Rahul Gandhi joins EVM debate after Elon Musk flags hacking risk | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Rahul Gandhi joins EVM debate after Elon Musk flags hacking risk

Jun 16, 2024 08:58 PM IST

Elon Musk has sparked a debate over the security of EVMs after the tech billionaire said the risk of being hacked “while small, is still too high”.

Following tech billionaire Elon Musk's call to eliminate electronic voting machines, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday termed the EVMs in India a “black box” and cited a news report that has caused an uproar over the result of the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was reacting to Elon Musk's concern over the security of EVMs.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was reacting to Elon Musk's concern over the security of EVMs.

"EVMs in India are a "black box," and nobody is allowed to scrutinize them. Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process," Rahul Gandhi wrote on X.

"Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability,” he added, posting a snippet of the news report that said the kin of the winning candidate in Mumbai North West Lok Sabha was using the phone which was connected to EVMs.

Read: Why does vote count not equal votes cast on few seats? ECI gives 2 reasons

Mangesh Pandilkar, the brother-in-law of Ravindra Waikar who won Mumbai North West Lok Sabha MP by 48 votes, has been booked for allegedly using a mobile phone at a counting centre on June 4. Pandilkar had the mobile phone used to generate the OTP necessary to unlock the EVM machine at the NESCO Centre, Mid-Day reported. A police official said the mobile phone has been sent to forensics to examine call records and verify if it was used for other purposes, according to the report.

"This is a fraud at the highest level and yet the @ECISVEEP continues to sleep… If ECI doesn’t step in this will be the biggest election result scam after Chandigarh Mayor election and will see this battle in the courts. This brazenness has to be punished," Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi posted on X.

Sena UBT leader Aditya Thackeray said, “Surprisingly, or not, the Entirely Compromised- election commission, has refused to share CCTV footage of the counting centre. I guess it’s trying to avoid another Chandigarh moment.”

Meanwhile, Elon Musk sparked a debate by questioning the security of EVMs. “We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high,” he posted on X.

This prompted BJP leader and former Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar to argue that secure digital hardware is achievable.

“Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media - No connectivity, no bluetooth, wifi, Internet. ie there is no way in. Factory programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed.”

Chandrasekhar even offered Musk a tutorial on how to design and build secure electronic voting machines.

Musk, however, doubled down on his concerns saying “Anything can be hacked”.

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