The government has banned the use of voting computers in 35 constituencies, including Amsterdam, in the November 22 general election because of security worries.
In a letter to parliament today Atzo Nicolaï, the minister in charge of the election arrangements, said that 1,200 voting computers, produced by state-owned company SDU, made it too easy to find out how people vote. The SDU computers account for around 10% of the total.
Amsterdam was one of the last cities to switch to voting computers, making the move at the local elections in March. Eindhoven and Tilburg will also have to return to the traditional red pencil.
Nicolaï told MPs that research by the AIVD security service shows that radio signals, used to transmit votes, were so easily monitored that it was possible to ‘listen in’ to how people voted from a few tens of metres away. ‘This forms too great a risk to a secret ballot,’ the minister wrote. ‘That is why we have withdrawn permits for the machines.’
Machines used in the rest of the country are produced by Nedap. The AIVD is checking the four types of Nedap machines and has not identified any problems so far.
Nicolaï asked the AIVD to investigate voting computers after a lobby group ‘We don’t trust voting computers’ showed how easy it was to hack into them. With the help of a car satellite navigation system, the group came up with a Christian Democrat detector.
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