Democracy needs online voting: Kaspersky

The chief of Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs has said that democracy will fail without online voting.
Written by Darren Pauli, Contributor

The chief of Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs has said that democracy will fail without online voting.

Eugene Kaspersky

Eugene Kaspersky (Credit: Kaspersky Labs)

Eugene Kaspersky pointed out to ZDNet Australia that the younger the generation, the more its members are reliant on technology. He believes that this will reach a point where walking to the polling booth will be unacceptable.

"It will be the end of democracy without internet voting," Kaspersky said from track-side at the Formula One last week. "They will not vote without it, this is fact."

Exactly when the new batch of 18 year-olds will refuse to visit the ballot box is anyone's guess, but the charismatic chief asserts it is coming. Backing him up is a report by ITNews that the NSW Electoral Commission received more than four times the number of online votes than expected in the recent NSW state election, totalling some 47,000.

Yet it's not just voting that's facing extinction, according to Kaspersky, but also the way that law enforcement, courts and corporations deal with the internet.

He believes the laws and litigation are in place to restrain internet use, from hacking to piracy, are fundamentally flawed, and said they need to be reformed.

"The internet has changed life as much or more than the invention of electricity," Kaspersky said, pointing to the work of Wikileaks in disseminating classified information that inflamed uprisings in Tunisia, as well as the role of social networking in disseminating news amid media black-outs.

"We need to redesign the decision-making process; we need new laws — an internet law."

The efforts by copyright enforcement organisations to crackdown on piracy are an example of dinosaurs trying to stay alive in the new technology landscape, according to Kaspersky. He says BitTorrent is a technology that should be embraced, not fought. Indeed, his attitude is shared by television broadcasters including the BBC which use the file-sharing protocol to distribute content at a low cost.

"Law enforcement, courts and corporations will need to dump their understanding of the online world if they are to succeed," he said.

He also reiterated his call for an online passport which would see important websites dealing with personal information, such as banks and governments, operate in a highly-controlled environment that would verify the identity of the institution and its customers.

Efforts to introduce identity schemes are underway around the world.

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