The voting for the 1st phase of Gujarat assembly elections began today and media is already flooded with controversies of EVM malfunctioning. We just reported how Twitter users accused NDTV of spreading panic about malfunctioning EVMs.
This has now been topped by controversial journalist Sagarika Ghose’s reporting, which supposedly sought to spread amusing allegations of EVMs being hacked via Bluetooth:
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) December 9, 2017
As per her, a congress leader Arjun Modhwadia had alleged that EVMs in his constituency were picking up Bluetooth signals which could have resulted in possible network hacking. Before going any further, for the sake of it, lets examine the veracity of these allegations.
A few month ago a political party named the Aam Aadmi Party was pioneering high decibel outrage by alleging all forms of EVM tampering. In order to achieve its goal, its supremo Arvind Kejriwal were seen spreading desperate lies to prove EVM tampering.
In order to set the record straight, the Election Commission in April had issued FAQs about the security features in its EVMs [PDF].
The second question in the booklet was, Are the ECI-EVMs Hackable.
After answering it with a quick no. The EC then explained further. This was one paragraph in that answer:
As seen above, the EC clarified that EVMs are standalone machines and are not connected to networks at any point of time. The EVMs also don’t have any frequency receivers or decoders thus no tampering is possible via mediums like wireless, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
So the Election Commission back in April had debunked Bluetooth tampering allegations which the Congress leaders are now possibly ‘inventing’.
Being a senior journalist with such a vast experience covering elections, one would expect Ms. Ghose to be well versed in such basic general knowledge of EVMs. If she indeed wasn’t aware of the facts, maybe she could have surfed the internet to find the truth, like we did.
The opposition leaders are almost expected to make silly allegations but if one considers himself/herself a responsible journalist, then it is expected that a basic fact check is carried out before reporting.
People predictably weren’t letting Ms. Ghose off the hook and decided to pan her by cracking hilarious jokes:
Got a call from a Surat friend he’s saying he heard a strange song blaring out of EVM of his polling booth “tel lagao dabur ka, naam mita do …”
— iMac_too (@iMac_too) December 9, 2017
Friend in Surat says when he pressed button on EVM, his Aadhar was linked to his mobile phone number, and Paytm wallet linked with that number automatically transferred 500 rupees to BJP.
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) December 9, 2017
One EVM in Gujarat has been arrested after it was caught drinking Old Monk.
— Hemant (@bija_hem) December 9, 2017
— Freelance Er.. (@Gujju_Er) December 9, 2017
Friend in Gujarat called and say when they pressed BJP’s button on the EVMs it started playing “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you .. Happy Birthday Dear Sonia, Happy Birthday to you” ?
— Yo Yo Funny Singh (@moronhumor) December 9, 2017
Even rebel AAP leader decided to take potshots:
next will be toothbrush picking bluetooth signals https://t.co/BzQLjQhhDu
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) December 9, 2017
Now media reports have emerged which signal that the opposition in deliberately indulging in confusion creating tactics, to peddling this wireless hacking narrative:
EC finds no truth in allegations by Congress candidate pertaining to 'wifi hacking' of EVMs in Porbandar. ECI finds that BSP polling agent had put his mobile wifi hotspot namely ECO 105 on. EVMs are stand alone units without any connectivity to wifi, blue tooth, usb or else
— DeshGujarat (@DeshGujarat) December 9, 2017