To counter EC, AAP now plans own hackathon

The Aam Aadmi Party has called the Election Commission's EVM challenge as a "farce".

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:June 4, 2017 3:34 am
Saurabh Bhardwaj, AAP, EVM Challenge, EC. Indian Express News Saurabh Bhardwaj at a press conference called by the AAP on Saturday. Express Photo by Amit Mehra

The Election Commission’s EVM challenge is a “farce”, the AAP said on Saturday, while opening the registration for a parallel challenge, inviting people to hack a “voting machine” as per the poll panel’s guidelines.

AAP MLA and Delhi spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said that participants can register at a link on the AAP website, and added that following a week-long registration period, the hackathon will be organised. “We are launching our EVM challenge today and people can register themselves through a link on our website. Any hacker can participate in this challenge and hack our machine under the conditions set by the EC. Each participant will be given a four-hour slot to tamper with our machine,” Bhardwaj said.

The AAP also invited the poll panel and Bharat Electronics Limited — the company that makes EVMs — to take part in the challenge along with their technical expert teams. The point of the AAP hackathon, Bhardwaj explained, was to prove that the challenge by the EC was pointless. The party had decided not to take part in the EC’s challenge after its request for a change in the terms and conditions was shot down. On the party website, AAP called the EC challenge a “pure eyewash which will achieve nothing”.

The AAP’s hackathon will be held on an EVM prototype, under the same conditions as EC has proposed. “Only visual inspection and press of keys will be allowed. No other hardware or software experiments will be allowed,” the party said. A senior leader said, “It is simply not possible for a hacking like this to take place without providing access to the inner workings of the machine.What the EC is doing right now is claiming that they’re protected because their doors are locked, while ignoring the fact that their walls have been scaled and intruders are inside.”

“I have proven earlier the way in which an EVM machine can be hacked. I did this in the Delhi assembly. There are over a dozen methods to hack EVMs but one cannot hack an EVM under the EC’s guidelines. One has to be given access to the EVM to hack it. Why is the EC so afraid of giving us EVM access?” Bhardwaj said. He also wrote on Twitter, “Nobody participating in EVM challenge of ECI. This vindicates our stand that EVM challenge under current conditions was a farce, an eyewash. AAP has invited hackers to test the EVM — the same one used by Bhardwaj in the Delhi Assembly — to ‘prove’ his allegations of tampering.”

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