parties from June 3

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 May 2017 08:00:55


All recognised political parties who contested Assembly elections in five States recently can take part in challenge

Parties will be given four hours to demonstrate their claims

Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to have VPAT facilities

RESPONDING to sustained campaign on the alleged possibility of “tampering and hacking” of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission on Saturday threw an open challenge to all the recognised national and state parties to “demonstrate” and have a try at the same at various sessions beginning June 3.

“The challenge will be confined to all national and state recognised political parties who contested the Assembly elections in five States recently. The EC invites nominees of such parties to demonstrate their claims at the Commission headquarters within a framework of the administrative and security protocols prescribed by the Commission,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told a crowded press conference here.

The “challenges” will be two-fold, he said adding under the first, the “claimants will have to alter the results in the control units used during these polls” either by using combination of CU or BU keys or the both or via use of wireless, bluetooth, mobile phone, etc.

Political parties — especially Mayawati-led BSP and Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP had “co tested and claimed” that the EVMs held under the ownership of EC and used in recent elections in UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand in February-March 2017 polls were “tampered or these could be tampered”.

Under the second challenge, Dr Zaidi said, it was alleged that EVMs used were tampered before or during the poll day and added, hence “the claimants will have to alter the results in the EVMs used during these polls. Each political parties will be given four hours time to demonstrate their claims. The CEC made it clear that while the credibility of the Commission was important, the EC was not making the challenge any prestige issue.

“It is not a prestige issue or an issue of winning or losing. We want to use the occasion as a learning process,” he said adding, “The Election Commission will not, however, allow even a shade of doubt” on its credibility and transparency.
He asserted that the EVMs used in India are “not hackable” as these are “stand alone” machines and cannot be connected to the Internet or any other network.

Seeking to put at rest various issues raised by a section of political parties, Dr Zaidi maintained that while any manipulation at manufacturing stage is ruled out as there is “very stringent security protocol”, the results of the elections cannot be altered by activating a Trojan Horse also because the virus “cannot be inserted into the software code of the ECI-EVM burnt into the Microcontroller Chip since the chip is one time programme only”.

Turning on the challenges, the CEC said parties can select four machines from four polling stations in either of the five States from any polling station where the polls were held in February-March. And each of these parties can nominate three authorised persons for trying at these machines.
However, answering questions, Dr Zaidi said the persons or experts nominated by political parties for the challenge ought to be Indians.

He said the Commission is confident about the credibility of the system and efficacy of the EVMs as “the basis of confidence of the EC flows from a wide range of technical and administrative protocols”.