Intuitive cryptography that's also practical and secure.

Ed Gerck edgerck at
Fri Jan 26 20:54:52 EST 2007

Matt Blaze wrote:
> an even more important problem
> than psychic debunking, namely electronic voting. I think "intuitive
> cryptography" is a very important open problem for our field.

The first problem of voting is that neither side (paper vote vs e-vote)
accepts that voting is hard to do right -- and that we have not done
it yet. Paper is not the "gold standard" of voting.

The real-world voting problem is actually much harder than people think.
Voting is an open-loop process with an intrinsic "vote gap", such that
no one may know for sure what the vote cast actually was -- unless one
is willing to sacrifice the privacy of the vote. This problem is

A solution [1], however, exists, where one can fully preserve privacy
and security, if a small (as small as you need) margin of error is
accepted. Because the margin of error can be made as small as
one needs and is willing to pay, it is not really relevant. Even when
all operational procedures and flaws including fraud and bugs are
taken into account.

The solution seems fairly intuitive. In fact, it was used about 500
years by the Mogul in India to prevent fraud.

The solution is also technologically neutral, but has more chances for
success, and less cost, with e-voting.

Ed Gerck

[1] In Shannon's cryptography terms, the solution reduces the probability
of existence of a covert channel to a value as close to zero as we want.
This is done by adding different channels of information, as intentional
redundancy. See
I can provide more details on the fraud model, in case of interest.

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