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Open Letter on Freedom and Internet Voting to Estonia's National Electoral Committee

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FSFE has sent an open letter to Estonia's National Electoral Committee (NEC) regarding the country's Internet voting system. We ask the NEC to release the software used in the election process as Free Software.

"Our aim is to safeguard the freedom and privacy of Estonia's citizens, and to improve the security of the election process," says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's President.

Estonia has used Internet voting for general elections since 2005. Unfortunately, the system's technology remains proprietary. Local activists have recently managed to convince the NEC to release source code for some of the software under a non-free licence, but this licence does not permit distribution of derivative works or commercial use. These arbitrary restrictions on software developed with public funds hinder security research.

"Important system components remain completely unknown to the general public. One of those components is the client side voting application that must be loaded and executed on the voter's computer," says Heiki Ojasild, Fellowship representative in FSFE's General Assembly. "There is no guarantee that this widely distributed black box functions according to voters' expectations, or that it will respect their privacy or will."

Due to the unavailability of the source code and the fact that the client side voting application is not built on Open Standards, the voter is also forced to use one of the operating systems supported by the National Electoral Committee.

FSFE has drawn the NEC's attention to these remaining problems and possible solutions. FSFE has offered the NEC its assistance and is looking forward to helping them ensure that freedom, privacy, and credibility of the elections are not forsaken in the pursuit of technological progress.