[Cryptography] Questions about crypto that lay people want to understand

John Levine johnl at iecc.com
Mon Dec 21 11:22:39 EST 2015

Far be it from me to disagree with my old friend Arnold, but,

>> * If HTTPS is good enough for
>> my bank account, how come I
>> can't use it to vote?  Why
>> do I have to vote in person?
>Some here would question your premise that HTTPS is good enough for banking. ...

As others have noted, they're fundamentally different problems.  In
banking (online or off) the bank knows every detail of the
transaction.  In voting, they need to reliably record your ballot, but
in a way that doesn't tie a ballot's contents to a person, which turns
out to be amazingly hard if you're not dropping paper ballots into a
locked box.

For voting, another reason for doing it in person by yourself is to
make it harder for anyone else to coerce your vote.  We realize that
in places like Oregon that do vote by mail, they either don't
understand or don't care about this threat.

>> * Speaking of banking, will
>> digital currency replace
>> paper money?
>I’ll leave this one to others.

I would have said never until I sent my daughter off to college with a
debit card on a shared bank account.  The bank statement is a stream
of tiny transactions, many for less than $2 for cups of coffee at the
school's cafe.  The only place she pays cash is her laundry, paid for
from a roll of quarters she keeps in her apartment, and only because
this building has older machines than the last one where the machines
took her debit card, too.


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