News Brief

EVM Critics Double Down: Rahul Gandhi Calls 'Black Box', Elon Musk's 'Anything Can Be Hacked' Reply To BJP Leader

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 16, 2024, 03:03 PM | Updated 05:22 PM IST

An Electronic Voting Machine. (EVM)
An Electronic Voting Machine. (EVM)

The debate on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) escalated by Elon Musk, found its takers in the Congress party as Rahul Gandhi quoted Musk's post and said that EVMs in India are a "black box."

"Nobody is allowed to scrutinise them. Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process. Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability," Gandhi said.

His ally, Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav also shared Musk's statement and questioned why BJP is adamant to use EVMs when "world's renowned technology experts are openly writing about the danger of EVM tampering."

Reiterating his demand of conducting all future elections using ballot papers, Yadav said, "Technology is meant to solve problems, if it becomes the cause of problems then its use should be stopped."

Meanwhile, a BJP leader, former Minister of State (MoS) for Electronics and Information Technology (IT), Rajeev Chandrasekhar corrected Musk and urged him not to make "sweeping generalisation".

Chandrasekhar said, "Elon Musk's view may apply to the US and other places - where they use regular compute platforms to build Internet-connected Voting machines."

"But Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media - No connectivity, no bluetooth, wifi, Internet, there is no way in. Factory-programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed," he added.

"Electronic voting machines can be architected and built right as India has done. We would be happy to run a tutorial, Elon," Chandrasekhar said. However, Musk replied, "Anything can be hacked."

While Chandrasekhar accepted that Musk is "Technically right", he explained, "But that's a different type of a conversation from EVMs being secure and reliable vis a vis paper voting. And we can agree to disagree."

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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