[LINK] Electronic witnessing [was: High Court case Re: Register Online to Vote Should be LLegal]

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Fri Jul 30 09:31:59 AEST 2010

Tom Worthington wrote:
> Courts seem to have avoided the issue of technical standards for 
> electronic documents by simply accepting documents which look like a 
> paper document when printed out.
> Given that no one at the AEC is checking the signatures on the paper 
> documents they get, there seems little point in creating a complex 
> system of multiple digital signatures for the electronic equivalent. 
> There would be some simple authentication which could be applied and 
> which would be as good as a "signature" (which no one ever checks), 
> without the complexity of digital signatures.
Tom, you seem to be advocating no extra investment in security?  The 
courts are actually being forced to sharpen their attention, by cases 
such as the tampering with electronic evidence in a court database by a 
'hacker' on behalf of an accused person (I'll try to dig out the 
reference if Linkers are interested). 

The AEC might not check handwritten signatures routinely, but I bet they 
dig them out when it comes to investigating electoral fraud, and then 
the witness signature and details will indeed be followed up.  Philip 
Argy's point was that there is no accepted way to even invoke an 
'electronic witness' much less create enough forensic certainty to 
support AEC investigation.

Digital signatures need not be any any more complex than credit cards or 
electronic bus tickets. 

Surely if we don't do something serious now about e-authentication, then 
e-voting when it becomes widespread in coming years will be vulnerable 
to rorting, which would set back the cause dramatically.



Stephen Wilson
Managing Director
Lockstep Group

Phone +61 (0)414 488 851

www.lockstep.com.au <http://www.lockstep.com.au>
Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and analysis
on digital identity and privacy.  Lockstep Technologies develops unique
new smart ID solutions that enhance privacy and prevent identity theft.

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