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Anonymity vs. traceability: revocable anonymity in remote electronic voting protocols

Smart, Matthew James (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Remote electronic voting has long been considered a panacea for many of the problems with existing, paper-based election mechanisms: assurance that one’s vote has been counted as cast; ability to vote without fear of coercion; fast and reliable tallying; improvement in voter turnout. Despite these promised improvements, take-up of remote electronic voting schemes has been very poor, particularly when considering country-wide general elections.
In this thesis, we explore a new class of remote electronic voting protocols: specfically, those which fit with the United Kingdom’s requirement that it should be possible to link a ballot to a voter in the case of personation. We address the issue of revocable anonymity in electronic voting. Our contributions are threefold. We begin with the introduction of a new remote electronic voting protocol, providing revocable anonymity for any voter with access to an Internet-connected computer of their choice. We provide a formal analysis for the security properties of this protocol. Next, we are among the first to consider client-side security in remote electronic voting, providing a protocol which uses trusted computing to assure the voter and authorities of the state of the voter’s machine. Finally, we address revocable anonymity more generally: should a user have the right to know when their anonymity has been revoked? We provide a protocol which uses trusted computing to achieve this.
Ultimately, the work in this thesis can be seen as a sound starting point for the deployment of remote electronic voting in the United Kingdom.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ritter, Eike
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Computer Science
Subjects:JN101 Great Britain
QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
QA76 Computer software
T Technology (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3386
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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