Electronic Voting

Seminar, Winter 2015/2016

Instructor Fabienne Eigner
Matteo Maffei
Organizational Meeting Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 16:00, MMCI (E1.7), room 0.10
Registration Registration deadline: Monday, October 19, 2015 at 23:59
Place MMCI (E1.7), room 3.23
Form/Credits Seminar, 7 ECTS
Regular Meetings Thursdays at 16:00
1st Session Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 16:00
2nd Session Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 16:00
3rd Session Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 16:00
4th Session Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 16:00,/FONT>
Language English
Contact <fabienne's surname> at cs dot uni-saarland dot de

Latest News

  • 2016-01-06: updated the schedule and milestones
  • 2016-01-06: updated the project information
  • 2015-10-21: updated the modus operandi and grading sections
  • 2015-10-20: room change for organizational meeting: MMCI (E1.7), room 0.10
  • 2015-10-19: time and place updated
  • 2015-09-16: the website is online

Description

Electronic voting is receiving increasing attention from governments, mass media, and the scientific community. The deployment of electronic voting systems, however, is limited in practice since many open questions still remain. In this seminar we will focus on answering the following questions:

  • Which electronic voting schemes exist and which properties do they fulfill?
  • What vulnerabilities of existing protocols have been discovered? What attacks are there? How can we defend against them and how can we prove the "security" of a voting scheme?
  • How can we achieve "everlasting privacy": even if a voting scheme protects a voter's vote now, what happens twenty years from now, when current encryptions can be easily broken?
  • Which real-life elections use(d) electronic voting? Which protocols are used? What legal requirements are there? Are there recorded attacks?

Topic I. Electronic Voting Schemes

In this session we will have a look at which electronic voting schemes exist and which properties they fulfill.

Topic II. Attacks and Verification

In this session we will discuss vulnerabilities of existing protocols. What attacks are there? How can we defend against them and how can we prove the "security" of a voting scheme?

Topic III. Everlasting Privacy

In this session we will answer the question of how to achieve "everlasting privacy": even if a voting scheme protects a voter's vote now, what happens twenty years from now, when current encryptions can be easily broken?

Topic IV. Electronic Voting in Practice

In this session we will have a look at real-life elections that use(d) electronic voting. Which protocols are used? What legal requirements are there? Are there recorded attacks?

Only temporary list of papers, still subject to change!

Modus operandi

The seminar consists of four sessions (three reading groups and one project demonstration session) throughout the semester. In the reading groups you will present and discuss papers. In each reading group we will discuss four papers. Each student must read all of those. Four students will be assigned to be an expert for one of the papers. As an expert you will prepare a short presentation (15-20 minutes) about "your" paper and present it to the class (see this guide). All non-experts of a paper (who will also have read the paper) must hand in two meaningful questions about this paper in written form to Fabienne in advance. The experts will be given the question in advance and include them as an extra slide at the end of their presentation. After their presentations, the experts will then answer those and all questions arising in the discussion. The presentations should include a short overview of the paper as well as your own thoughts on strengths and weaknesses thereof. Moreover, you should think about the applications and influences that the paper had (or could have) on other works.

Furthermore, each students will develop a small research project that extends and improves one of the state-of-the-art protocols (Helios, Civitas, Prêt à voter). Be creative, the sky is the limit! The research projects will be presented in the fourth session to the class in a short (10-15 minutes) presentation and in a short paper (4-5 pages) documenting your extension and its development.

Overall each student will:

  • read 12 papers;
  • be an expert for 2 papers;
  • prepare questions for 10 papers (20 in total);
  • improve one state-of-the art voting system, document the process and the resulting product, and present the results in class;
  • actively participate in 4 reading groups.

Participation in the organizational meeting and all the seminar sessions is mandatory.

Each student will have to hand in the slides for their "expert paper" and questions for their "non-expert papers" to Fabienne ( <fabienne's surname> at cs dot uni-saarland dot de) no later than described in the milestones table below.

Milestone Date
Registration before Monday, October 19, 2015 at 23:59
Kick-off meeting Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 16:00
Slides for Session 1 before Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 23:59
Questions for Session 1 before Monday, November 8, 2015 at 23:59
Session 1 Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 16:00
Slides for Session 2 before Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 23:59
Questions for Session 2 before Monday, November 23, 2015 at 23:59
Session 2 Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 16:00
Slides for Session 3 before Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 23:59
Questions for Session 3 before Monday, December 7, 2015 at 23:59
Session 3 Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 16:00
Project documentations and slides before Monday, January 18, 2015 at 23:59
Session 4 Thursday, January 21, 2015 at 16:00

Grading

To pass the seminar you are required to meet all milestone deadlines (see the table above). Your active participation in all sessions is mandatory. Your final grade is based on the quality of your two expert talks in the reading groups, your active participation in the reading groups, the questions you prepare for the other presentations, and the paper and talk presenting your project. All grades must be 4.0 or higher.

Requirements

This will be a seminar on advanced security protocols and some background in security and cryptography is mandatory for you to understand and enjoy the topics and to actively participate in the discussions. You should have attended and passed at least one of the following lectures at Saarland University or during your previous studies somewhere else: "Cryptography", "Security", "Language-based Security", or "Privacy-enhancing Technologies" (or equivalent).

How to register

The registration deadline is Monday, October 19, 2015 at 23:59.
For registering, please send an e-mail as early as possible to <fabienne's surname> at cs dot uni-saarland dot de, indicating your name and matriculation number and which courses related to security and cryptography you have previously taken.

As usual, you have to register in the LSF/HISPOS system (after being officially accepted to participate in the seminar).

Note that the number of participants will be limited (8)!