Debian GNU/Linux to be used in Election Software

July 27th, 2001

IT News has reported in their article “The electoral test that pencil and paper meet” that Debian GNU/Linux will be used in an electronic voting system for the ACT's October election in Australia. They write: "The only platform that provided robustness and voter confidence was GNU Debian Linux, with all source code released under the General Public License (GPL)."

The Canberra consultancy Software Improvements won a $200,000 contract to provide an electronic voting system. "Online voting is a highly critical system, not in the sense that someone's life depends on it, but it has to be accurate and reliable and available on the day", said Carol Boughton of Software Improvements, "The main reason we went that way (GPL) was transparency and to be able to ensure the voters that everything is above board. Once you make code available anyone has the opportunity to check it out."

The article continues with fear about using Open Source Software, "Truly open source systems are valuable, but they pose threats, too, because anyone can get and modify the code." The "drawback" seems to be that anybody can read and understand the code, finding flaws and security issues. "When you're writing in an open source environment, you're forced to write for at least a degree of auditability.", they say.