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India arrests computer scientist

E-voting machine security loophole

India's Election Commission has always been insisting that its electronic voting machines are tamper-proof. However, when proved otherwise, Indian authorities seem to be 'shooting the messenger'.

Reports say that Mumbai police have arrested an Indian computer scientist after he exposed a security loophole in India's electronic voting machine.

A report appeared on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that Hari Prasad, MD of Indian R&D firm Netindia Ltd., was arrested this weekend when he refused to disclose an anonymous source who provided an electronic voting machine to a team of security researchers led by him, University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman and others.

In 2009, the Election Commission had publicly challenged Prasad to show that India's voting machines could be compromised, without giving him access to the machines.

But when earlier this year, an anonymous source provided an Indian voting machine the team, the researchers started study on it and exposed security flaws.

The findings of the study are available here.

A blog by Halderman said, “At 5:30 Saturday morning, about ten police officers arrived at Hari's home in Hyderabad. They questioned him about where he got the machine we studied, and at around 8 a.m. they placed him under arrest and proceeded to drive him to Mumbai, a 14 hour journey.”

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