At the V initiative we are pooling our knowledge on network based systems and security to tackle online digital voting for the masses.
We are working on new open source security protocols that will help us move democracy into the digital age.
We are currently working on these solutions with voter associations and the open source community to create transparency around the technology.
Our goal is to be able to distribute 100% fraud proof 100% anonymous digital votes so that we can re-imagine the way democracy works in a digital age, where citizens can take a more active roll in the political process and build in further checks and balances to rid political corruption from modern society.
Finding secure digital solutions for voting over the internet and via mobile devices.
Developing new authentication and cryptographic concepts to eliminate fraud, which riddles our current offline voting systems.
Working with open source software to place the verification and security in the public domain and work with the open source community on tackling digital voting.
Repurposing existing digital technology to guarantee voter anonymity during the online election process
The freedom of information afforded by large scale internet access in modern society permits a great deal more possiblities for self governance than was the case several hundred years ago when the modern representative democratic system was conceived. This combined with the information age and tech revolution has provided society with the technological tools to tackle politics.
These developments come at a time when there are more constituents per congressman than ever before and record lobbying and campaign contributions pushing for special interests, all of which undermine the inherent weaknesses of the current democratic model.
The result of this is a record low voter turnout demonstrating a general disengagement and public disenfranchisement towards the political system.
The V initiative proposes that by providing voters with a more direct influence over the decision making process, as well as achieving greater efficiency and transparency regarding the tools used to measure that influence, will result in a more accountable and credible system and therefore a more active and engaged electorate. An important part of building this future is a secure open source online voting system which guarentees voter anonymity.
Current systems of internet security have been based around a centralized system. A fortress if you will, who’s security lies in the size of its walls. And when attacked for long enough, with enough force, could be penetrated.
V initiative looks at a concept of decentralizing this security to the public domain. And best of all, there is already cryptographic precedent!
Every block consists of
a header that links to the preceding block and provides integrity for the blockchain and
a body which contains a record of Bitcoin transactions (or votes) that were verified during the blocks creation.
The hash must:
- include the hash of the header of the preceding block.
- be less than or equal to the Target Number
- include the number called the Nonce
- include the Merkle Root of all transactions.
For our purposes the target would be set as a single number that defines how hard it is to verify the hash.
The Nonce is a cryptographic number used only once to find the hash, if the hash is larger than the Target , they need to select a new nonce and try again. This process is repeated to verify the authenticity of the transaction, (or vote).
Since each block contains the hash of the previous block, they link together like a chain. This is what we are most interested in, and what makes it impossible to hack.
Every new transaction accepts changes to the Merkle Root. This means that there is a binary tree that serves as a record for the entire history of the bitcoin and blockchain.
The invention of bitcoin was a true innovation in digital crypto currency. However it was also a magnificant step forward in decentralized security. The bitcoin blockchain is essentially a blueprint of verification by the masses. In essence there is no central authority or ‘fortress’ in bitcoin. It is cryptographically secured and verified by its community in full view of everyone. Transparency is its biggest form of security. If applied to other verticals, this technology could be the key to creating a publically verifiable, totally secure voting technology.
One major issue with repurposing this totally open source code, is that bitcoin is not anonymous, its pseudonymous. This means that a user’s anonymity is safeguarded via that users chosen pseudonyms, or ‘usernames’ if you will. To fix this part a new protocol has been proposed.The ‘Zero Coin’ protocol and Zero Knowledge Proofs.
The Zero Knowledge proof is a mathematical function used in cryptography to solve a simple question; How do we prove you know a secret, without you ever actually telling us the secret. Its application to bitcoin would mean the ability to remove any form of identity or footprint from the equation, while maintaining the ability to verify validity. It’s implementation is currently being tested and if you wish to understand more there are numerous research articles on the topic. link
On a practical level the implementation of such open source code in a voting blockchain scheme would allow for a system that could both verify the authenticity of each vote belonging to a registered voter while totally anonymizing said voter.
The final piece of the puzzle would then consist of an IP masking software, such as the more famous ‘TOR’ program to make absolutely sure that no votes could be traced back to an IP address. This would ensure that large data mining attempts by any types of institutions or agencies would be impossible. Safe guarding voter anonymity is something we are serious about, and believe must be the taken into account if mass digital voting is to occur.
The V initiative is a collaboration. We are working closely with the National Association of Voter Officials as well as with the open source community. These solutions need to be discussed and scrutinized in public, which is why the input of the open source community is so important to us. For this technology to be effective and empower democracy its creation must also include as many organisations and individuals as possible.
We are calling on any engineers in the open source community to help us with the conceptualization and implementation of these systems and to help us test the software in non political settings, in full view of the community.
The roadmap to secure electronic elections is a long one and any organisations involved with the movement are welcome. Elected officals that wish to learn more about our technologies and how this may be implemented should also get in touch!
“It is only in our decisions that we are important”