02/05 - Pentagon cancels Internet voting system - East Valley Tribune: Business

02/05 - Pentagon cancels Internet voting system

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Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2004 1:32 pm | Updated: 5:45 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon won't use an Internet voting system for overseas U.S. citizens this fall because of concerns about its security, an official said Thursday.

The official, who requested anonymity, said Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz made the decision to scrap the system because Pentagon officials were not certain they could "assure the legitimacy of votes that would be cast."

Computer security experts who last month reviewed the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, or SERVE, had urged the Pentagon to scrap the system, saying it was too vulnerable. The experts said the system could be penetrated by hackers who could change votes or gather information about users.

"Internet voting presents far too many opportunities for hackers or even terrorists to interfere with fair and accurate voting, potentially in ways impossible to detect," the experts said in a statement Jan. 21. "Such tampering could alter election results, particularly in close contests."

Despite the concerns, Pentagon officials had said they still planned to use the system this fall and would test it during Tuesday's South Carolina primary. But the day before the voting the Pentagon called off the South Carolina test.

About 6 million U.S. voters live overseas, most of them members of the military or their relatives.

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