Free Speech For People Senior Advisor on Election Security Susan Greenhalgh was recently featured in a new Washington Post story which revealed that the United States Postal Service secretly built and tested a blockchain-based mobile phone voting system prior to the 2020 election. At the direction of the USPS, researchers at the University of Colorado evaluated the system and found that blockchain actually made the already insecure mobile voting application less secure.

The researchers presented their findings to the USPS over two years ago but the Postal Service  did not publish the report. During that time West Virginia, and counties in Colorado, Utah and Oregon deployed a blockchain mobile voting application, purported to be secure.

“It’s scandalous for a government entity to conduct research into the security of blockchain online voting, which shows how insecure it is, but then hide the results and deprive the public and officials of these findings for over two years,” said Greenhalgh.

The following is an excerpt from the new piece:

But the system didn’t protect against the numerous ways hackers might fake or corrupt votes, the University of Colorado researchers said. Those include impersonating voters, attacking the blockchain system itself so votes can’t be trusted, flooding the system with information so it becomes too overwhelmed to function, and using techniques that undermine voters’ privacy and the secrecy of the ballot. The researchers were able to successfully perform all those hacks during a mock election held on campus.

“Based on our research, this actually causes more problems than it solves,” Shawn M. Emery, one of the researchers and a PhD candidate in cybersecurity, said. “If three researchers can do this much damage, I can’t imagine what a nation-state actor with millions of dollars in its budget could do in order to break this election system in multiple ways.

Read the full piece in the Washington Post here.