Friday

24th Nov 2017

Dutch will count votes on offline PCs to prevent hacking

  • Emptying the ballot boxes on election day, 2010 (Photo: Photo RNW.org)

Dutch municipalities will be allowed to use computers to count the votes cast in the 15 March elections, but only if those are not connected to the Internet, the Dutch government said on Wednesday (15 February).

Officials were also banned from using USB-sticks or other devices to bring the results from municipalities to the headquarters of the 20 electoral districts, Dutch interior minister Ronald Plasterk wrote in a letter to the Dutch parliament dated Wednesday.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Dutch minister for interior affairs Plasterk wants to prevent foreign hacking of the elections (Photo: Council of the EU)

The measures are part of Plasterk's attempt to rule out hacking, especially from Russia, and follows a report by Dutch broadcaster RTL at the end of January.

RTL said the software that was used to register the votes was vulnerable to hacking because it did not contain any security requirements for computers it was used on.

Plasterk then decided that the registering of votes should be done by hand. Registering votes was the only part of the electoral process that was theoretically open to hacking.

The Dutch government said it does not have concrete evidence hacking attempts have been made in recent years. However, after the reports of Russian influence in the US elections, the possibility is on everyone's minds.

Voting itself is done on paper in pencil and the contents of the ballot boxes are counted by hand.

Municipalities and the Dutch Association for Citizens' Affairs, involved in the counting the votes, requested a meeting with Plasterk to discuss the practicalities of the plan.

The Dutch Electoral Council had said that with the software now banned, the chance of people making counting mistakes was higher, and that the final tally would be delayed.

To accommodate them Plasterk said he agreed they could use technology to help them count, like a spreadsheet programme, as long as the machines they are accessed on are offline. The results should also be transferred to the electoral districts on paper.

The Dutch government has previously said it was “very, very alert” to potential foreign influence in the elections.

EUobserved

MPs and media create Brexit hacking scare

A report by British MPs said it cannot rule out that a cyber attack caused a voter registration website to crash, but also admitted it had "no direct evidence" of Russian or Chinese influence.

Opinion

The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik

If, as the EU claims, the Eastern Partnership summit is not a format for conflict resolution, where else will the security issues that hold the region back be resolved?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya