1a) Biometric for e-Voting in the UKBiometric identification involves identifying individuals by their human characteristics as opposed to other modern methods of identification such as passwords, identification cards, passports etc. There are different technologies used to make such identifications. The accuracy of the different technologies available in the market vary greatly in the type of human characteristic such as voice, finger prints, body shape etc that they seek to identify. There are two main categories of biometric techniques namely; physiological and behavioural techniques. Physiological techniques are based on physiological traits such as fingerprint verification, ear recognition, iris/retina analysis, facial analysis, odour detection, DNA pattern analysis etc.
Behavioural techniques are based on behavioural traits such as handwritten signature verification, keystroke analysis and speech analysis (Soram & Khomdram, 2010). The UK, in consideration of e-voting is best suited to adapt DNA pattern identification and hand written signature verification. Same way as physiological techniques, DNA pattern analysis is more reliable and secure as compared to behavioural techniques such as hand written signature verification. In the case of e-voting in the UK, the DNA testing can be adapted for identification purposes in the system.
This will involve creating a DNA database of all voters that is web based. Voters will thus be able to prove their identification by matching their DNA pattern from wherever they are with the one in the database. Soram and Khodram (2005, p. 1) support this by saying that “the digital nature of DNA information enhances the accuracy in authentication enabling the development of DNA based personal identifiers. ” However, one major shortcoming of DNA is authentification cannot be done in real-time.
Again the physical sample required is detachable from the owner such as hair saliva increasing FAR (Maestre, & Nichols 2009). The use of DNA systems and other biometric systems have their own vulnerabilities. Soram and Khomdram (2010) classify them as analytical and mathematical. Oostveen and Besselaar (2003) say that the main concept of e-voting is to encourage higher turnout by voters wherever they are. Misuse of the technology by voters is a likely hindrance to the e-voting process. The fact that the DNA system uses biometrics that can be detached from the carrier such as finger nails, hair, saliva etc shows that the system is vulnerable to spoof attacks.
Storage of data is another issue in terms of the information contained on the DNA sample such as medical history, hereditary conditions etc. Maestre, & Nichols (2009) evaluated the vulnerabilities of signatures and recognised that there were FAR in synthetic signatures than in on paper signatures. E-voting tends to rely more on synthetic signatures hence increases the risk of abuse the process undetected. b) Public support for biometric enabled eVoting The biometric systems often used in e-voting have a great influence on the public opinion towards e-voting.
The greatest concern as indicated by a study carried out by Maestre, & Nichols (2009) has to do with privacy issues especially where DNA system is used. The main concern is the safety of information contained in the DNA samples stored in the database. Nonetheless, the accuracy of e-voting is widely accepted by the public in many countries only that there are concerns over the security risks and the efficiency of the technologies.
In Switzerland for instance, trials of e-voting were extended to cover 12 cantons out of the total 26 during this year’s November elections (Fenazzi 2010). No major difficulties were reported thereby showing immense public support and acceptance of the process as genuine, fair and fool proof.