Contest Proposal: Challenge MIT paper on Blockchain Faults in Election Systems
Submission period: December 25, 2020 00:01 UTC - January 15, 2021 at 23:59 UTC
20 days (due to the overlap with the holiday season)
Background and Description
On Nov 6, 2020 a group of MIT and Harvard professors and researchers published this paper called “Going from Bad to Worse: From Internet Voting to Blockchain Voting”:
It is directed at alleged faults of blockchain technology as it is applied for performing voting process and voting audits, but in fact the authors question that anyone can suggest a solution addressing all of the numerous issues in the paper, thus concluding that only paper based process is acceptable and has minimal risks.
They write things like:
"Internet- and blockchain-based voting would greatly increase the risk of undetectable, nation-scale election failures.”
“…given the current state of computer security, any turnout increase derived from with Internet- or blockchain-based voting would come at the cost of losing meaningful assurance that votes have been counted as they were cast, and not undetectably altered or discarded.”
“…blockchains may introduce additional problems for voting systems.”
“What’s more, online voting may not increase turnout”
"The cryptographic and consensus guarantees of blockchains do not prevent potential serious failures.”
Furthermore, one of the referenced documents claims that inability of any internet-based system to allow for fair political elections is an “established science“.
Just like before Nicolaus Copernicus published his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543, flat Earth was the “established science“.
I think it is time to prove the MIT/Harvard authors wrong.
General requirements - MUST HAVE IN EVERY SUBMISSION:
- WRITE AN ANALYTICS ESSAY TO DISPROVE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:
"Blockchain technology does not solve the fundamental security problems suffered by all electronic voting systems.”
"Electronic, online, and blockchain-based voting systems are more vulnerable to serious failures than available paper-ballot-based alternatives.”
“Adding new technologies to systems may create new potential for attacks.”
- PROPOSE A BLOCKCHAIN BASED VOTING SOLUTION BETTER THAN EXISTING PAPER BASED AND DEMONSTRATE HOW IT WILL LEAD TO
“Increasing voter turnout, reducing fraud, or combating disenfranchisement and coercion”
Specific Requirements - ADDITIONAL POINTS AWARDED FOR:
A. Propose an evidence-based elections mechanism based on blockchain technology to allow for:
(1) ballot secrecy; (2) voter privacy; (3) assurance the ballot received by the voter is the ballot intended for the voter; (4) software independence; (5) voter-verifiable ballots; (6) contestability; (7) auditing; (8) protection against Coercion. (If I have a receipt, I can prove how I voted, therefore confirm to the party attempting to buy my vote.)
B. Address prevention of scalable and undetectable attacks, including system attacks, device security breaches.
C. Provide for End-to-End Verifiable voting (E2E-V).
D. Demonstrate Transparency.
E. Provide Voting Authority ability to confirm authenticity of voting bulletin.
F. Ensure voter identity verification and voter eligibility confirmation.
G. Use of zero-knowledge proofs or another mechanism to allow for individual voter choices secrecy.
H. Address private key security (loss) issues and how to prevent/fix them.
I. Directly address all criticisms of blockchain as a technology in para 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 , 3.4 and 3.5 of the MIT paper.
J. Directly respond and propose solutions to all of the questions in Para 4 of the MIT paper.
K. Read and relate to :
(ii). All of the references in https://people.csail.mit.edu/rivest/pubs/PSNR20.pdf
Evaluation criteria for the jury
- Sufficiently and convincingly address ALL of the tasks identified above should constitute 20% of the score;
- Professional language and ethics of writing, including reference links to any quotes used should constitute an additional 10% toward the score;
- Depth and quality of thinking behind the solutions – 20%;
- Implementability in reasonable time and cost, including scope of work (see “Follow-up” below) – 40%;
- Estimated value of implementing such a submission by the Free TON community – 10%.
1st place……………………….….20,000 TONs
2nd place………………………….15,000 TONs
3rd place………….……………….10,000 TONs
4th place……………………………7,000 TONs
5th place……………………………6,000 TONs
6th - 20th place……………………2,500 TONs each
- A follow-up contest to audit the work of the winners will be held as a joint effort between Free TON and the Government Blockchain Association (GBA). Winners of that contest will get an additional reward.
- The follow-up contest for implementation will have rewards that will be commensurate with the scope of work. To be discussed on the forum after finalization of this contest.
- Members of the GBA who perform the audit of solutions will collectively receive 10,000 TON Crystals.
- The best response will be shared with the authors of the MIT/Harvard paper and published through the GBA as well as promoted among their widespread global community.
- Free TON will of course extend the authors of the MIT paper an opportunity to propose a contest in retort, should they wish to.
- The juror must have a solid understanding of the described subject in order to provide a score and feedback. If not, the juror should choose to “Abstain”.
- Jurors or whose team(s) intend to participate in this contest by providing submissions lose their right to vote in this contest.
- Each juror will vote by rating each submission on a scale of 1 to 10 or can choose to reject it if it does not meet requirements or vote “Abstain” if they feel unqualified to judge.
- Jurors must provide feedback on submissions or lose their reward.
- The Jury will reject duplicate, sub-par, incomplete, or inappropriate submissions.
- The number of days for jury voting is hereby set at 20 days
An amount equal to 5% of the sum total of all total tokens awarded to contest winners will be distributed among jurors who vote and provide feedback. This percentage will be awarded on the following basis:
- The percentage of tokens awarded to the jury will be distributed based on the number of votes each juror casts. For example, if one juror votes 20 times and another juror votes 5 times, the juror who votes 20 times will get 4 times more tokens than the juror who votes 5 times.
- Detailed feedback is mandatory in order to collect any rewards.
Accessibility. All submissions must be accessible for the jury to open and view, so please double-check your submission. If the submission is inaccessible or does not fit the criteria described, jurors may reject the submission.
Timing. Contestants must submit their work before the closing of the filing of applications. If not submitted on time, the submission will not count.
Content. Please submit in PDF format. If all or a portion of the original content cannot be in the form of a PDF, simply submit a PDF with links to that original content. Such links must be to files that cannot be edited after this contest is in the voting phase. If the file links are editable after voting, the jury can reject your submission. This is CRUCIAL!
Each submission must have an identifiable contact that can be matched with your description. If you have not provided a forum description for discussion, then your application should contain links to your online persona, for example, a Telegram ID (preferred) or other direct contact information that can confirm that the submitted work is yours. In the absence of confirmation by the contestant of the authorship of the submitted work, the submission is rejected.
- Each contestant has the right to provide several submissions if they are all different from one another. If they are too similar, or in any way appear to be partially the same work done twice, or if they appear to be one whole body of work divided into parts to create several submissions, jurors have the right to reject such submissions.
- If the contestant wants to make an additional submission to replace a previously published submission, the contestant must inform the jury about this fact and indicate which submission is the one to be judged. In this case, only the indicated work will count. If the contestant fails to indicate which submission to judge, only the first submission made will count. The Jury will reject all others.
This is a good one. Good luck!