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Making Every E-Vote Count

A noted cryptographer has a system that works

5 min read

With high-profile contests in Missouri, Montana, Virginia, and Wyoming decided on 7 November by margins as small as a few 10ths of 1 percent, the 2006 U.S. elections showed why many voters have feared their votes would not be accurately counted by electronic voting machines. Problems that day ranged far and wide—from touch screens that reportedly registered Democratic votes as Republican ones in Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, to electronic ballots in several New Jersey counties that were allegedly premarked for the Democratic Senate candidate.

In Virginia’s Senate race—the contest that, in the end, determined that the Democrats would control Congress for the next two years—poorly written software truncated the name of the winning candidate, James Webb, so that his surname did not appear on computer screens in three cities.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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