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EVM hacking claim: Election Commission of India writes to Delhi Police seeking filing of FIR against self-proclaimed cyber expert

Visitors try out an electronic voting machine connected to a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machine at an Election Commission demonstration stand in Mumbai on January 16, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Taking cognisance of the claims made at a press conference in London by Syed Shuja, a self-styled Indian cyber expert, that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used by the Election Commission of India could be hacked, the poll body on Tuesday asked the Delhi Police to register an FIR.

The Commission wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), alleging that by making such claims, Mr. Shuja had caused public mischief, which is an offence under Section 505(1) (b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Supreme Court and several High Courts, in their judgments, had endorsed the use of EVMs in elections. Following doubts raised by various political parties, the Commission, on June 3, 2017, organised an “open challenge”, inviting experts to demonstrate any vulnerability in the machines, the poll panel said.

“Nobody turned up for such demonstrations,” said the EC in its complaint, adding that the act of Mr. Shuja was violative of Section 505(1)(b).

 

Mr. Shuja — who is said to be in the United States — addressed the press conference in London through Skype on Monday. He claimed that he was part of the EVM design team and that he could hack the machines.

In a letter to the Commission, the Electronics Corporation of India Limited said that Mr. Shuja had neither been its regular employee nor was he in any way associated with the design and development of EVMs in the public sector undertaking between 2009 and 2014.

The police said they had received the complaint and that legal action was being taken under Section 505 of the IPC. They would further explore if more penal provisions were needed to be invoked.

The Commission on Tuesday said that members of the Technical Experts Committee (TEC) had reconfirmed to the poll body that EVMs were tamper-proof.

It issued a statement that the committee members, D.T. Shahani, Professor Emeritus of IIT-Delhi; Rajat Moona, Director of the IIT Bhilai; and D.K. Sharma, Professor Emeritus of IIT-Bombay (Mumbai), said its EVMs were stand-alone machines designed to connect only among their units (Ballot Unit, Control Unit and VVPAT) through cables that remained in full public view.

The members said there was no mechanism in EC-EVMs for wireless communication with any device on any radio frequency. “All versions of EC-EVMs are regularly and rigorously tested against low to high wireless frequencies,” said the Commission.


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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:37:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/evm-hacking-election-commission-writes-to-delhi-police-seeking-fir-against-self-proclaimed-cyber-expert/article26060517.ece

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