Hacking EVM? It is not doable

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Ever since Electronic Voting Machines have been introduced there have been apprehensions that such device can be helpful to a particular party and can be tampered /hacked accordingly.  The unawareness of general masses and particularly voters about this electronic device aggravated the issue. The election commission of India has started various awareness program particularly SVEEP for educating people about participation in voting and awareness about the EVM.

Here’s a brief explanation

  • It is not machine which becomes corrupt it is corrupt human which makes machine corrupt.
  • EVM can not be hacked.
  • Tampering by human is ruled out by fool proof security features of EVM and safe custody of EVMs and check, recheck and cross check at every chain of custody with further checks and balances under close observations/monitoring of ECI.
  • In order to dispel the misgivings vis-a-vis EVM it is necessary to briefly understand the components of EVM in a layman’s language.

EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) consists of two parts (Units):-

  1. Ballot Unit: –

It has a button against each candidate name and respective symbol. It facilitates voting by a voter through this labeled button. It is connected with another unit–control unit through cable.

  1. Control unit:

It controls ballot unit; stores vote counts and displays result on LED display. It has 6 volt battery. It has its one time operating programme (OTP) which can not be changed. It is also known as Brain of the EVM.

It is pertinent to mention here that only two PSUS make EVMs –Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) – Electronic Corporation of India (ECIL).

The EVM is specially designed with following security features for ensuring transparency and dispelling the apprehensions of any tampering/fiddling.

  1. EVM used here is a machine and not a computer peripheral. Every computer may be a machine but every machine may not be a computer.
  2. It is an offline standalone machine with no connectivity like WiFi, LiFi, and Bluetooth etc and thus can not communicate with any other device so question of hacking does not arise.
  3. The operating programme OTP is permanently etched on silicon chip at the time of manufacturing and can not be changed at all even by the manufacturer.
  4. EVM functions on the principle of “One person one vote” i.e a) It is not possible to vote more than once by pressing a button again and again. b) On one pressing of button, vote is recorded and machine gets locked.
  5. To ensure more transparency one more device has been connected i.e VVPAT (Voters verifiable paper audit trail) which gives feedback/Verifications to the voter that the vote goes to the correct candidate thus it is the second line of verifications to satisfy that EVM is not tampered. Even counting through VVPAT can clear doubts if any at the time of counting.
  6. EVM tracking software/encryption technology have made it more tampering proof.

 

Author is Senior Superintendent of Police in Jammu and Kashmir

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