[FSFE PR][EN] Open Letter on Freedom and Internet Voting to Estonia's National Electoral Committee

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jul 30 08:07:08 CEST 2013

= Open Letter on Freedom and Internet Voting to Estonia's National
Electoral Committee =

[Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130730-01.en.html ]

FSFE has sent an open letter[1] to Estonia's National Electoral
Committee (NEC) regarding the country's Internet voting system. We ask
the NEC to release the software used in the election process as Free

  "Our aim is to safeguard the freedom and privacy of Estonia's
  citizens, and to improve the security of the election process," says
  Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's President.

Estonia has used Internet voting for general elections since 2005.
Unfortunately, the system's technology remains proprietary. Local
activists have recently managed to convince the NEC to release source
code for some of the software under a non-free licence, but this licence
does not permit distribution of derivative works or commercial use.
These arbitrary restrictions on software developed with public funds
hinder security research.

  "Important system components remain completely unknown to the general
  public. One of those components is the client side voting application
  that must be loaded and executed on the voter's computer," says Heiki
  Ojasild, Fellowship representative in FSFE's General Assembly. "There
  is no guarantee that this widely distributed[3] black box functions
  according to voters' expectations, or that it will respect their
  privacy or will."

Due to the unavailability of the source code and the fact that the
client side voting application is not built on Open Standards[4], the
voter is also forced to use one of the operating systems supported by
the National Electoral Committee.

FSFE has drawn the NEC's attention to these remaining problems and
possible solutions. FSFE has offered the NEC its assistance and is
looking forward to helping them ensure that freedom, privacy, and
credibility of the elections are not forsaken in the pursuit of
technological progress.

 1. http://fsfe.org/ee/i-voting/2013-07-26_Open_Letter_to_NEC.en.html
 2. http://fsfe.org/about/basics/freesoftware.en.html
 3. http://vvk.ee/voting-methods-in-estonia/engindex/statistics/
 4. https://fsfe.org/activities/os/def.html

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==
  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.

More information about the Press-release mailing list