Hackers invited to tamper with Kenyan electoral systems
- Published on 13 July 2012
Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will in November invite hackers to tamper with its system to prove its reliability for transmission of provisional results head of the planned March 4, 2013 general elections.
The rather surprising move seeks to assure voters and candidates of the systems capabilities and security.
“We are confident that our system is tamper-proof. However, sometime in November we will invite those who think they can hack into the system to do it. We want Kenyans to have confidence in the system,” said IEBC chief executive James Oswago.
The IEBC will take cue from the Election Commission of India which last year dared 'ethical hackers' to tamper with its Voter Verifiable Paper Trial (VVPT), a new electronic voting machine that gives out a paper trail as proof, after its security features was criticised.
Although Kenyans will not be voting electronically in the next elections, it is poised to be the most technology dependent in history.
The IEBC will introduce a new system where voters will electronically verify that they are registered and that they have not voted elsewhere.
“The purpose of introducing biometric voter registration is to ensure that we enhance the integrity of the elections and avoid cases of double registration. You will be required to use your thumbprint to prove that you are registered and you haven’t voted again,” said Oswago.
The IEBC plans to release the presidential results within 48 hours to avoid the 2007 delays which caused panic in the country leading to the post election violence which claimed 1,300 lives.
The commission also plans to avoid a repeat of the 2007 polls when independent media houses ran conflicting provisional results live, causing confusion on which presidential candidate had own.
“We will screen live all presidential results and we will allow the media access to our servers to ensure uniform reporting. We have given our officers the order of tallying and we will start with the presidential, governor, senator, MP, women’s representative and county assembly representative,” said IEBC chairman Issack Hassan in an article published by the Daily Nation newspaper.
The commission is being watched keenly by stakeholders given that the now defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) which handled the 2007 polls was accused of mismanaging the elections and partly causing ethnic violence.