The EVM Stings: Police arrest a whistle blower.

Sting Operations by media have come to be recognized as legitimate tools to expose graft or abuse of power as otherwise it would be well nigh impossible to break the protective walls that Governments & politicians routinely build around themselves avowedly in “public interest’ but in fact to shield its anti-people projects from becoming public knowledge. Directly Recorded Electronic Voting system such as the one adopted by our Election Commission has aroused suspicion in many individuals here & abroad, and has not therefore been universalized wherever elections are held despite obvious advantages. For one, speed and accuracy are the obvious ones, but there are others like economy, ease and environment. Grounds for suspicions are really singular. Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) hold the people’s mandate in intangible digital form that doesn’t permit verification through direct observation unlike say paper ballots. Since governments, corporations, and political parties are known to cheat on people, how to trust that the EVMs are not rigged – stealthily & inscrutably, and thereby stealing the people’s mandate.
Election commission of India (ECI) has staked its prestige & clean image behind the EVMs manufactured by Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL) and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), both public sector companies. ECI says that EVMs are absolutely tamper proof (completely infallible) and beyond a pale of reproach. This is the premise that Hari K Prasad of Hyderabad set out to test in knowledge of the ECI. The premise failed the scrutiny he along with J Alex Halderman & Rop Gonggrijp put the EVM through. The various ways in which EVMs could be tampered to cheat the people’s verdict are shown in the absorbing video below (click here). But that is not the real story here. To carry out his tests, Hari needed a set of EVM, i.e. Voting Pad and Supervisory Pad. Hari and his fellow researchers obtained the necessary EVMs, carried out their tests, and produced afore said video demonstration. Enter the police in the picture who want to investigate how the EVMs came into the possession of Hari & company. Apparently he asked the ECI to provide one, but that request was turned down. Maharashtra Police called on Hari in the first week of August 2010 in Hyderabad and recorded his statement as to how he came to possess the EVMs that they used in their demonstration. This may be described as a legit police enquiry if the manufacture, supply and use of EVMs are a monopoly & controlled activities that are legally permissible only for ECI or people authorized by it. But on 21st August Maharashtra Police took him into custody and have presumably brought him to Mumbai for further investigations. This certainly smacks of highhandedness and suppression of right to know and right to inform. If even ECI is involved in this act of police, then it is definitely reprehensible and a blow to its credibility of ensuring free, fair and transparent elections since it can’t be free, fair and transparent about its EVMs.
ECI could very well claim that by “controlling the access” to EVMs it is in fact ensuring their infallibility. But the real point is that where hands of ordinary citizens cannot reach or reach under threat to their liberty or life, the hands of Government would reach freely with impunity and unhindered. By its own admission ECI has a permanent of staff of only 300, and is a dynamic organization that grows to millions of hands to meet the onerous demands of conducting a mammoth electoral exercise involving hundreds of millions of voters and shrinks back to its diminutive size once it is over. What it doesn’t say however is that such waxing and waning of election commission is made possible by the “hands” made available by the Government (of India). Can 300 permanent staff, all presumably infallible themselves, keep away these “hands” from mischief? This is where the crucial difference between EVMs and Paper Ballot becomes obvious.
In order to have any transparency in elections, you need to have votes on paper. Computers can be programmed to count votes honestly, but since nobody can watch them, they might just as easily be programmed to count dishonestly. How is the voter supposed to tell the difference? – Gonggrijp”.
ECI should thank Hari & Associates for bringing out the fallibility of EVMs rather than be party to his incarceration.


5 Responses to “The EVM Stings: Police arrest a whistle blower.”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Join The Facebook group "EVM is Evil – Hari Prasad is a Hero" to save Hari Prasad and Save Indian Democracy. Raise your voice. Don;t be evil and Don;t support evil. Visit the web site.

  2. A C Rao Says:

    Hi Pattu.,Hari and party stole an EVM from Maharashtra which is the property of ECI. I presume he has to be arrested for stealing ECI Property..To compound matters he took it to the Great Satan, USA,( Indians still love the 'white skin' masters even after so many years of Independence) added some new part to the EVM,and tried to fool the Indian public. He has been asked many times to prove the tamperability at ECIL HQ at N Delhi but he has failed miserably.He and his group has some 'ulterior motives' For instance, if one is given an ATM ( automated TellerMachine) , allows to remove some parts, add some RF parts I am quite sure we can prove that the ATM is tamperable.The EVM has again proved its superiority at the By elections in the Telengana Area of AP and all the political parties have respected the tamper proof EVMCheersA C Rao.

  3. Sadanand Says:

    If this guy has “stolen” the machine, then he would have to answer for that. As for your other contentions, I have following to submit for your perusal.1. If you study the material on his website (links are provided), then you will have to admit that he has not hidden anything including the Press note issued by the election commission on 8th August 2010 in which proving of tamerability issue has been discussed.2. As far as the Great Satan (USA) charge, which I find surprising coming as it did from you (it is my prerogative to use that word you would have said in another context), is concerned; how would you answer “The researchers were also surprised to find that the vote-counting software in the EVMs is programmed into so-called "mask programmed microcontrollers," which do not allow the software to be read out and verified. Because these chips are made in the US and Japan, this has led to a situation in which nobody in India knows for sure what software is in these machines or whether it counts votes accurately”. Or are you saying EVMs are made without sourcing any hardware from outside.3. Sure, who says ATM machines are tamperproof? Nothing in this world is tamperproof given access, time, knowledge, and intentions. None of this any governments in the world lack.4. Only recently BJP’s Advani and others had made allegations regarding the EVMs. Even above mentioned press release of ECI mentions parties that had expressed their suspicions.5. No one is doubting the efficacy of the EVMs if used honestly, but no one should doubt the ability of EVMs to rig elections on an unprecedented scale non-violently if used dishonestly. Rigged EVMs by few tech savvy men working secretly can steal the mandate of the people in seconds, unlike the massive effort involved in rigging a paper ballot and it leaves a trail of witnesses and evidence behind too. As regards their ulterior motives, you will have to fathom what they are and prove the charge.Sadanand

  4. A C Rao Says:

    Hi Pattu,Reg Point 2:-The programmes are masked so that hackers can't get at it and insert a Trojan Horse.-Definitely you will agree with me that ECIL Engineers who have written the programmes know what they are doing.- On the day of the polling, a 'mock poll' is conducted in the presence of polling agents of all the concerned parties where they can put in any number of votes on any EVM and then counting is done to prove the accuracy of the EVM. If after results are declared,a candidate decides to go to court we can give a paper trail of the voting pattern of each voter.(as has been done before). – If you see the Hari Prasad's website you can see which political party is backing him. Sore losers!!CheersA C Rao

  5. Sadanand Says:

    Hi AC,I don’t know what others have said, but I have never doubted the abilities of ECIL/BEL engineers or election commission or for that matter anyone else. If it was or is anyone’s case that EVM left unattended is tamperproof, then Hari Prasad’s demo shows its falseness. “Stealing the EVM” (he came into its possession and has made no efforts to hide that fact. In fact he is advertising it everywhere with his demo) is a charge that may be technically good in law, but so would be the “Stealing of Information” that is proudly announced by frontline newspapers as “our correspondent has accessed the confidential papers……” Police rarely arrest the Editors or Owners of such papers. Does Hari need to be treated differently?With the strident fight put up by Dongariya Kondhs & Kati Kondhs to save their Niamraja (The laws of nature that treat everyone equally), and the support extended to them by many peoples’ movements across India and abroad, finally, belatedly, GOI has agreed to scrap the Vedanta’s Bauxite mining project in Niamgiri Hills. Today, Rahul Gandhi was supposed to reach their to express solidarity and claim credit. May be GOI announcement was timed on the eve of his arrival. Does such political moves take away wee bit from the principles of the struggle?News report say that Chandrababu Naidu has criticized the arrest of Hari. May be he is the man behind it all. But so what? Don’t all political parties do that? These EVMs need to be protected from prying hands and unscrupulous elements, which are in plenty especially among politicians including the current ruling dispensations at Center and State levels, is the bottom line. On their own they are defenceless.I saw Prof. Indiresan report that gives some idea about the measures employed to defend EVMs. I will write about it later because I have to prepare for a journey now.Cheers / Sadanand

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