Elon Musk doubles down with 'Anything can be hacked' jab as BJP leader defends India's EVM

07:05PM Sun 16 Jun, 2024

BJP leader and former Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Sunday strongly rebutted tech mogul Elon Musk's call to eliminate electronic voting machines (EVMs), arguing that secure digital hardware is indeed achievable. Musk sparked a debate over the security of EVMs, suggesting that they should be eliminated due to the risk of being hacked by humans or artificial intelligence.

“We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high,” Musk posted on X while reacting to American politician and conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s concern over the issues with EVMs in Puerto Rico's recent primary elections.

Chandrasekhar, who served as the Minister of State for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in the previous government, characterised Musk's assertion as a "huge sweeping generalization" that fails to recognise the possibility of creating secure digital hardware.

"This is a huge sweeping generalization statement that implies no one can build secure digital hardware. Wrong," Chandrasekhar wrote.
The BJP leader said Musk's concerns might apply to countries where voting machines are built using standard computing platforms with Internet connectivity, they do not apply to India.

“Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media - No connectivity, no bluetooth, wifi, Internet. ie there is no way in. Factory programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed.”

Chandrasekhar also offered to provide a tutorial on how to properly design and build secure electronic voting machines. "Electronic voting machines can be architected and built right as India has done. We would be happy to run a tutorial Elon."

Musk responded to Chandrasekhar saying, “Anything can be hacked”.

Kennedy, who is running for the US presidential elections as an independent candidate, had cited an Associated Press report on "hundreds of voting irregularities" and stressed the importance of a paper trail to identify and correct such issues.

“Luckily, there was a paper trail so the problem was identified and vote tallies corrected. What happens in jurisdictions where there is no paper trail?” RFK posted.

“US citizens need to know that every one of their votes were counted, and that their elections cannot be hacked. We need to return to paper ballots to avoid electronic interference with elections. My administration will require paper ballots and we will guarantee honest and fair elections.”