Hari Prasad to present his ‘EVM paper’ at Chicago

Two days after his release on bail, Hyderabad-based researcher Hari Prasad is busy preparing for a presentation of his controversial paper on security aspects of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) at a conference in Chicago on October 5.

Prasad, who had been arrested last week for his alleged role in stealing an EVM from the collector's office in Mumbai, will present a paper, 'Security Analysis of India's Electronic Voting Machines' along with two researchers from abroad who had co-authored the paper.

The annual conference is considered a prestigious one among researchers and analysts working on security aspects of computers and communications. "I am coordinating with other experts. Our presentation was ranked No 1 among the final 54 selected and will be the opening presentation," Hari Prasad told Newsline.

He was released on bail against a surety of Rs 25,000. The bail conditions doesn't prevent him from travelling anywhere outside India. "So far, there has been no restrictions on my travel. I hope I will be permitted to travel without any hassle," he added.

The 12-page presentation is co-authored by Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan and Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher from the Netherlands. "Gonggrijp was instrumental in getting EVMs banned in Holland in 1993," said GVLN Rao, president of VeTA, a citizens forum that tracks elections across India demanding verifiability, transparency and accountability in the process.

Four months ago, Prasad had appeared in a Hyderabad TV channel and allegedly demonstrated how an EVM could be tampered with. In his demonstration, Prasad claimed a small component (chip) can be replaced with a lookalike and instructed to silently steal a percentage of votes in favour of a chosen candidate. In his interview, he alleged the machine could be rigged up to enable a device, such as a mobile phone, to tamper with the machine and track it. Prasad claimed a pocket-sized device could be used to change votes stored in EVMs between the election and counting of votes.

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