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Microsoft Unveils Software for Secure, Verifiable Voting

The ElectionGuard SDK will be available through GitHub beginning this summer

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Logo of Microsoft outside it's office. Pixabay

In a bid to help countries ensure secure and verifiable voting, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has announced “ElectionGuard” — a free open-source software development kit (SDK).

“ElectionGuard” will enable end-to-end verification of elections, open results to third-party organisations for secure validation, and allow individual voters to confirm their votes were correctly counted, announced Nadella during the keynote at Microsoft Build developer conference here on Monday.

“‘ElectionGuard’ will make voting secure, more accessible, and more efficient anywhere it’s used in the US or in democratic nations around the world,” said Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust.

Developed with Galois, “ElectionGuard” will be available starting this summer to election officials and election technology suppliers who can incorporate the technology into voting systems.

“We currently have partnerships with election technology suppliers responsible for more than half of the voting machines sold in the US,” Burt added.

“ElectionGuard” is not intended to replace paper ballots but rather to supplement and improve systems that rely on them, and it is not designed to support internet voting.

“ElectionGuard” is verifiable, allowing voters and third-party organisations to verify election results.

It is also secure, auditable and open source — free and flexible with the ability to be used with off-the-shelf hardware.

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FILE – Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

“ElectionGuard” provides each voter a tracker with a unique code that can be used to follow an encrypted version of the vote through the entire election process via a web portal provided by election authorities.

During the process of vote-casting, voters have an optional step that allows them to confirm that their trackers and encrypted votes accurately reflect their selections.

But once a vote is cast, neither the tracker nor any data provided through the web portal can be used to reveal the contents of the vote.

After the election is complete, the tracker codes can be used by voters to confirm that their votes were not altered or tampered with and that they were properly counted, said Microsoft.

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Voters, candidates, news media and any observers can run verifiers of their own or downloaded from sources of their choosing to confirm tabulations are as reported.

On the security front, “ElectionGuard” uses something called homomorphic encryption – which enables mathematical procedures a” like counting – to be done with fully encrypted data.

The ElectionGuard SDK will be available through GitHub beginning this summer. (IANS)

Next Story

Microsoft’s Corporate Venture Fund to Empower Women-led Enterprise Startups in India

In a recent study by MassChallenge and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), women-founded businesses delivered more than two times as much revenue per dollar invested than their male counterparts

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FILE - A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

In a bid to empower women entrepreneurs, Microsoft corporate venture fund M12 on Thursday partnered with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures to announce $6 million competition for women-led enterprise startups in India, the US, Europe, Canada and Israel.

In its second year, the “Female Founders Competition” will help accelerate funding for women entrepreneurs developing software-as-a-service (SaaS) and deep tech solutions.

Four winning companies will receive a total of $6 million in venture funding, along with access to technology, resources, mentoring and other benefits, the company said in a statement.

“The tech industry can’t afford to keep leaving women’s good ideas on the table. We need to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, and together with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, we aim to do just that with our second Female Founders Competition,” Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Microsoft.

Submissions for the competition are open from October 17 to December.

Companies will be eligible to apply if they have at least one female founder, have raised no more than $5 million in combined equity funding and/or debt loans upon date of application, and offer or intend to release a product, service or platform addressing a critical business problem for a global market.

A live finals pitch competition will take place March 18-19 2020, with the announcement of winners to follow shortly thereafter.

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FILE – Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Two enterprise software startups will earn investment awards of $2 million each, and two deep tech startups innovating through substantial scientific and research advances will earn investment awards of $1 million each, said Microsoft.

Early this year, Microsoft announced that its corporate venture fund M12 will invest in Indian startups with a funding size of $2 million to $10 million.

M12 announced its first India investment in the healthcare SaaS (software-as-a-service) startup called “Innovaccer”.

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As the corporate venture arm for Microsoft, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) invests in enterprise software companies in the Series A through C funding stage.

In a recent study by MassChallenge and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), women-founded businesses delivered more than two times as much revenue per dollar invested than their male counterparts.

“We are thrilled to partner with M12 and Pivotal Ventures on this innovative Female Founders Competition, through which we will find and invest in women creating built-to-last enterprise companies,” said Navin Chaddha, Managing Director, Mayfield. (IANS)