Dear EC, Please setup a technical hackathon allowing experts to make our democracy secure.

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The Election Commission of India has now clarified that its proposed EVM challenge is not a hackathon in the terms accepted for hackathons but only a challenge to prove that EVMs can not be tampered during a voting process. The terms and conditions are quite limiting – no electrical connections, no tools to study logic, data, circuit analysis, no chip level experiments, no data level experiments will be allowed. Only visual inspection and key punching is allowed. Use of Bluetooth and wifi devices are allowed (presumably to post on social media that all is well).

Over 30 experts had written to the EC to have an open hackathon because the design of the EVM is highly susceptible to fraud – insiders can change motherboard, change software, add trojans to chips, change chips and modify circuitry to fake EVM behavior similar to EC’s original EVM behavior but in effect tamper the free and fair elections.

I had also publicly requested the EC to invite me and my team, and experts from all over India, even International experts so that the security holes in our EVMs can be identified and fixed. Unfortunately, in spite of strong public pressure and demand, EC has not agreed to invite technical experts but political parties for the “challenge”.

I now appeal to the EC, through this petition, that EC should conduct a fresh public hackathon and invite all experts, engineers, embedded trouble shooters and international security experts with a deep inspection philosophy – open the hardware, open the software, open the interfaces and let the wisdom and cunning of the crowd show us that either our EVMs are indeed tamper proof or they are vulnerable to tampering and therefore find stronger solutions for our young democracy.

Please join me in petitioning Dr. Zaidi, the CEC and the EC to announce and conduct this technical hackathon. Minister of IT, Karnakata has agreed to host this in Bangalore. EC should agree to the offer and make 2-3 EVMs available to all teams, pre-registered and pre-qualified, with a 15 day period to show any vulnerabilities that may have escaped the EC. EC should also announce a bug-bounty to encourage experts from contributing.

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