France E-voting blunder as portal requires out-of-date Java Mozilla Firefox plugin
We're all for bringing voting to the 21st century - as long as it is done right and retains the sanctity of the voting box.
It's a swing and a miss for France, as it updates its voting system, with the introduction of an online voting portal for overseas citizens in the upcoming legislative elections. The UK is comparatively neanderthal in its approach towards new voting methods to encourage a high turnout, but perhaps the trepidation has a reason behind it.
As Benoit Jacob recently pointed out in a blogpost, the team at the French government haven't exactly done the best job, as it doesn't support Java 1.7, with the portal requiring an out-of-date Java plugin. This has been blocked by Firefox for security reasons, potentially putting voters at risk when at the voting booth.
Rather than fix the problem, the French government have instead brushed the entire thing under the carpet, encouraging voters to use another browser to avoid using the old Java plugin. Rather than recommending users to download the latest Firefox supported version of Java 1.6.32, keeping the insecure option of Java 1.6.30 and below is apparently the best choice.
Jacob adds that:
It seems that Firefox doesn’t block the newest revisions of Java 1.6 (only 1.6.30 and below are blocked). Assuming that’s correct, the French government’s message asking users to switch to a different browser is unfounded.
Nothing like voter choice is there? To add further insult to injury, Jacob says that Oracle's Java is supported, yet OpenJDK isn't. So, to vote in the French leglislative elections, you need to expose yourself to older unsupported Java plugins.
Well, at least it's a start towards modern voting, but this should have been done so much better.