EC: Even makers can't alter EVMs

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10 Apr, 17 13:05
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New Delhi: The EVMs are robust and tamper-proof and even the manufacturers cannot manipulate them at the time of production, the Election Commission said today, countering allegations that the machines are unreliable.
With the Opposition's questions on the reliability of the electronic voting machines getting louder, the Commission has come out with a list of 'frequently asked questions' to put across its views in public domain. Recently, the Commission had issued two statements defending the machines. The FAQs are the third attempt by the poll watchdog to counter the doubts on the machines' reliability. One of the first questions the FAQ addresses is whether the machine can be hacked. No, asserts the Commission. The M1 (model one) of EVM was manufactured till 2006 and had all necessary technical features to make it "non-hackable, contrary to claims made by some activists".The M2 model of EVMs produced after 2006 and up to 2012 incorporated additional safety features. It can detect "malicious sequenced key presses". "Further, the ECI-EVMs are not computer controlled, are standalone machines and not connected to the Internet or any other network. Hence, there is no chance of hacking by remote devices... also, do not have any frequency receiver or decoder for data for wireless or any external hardware port for connection to any other non-EVM accessory or device. Hence, no tampering is possible," the poll panel said. The Commission also rejected suggestions that the machines can be manipulated by the manufacturer itself. "Not possible," it said. The EVMs have been manufactured in different years since 2006 and sent to different states.

The manufacturers - ECIL and BEL - would not know several years ahead which candidate will contest from a particular constituency and what will be the sequence of the candidates on the ballot unit, it said. It also asserted that no 'trojan horse' can be injected into the EVM in the field. In fact, the new M3 EVIN produced after 2013 has additional features like tamper detection and self diagnostics.
The tamper detection feature makes an EVM inoperative the moment anyone tries to open the machine. The self-diagnostic feature checks the EVM fully every time it is switched on. - PTI
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