Stress-Testing Democracy: Election Integrity During a Global Pandemic

Conference:  BlackHat USA 2020



The keynote speaker discusses the importance of election security and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The history of technology in US elections and the importance of trust in the integrity of election mechanisms
  • The increasing interrelation between technology supply chains, social media, and government data collection
  • The need for a US industrial policy that considers privacy, human rights, and civil liberties
  • The challenges posed by interference, misinformation, and new technologies in the upcoming US presidential election
  • The speaker's expertise in election security and his work in public education and advocacy
The speaker highlights the security properties of paper ballots and the importance of ballot secrecy. He also discusses his involvement in cracking encrypted police radio communications to expose flaws in the technology.


Technologists have long warned that much of the technology and infrastructure we depend on for voting suffers from exploitable vulnerabilities that could be used to cast doubt on the integrity of elections. Those problems are extremely challenging under normal circumstances, but a global pandemic adds a new dimension to the mix: protecting the health of voters and election workers. How do we securely and robustly scale up safer, broadly accessible voting mechanisms between now and November? This talk will explore the challenges - technological, logistical, and political - of keeping our elections running during a crisis.