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EVM Row: 'Anything Can Be Hacked,' Elon Musk Tells Former IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar

"Technically ur (you are) right - anything is possible... But thats a different type of a conversatn (conversation) from EVMs being secure n (and) reliable vis a vis paper voting. And we can agree to disagree," Chandrasekhar wrote, while responding to Musk.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar (L) and Elon Musk. 
Photos: X and Steve Jurvetson/Flickr CC BY 2.0

New Delhi: After Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar claimed that Indian electronic voting machines (EVMs) are “secure” and “isolated” while responding to a statement on EVMs made by tech giant Elon Musk, the latter on Sunday (June 16) rubbished Chandrasekhar’s claim.

The virtual discussion started as Musk on Saturday said on X, “We should eliminate electronic voting machines.” He was reacting to a social media post by Independent US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Junior on voting irregularities related to EVMs in Puerto Rico’s primary elections. 

“The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high,” the SpaceX, Tesla and X Corp owner added.

Meanwhile, in a detailed post on X, Chandrasekhar suggested that Musk was making “huge sweeping generalisation statement” adding that his “view may apply to US and other places – where they use regular compute platforms to build Internet connected voting machines”.

Also read: Election Commission’s FAQs on EVMs Don’t Really Address Major Design Deficiencies

“But 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,” Chandrasekhar added.

Replying to Chandrasekhar, Musk said, “Anything can be hacked.” Interestingly, the former minister agreed that “technically” Musk was right while reiterating that the conversation related to EVMs being secure and reliable is “different”.

“Technically ur (you are) right – anything is possible E.g..wth quantum compute, i can decrypt any level of encryption, with lab level tech n plenty of resources, i can hack any digital hardware/system incldng (including) flight controls of a glass cockpit of a jet etc etc. But thats a different type of a conversatn (conversation) from EVMs being secure n (and) reliable vis a vis paper voting. And we can agree to disagree,” Chandrasekhar wrote.

Notably, The Wire has reported that in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission data from 543 parliamentary constituencies shows that except for a few constituencies like Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Attingal in Kerala, the number of EVM votes counted differs from that of EVM votes polled.

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