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

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Fri Jul 30 14:59:34 AEST 2010

Well, if we're talking electoral processes, I've always held that people 
need to understand every stage of the process, or they're being denied 
full participation in the process.

If you get half of a dozen people talking about electronic security, 
authentication, verification and so on - you will end up with a host of 
different opinions, some mutually exclusive. All will be out of reach of 
the average punter, and much of the information will be beyond all but 
information security experts.

Here's where I keep finding myself at odds with the "digital elites" 
(TM, Stilgherrian) - the average voter has no hope of understand any of 
the processes between vote and count in an electronic system. The voter 
can understand (and take part in) all the processes in a paper voting 
system. So you would need really good evidence that "something is 
desperately wrong with the electoral system" to justify a change.

As to the question of electronic signatures: if I am told to replace my 
physical signature with an electronic one to conduct a transaction, I 
suffer the same loss of comprehension. I'm excluded from the process by 
the technology. That probably helps make people feel powerless and 
disassociated (and, when you include the regular scare-stories on 
evening current affairs shows about identity theft, it also makes them 


Stephen Wilson wrote:
> Kim Holburn wrote:
>> On 2010/Jul/30, at 9:31 AM, Stephen Wilson wrote:
>>> Digital signatures need not be any any more complex than credit  
>>> cards or electronic bus tickets.
>> True and they would not be any more secure than bus tickets either.   
>> To be secure, digital signatures need a user's understanding of the  
>> principles.  Not going to happen soon.
> Kim, which principles do they need to understand?  I have some theories 
> about the attempted over-education of public key cryptography that 
> bedevilled PKI uptake, but maybe you're thinking of other factors, like 
> legal principles?
> Cheers,
> Steve Wilson
> Lockstep Group
> www.lockstep.com.au
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