It's no big deal, defrocking a democracy.
Just install rig-able, hack-able, out-dated Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for casting and counting votes at election time, and, presto! This easy going dame - democracy - is any mongrel's game, now days. At least, in India, it is. Now, don't shoot the messenger! I mean, I have been had, as much as anybody else. Well, not as much as other simpletons, who yet haven't caught on as to how their most cherished philosophy, ideology and beloved mother land is being violated and vitiated by an eeny weenie techno twit.
Free and fair voting process is a statuary right under Fundamental Rights as per Article 19 (1) (a). EVMs were first used in India in 1982, in Kerala, on a limited basis. In 1984, Supreme Court of India held that Election Commission had no power under Constitution to use EVMs as Representation of People Act 1950 postulates usage of only ballot papers for elections. Hence, it is illegal to use electronic voting machines.
In 1989, an Amendment was made - Section 61A of RPA 1951. It merely provided that EVM usage - "may be adopted in such constituency, or constituencies, as the Election Commission may, having regard to the circumstances of each case, specify." No carte blanche was ever "handed over" to Election Commission to promulgate a diktat, to use EVMs in the length and breadth of whole of India. Thus, to this date, usage of EVMs is unconstitutional.
Another illegality in using EVMs is that it violates IT ACT 2000; which entails that Paper Audit Trail has to be provided in case of Electronic Record as evidence, as per Evidence Act. Present EVMs do not do so. Hence, in the eye of law, their usage is not legally sanctioned.
Furthermore, no intellectual rights of EVMs rest with its Indian manufacturers, governmental agencies of interest or with Election Commission of India. The patent submitted for Indian EVMs, to The World Intellectual Property Organisation, was found wanting on 21 counts by WIPO. Hence, anybody can, with impunity, make or break Indian EVMs. And claim them to be their "hand-maiden". Indian EVMs are fair game for any Tom, Dick and Harry.
To compound matter further, on 17th January 2012, Delhi High Court held that Indian EVMs were not "Tamper-Proof". Supreme Court of Germany declared illegal usage of EVMs. With France, U.K., Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Australia, Canada; more than 80 democracies have gone back to Ballot Paper Voting. Even in America, states voting via electronic machines mostly require a "paper trail" of some sort. Lot of complaints are yet filed and people are still riled in U.S.A. over this issue. Japan, from which EVM System originated, renounced its use long ago. Realizing, EVMs are unreliable, easily hack-able and utterly un-democratic, most technologically advanced, concerned democracies - except India - have reverted to paper ballots.
So, what makes Election Commission officials sing paeans of present lot of Indian EVMs? Is there something more than meets the eye? Could it be that multi-billion dollars deals have been made to sell these machines to Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Namibia, Mauritius, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh etc.? Are we yet to unearth an "out-of-this-world" kickback scandal involving some dishonest, concerned government officials and their political bedfellows? For, technology of these EVMs is of 80's - obnoxiously obsolete.
Let us get to know our "made in India" EVMs. Firstly, they are not made in India! Oh, yes, little no-things, puny parts of "lesser" consequence are of course either sub-contracted to smaller units by two Public Sector Units, BEL and ECIL; or made by them. But the "brains" of EVMs - Micro Controllers - are manufactured by Microchip of U.S.A. and Renesas of Japan. Secondly, 3 "Junior Programmers" in Indian EVM Manufacturing Companies have written EVM Software or "Source Code' that drives these machines. So, our democracy is safe in the hands of these lowly paid, incorruptible junior governmental officials! And, pray, do they or anybody else - now - know where their "hand-made" software code is?
The "Source Code" of Indian EVMs is in foreign hands! The foreign multinationals, to whom microcontroller "making" has been outsourced, after copying this secret software into microchips, return them to India - "masked" and "burnt". These "burnt-in" programs cannot be "read-back" by anyone - not even by their Original Programmers or by Parent Manufacturers of Indian EVMs. Thus, after these foreign-returned "brains" of EVMs come back to India, then - except for god and hackers - no one knows The Source Code of EVMs!
However, this micro-controlled design of EVMs, using aforesaid "foreign" embedded software under microcontrollers, is an electronically enabled program. It has "read only" memory. It is used only for storage of Voter and Voting Data. But a hacker, after cracking Source Code of EVMs, can read and write "memory" from external electronic interface; manipulating data at will. Somebody, thousands of miles away, can cast unlimited number of votes in favour of his client. Remember, NASA was hacked into 13 times. Compared to it, EVMs are a piece of cake, with its almost "primitive" make and methodology.
Also, since these voting machines are stored in state-controlled "strong'-rooms; they are repaired and thus handled by a good many people; it's a child's play to tinker with them. It takes just 2 minutes to attach cheap ($24 worth) undetectable electronic device to memory chips inside EVMs. Then, sitting cosily elsewhere, hackers can write vote data as per their choice and choosing. LED display - a small circuit inside EVMs used during counting - can be easily changed by a look-alike fake one, containing a hidden chip that substitutes fraudulent votes. Entire EVM can be replaced by fake but identical looking machines, with none being the wiser. Anybody having access to them for less than 3 minutes can replace microcontrollers (in which EVM software is coded) with fake "generic" micro-controllers. Or, exchange "mother-boards" (Cards containing microcontrollers) of EVMs with "managed" ones.
Also, EVMs contain two EEPROMs inside their "Control Unit"; in which Voting Data is stored. Totally insecure, these EEPROMs can be easily manipulated by "external" source -- requiring no physical access to the voting machines at all. In fact, Cyber "Attackers" can send coded signals of radio or by secret combination of key presses; then, hijack entire lot of votes. Even the Numbers in Vote-Count, already "counted', can be altered to suit the hacker's liking! By "Return Oriented Programming", needing no Source Code; a malicious take-over of EVMs can be staged; making an electronic voting machine "turn against itself" - stealing votes from itself!
Cases after cases have been filed in different states against tampering of EVMs, by different political parties against each other; with State or Election Commission of India as a party. The latest was a hearing on 22nd January, 2013 in Supreme Court. Therein, Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of Election Commission submitted that VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) fitted EVMs have been field-tested in 180 election centres and that these will be first used in By-Elections. Yet, when Jagmeet Brar (Member, Congress Working Committee and Ex-Member Parliament) made written application to Election Commission to deploy these "tested" VVPAT fitted EVMs in 188 booths in February Moga by-election in Punjab; his request was disdainfully brushed aside. Election Commission reiterated that EVMs were safe, sound and secure.
CIA Cyber Expert, after studying EVMs in 36 nations, appearing before U.S. Election Assistance Commission in February 2009, submitted that Hugo Chavez fixed 2004 Election Recount. A la Modi in Gujarat in India, so has been done 3 times, in Venezuela too. What EVM System has been used there? You guessed it -- verily the same if not identical as was then, as is at present, this very moment, in use in India!
In 2010, a Committee on The Use of EVMs constituted by Election Commission of Pakistan forbade EVM use without VVPAT. It also concluded that in a 20-Year-Estimation, EVM Usage shall cost twice as much as simple Paper Ballot would. Apprehensions were also cast on "overloading" of EVMs - for, it had happened in U.S.A.; leading to loss of thousands of votes.
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