Experts: Oscars online vote will be vulnerable

The 84th Academy Awards are just around the corner, this will be the last year before the vote switches to electronic ballots in 2013. But experts have warned the switch will not lessen the risk of foul play.

Are electronic ballots a good idea for the Oscars?

Since the first Academy Awards in 1929, votes have been sent through the post. However thanks to their partnership with the company Everyone Counts, who develop software for internet elections, the Academy have decided to move their voting ballots to the web.

The move is intended to make it easier for members to vote. This way they can submit their electronic ballots wherever they are in the world.

Now ignoring the obvious point that many of the older members might not even have an email address, let alone know how to use an online voting system, computer security experts have warned that the new system will be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Everyone Counts claim that their “multiple layers of security” and “military-grade encryption techniques” help keep voting honest and protected from less noble members of society. So naturally there has been deep scepticism from members of the computer sciences community.

“Everybody would like there to be secure internet voting, but some very smart people … can’t figure out how to do it,” said professor of computer science at Stanford University, David Dill, the founder of Verified Voting.

“If someone casts a ballot for best actor A and the vote is recorded for best actor B, the voter has no way of knowing the ballot has been altered, and the auditor won’t be able to see it either.”

Government elections do not allow online voting for this very reason, and while the Oscars do not hold the same significance, the Academy has prided itself on the secrecy of its voting for the last 80 years.

The 84th Academy Awards is to be held on 26th February 2012. Hugo, The Artist, War Horse, Moneyball, The Help, The Descendants, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close will fight it out for Best Picture.

What do you think? Will the votes be tampered with next year?

 

 

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