Sunday, June 13, 2021
Home News Reports BBC shares old report about 'EVM hacking' a day after BJP sweeps elections

BBC shares old report about ‘EVM hacking’ a day after BJP sweeps elections

Have you suddenly discovered some people sharing a 2010 news story of BBC on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India being vulnerable to be “hacked”? Do you think they dug that story up from the BBC website thanks to their sharp memories? Not exactly. BBC helped them.

A day after BSP supremo Mayawati made rather ridiculous allegation that EVMs were hacked that helped BJP win big in Uttar Pradesh, BBC News recycled an old news article that claimed that EVMs could be “hacked”. They shared the article on their Facebook page at around 9 PM on Sunday, but deleted it a couple of hours later.

What was dishonest was that while sharing it on Facebook, the article – titled “US scientists ‘hack’ India electronic voting machines” and originally published in May 2010 – BBC News didn’t clarify that they were sharing an old article. In absence of which, it appeared as if Mayawati’s ridiculous claims were now validated by “US scientists”.

The original article referred to an old controversy, which ironically was triggered after the BJP lost the 2009 general elections. Although senior BJP leaders didn’t officially support this ‘EVM hacking’ theory, there were concerns raised back then by various people after a techie named Hari K Prasad claimed that EVMs could be manipulated.

Hari Prasad had teamed up with a professor and couple of students of computer science at University of Michigan, who are referred to as “US scientists” in the BBC News headline. They had claimed that with some underhand hardware changes, the EVMs could be programmed to favour a particular candidate.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had back then disputed the claims and issued a clarification (pdf link) reiterating that EVMs were safe. In fact, the Congress government had arrested Hari Prasad on charges of “stealing” an EVM – an act that was opposed by many including Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu.

ECI has since then maintained that enough precautions and security measures are taken to keep the EVMs safe from manipulation. Even going by the claims of Hari Prasad and his team, one needed to physically tamper the EVMs (to make minor hardware changes) to manipulate the results, which technically is not “hacking” as the term is typically used for software manipulation.

Even in their detailed response (pdf link) to the latest allegations by Mayawati, ECI has pointed out about the security measures and how every EVM has a seal signed by representatives of political parties. Therefore, any attempt to physically tamper the EVMs can be spotted by the representatives of such parties. The original complaint by the BSP (pdf link) doesn’t mention any proof of such tampering being observed by its representatives.

One expects that a ‘reputed’ media organisation like the BBC News would be aware of these facts and if at all it touches upon the story of EVM manipulation, they will highlight these aspects. However, like a cheap dishonest clickbait website, BBC News pushed out an old report, which can only help in pushing a propaganda currently being propagated by certain political parties.

This chicanery by BBC News was spotted by many of its readers, who bashed the news organisation on its Facebook page, after which BBC deleted the Facebook post. However, by then the article was shared over 2000 times, thus misleading thousands of people into potentially believing that Mayawati’s allegations were backed by some US scientists. Some are now sharing the old article of their own.

BBC’s intentions are suspect because while they deleted the old news from their Facebook page after users bashed them, an article on similar theme referring to the same 2010 incident was published on their Hindi website.

While ECI claims that the technology is foolproof and enough precautions are taken, to do away with concerns of manipulation, the Supreme Court of India had suggested having a paper trail along with the EVMs i.e. a voter will get a ‘receipt’ showing whom he had voted for, and the same receipt can then be submitted in a ballot box. In case of dispute over EVM numbers, the paper ballots can be counted. Such EVMs were tried, rather unsuccessfully, at a few places in the recently concluded Punjab assembly elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has encouraged this proposed system of having a paper trail along with the EVMs. Last year he had asked start-ups to come up with technologies that can help the Election Commission implement it successfully.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

PM Modi kills the manufactured stories about his rift with Yogi Adityanath with just three words

In a rare gesture, PM Modi publicly praised Yogi Adityanath for a scheme amid the manufactured reports about rift between the two

Indian embassy in Turkey shuts up Turkish state-run publication for peddling Pakistani propaganda against India

State-run news agency of Turkey publishes Pakistani propaganda saying India issuing fake domicile certificates in Kashmir

Mumbai: Video of a car sinking in a hole within seconds goes viral after incessant rains. Watch

The car has been pulled out with the help of a crane from the 40 feet deep well and no injuries have been reported.

Punjab Elections 2022: As political landscape warms up, will Dalit votes be the game changer?

After breaking off the alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, the BJP has nothing to lose in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. How will the politics play out as elections draw close

Culture of political violence in West Bengal: How the Islamist challenge can turn an already very bad situation into much worse

The outbreak of political violence in West Bengal since Mamata Banerjee's victory shows no signs of abating.

How a ‘liberal’ filmmaker went from criticising Rahul Gandhi to saying ‘I am on your side’ and what it shows

Congress and their loyalists are still not able to get over the shock of not only losing 2019 elections, but BJP outperforming them and itself from the previous term.

Recently Popular

Leaked Clubhouse chats: Here is what senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh promised to a Pakistan-origin journalist about Kashmir

During conversation with a Pakistani-origin journalist on Clubhouse app, Congress leader Digvijay Singh promised to reinstate Article 370

‘Decline is on’: Pakistanis furious after Saudi Arabia eases ‘guardianship rules’ for women

Saudi Arabia has allowed single, widowed, and divorced women to stay independently without the prior approval of male guardian

‘Scientists were threatened Anthony Fauci and his gang will destroy careers and reputation’: Indian experts make explosive claims after emails become public

Anthony Fauci has found himself in the eye of the storm after thousands of his emails were revealed to the world.

Honour killing of Pakistani girl in Italy: Victim’s cousin arrested in France, parents who fled to Pakistan and two other missing accused wanted by...

Ikram Ijaz, one of victim Saman Abbas’ cousins, was arrested in Nimes in France and was later handed over to Italy

India not to allow return of four Kerala-based women who had joined Islamic State, at least 3 of them are converts: Details

Indian Govt is unlikely to allow four women from Kerala who had left to join Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP).

How a ‘liberal’ filmmaker went from criticising Rahul Gandhi to saying ‘I am on your side’ and what it shows

Congress and their loyalists are still not able to get over the shock of not only losing 2019 elections, but BJP outperforming them and itself from the previous term.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
552,744FollowersFollow
24,300SubscribersSubscribe