I’m in Louvain-la-Neuve at the Université Catholique de Louvain where Helios Voting is being deployed to 25,000 voters, and I just had dinner with Olivier Pereira, the guy who’s doing a fantastic job leading the project here at UCL. We discussed the issue of activists and how they often seem to believe that they know exactly what the acceptable level of system complexity is for the public to understand. Well apparently, it turns out that Belgian activists are a noticeable notch more knowledgeable than US activists. At a public seminar a few months ago, one of them said:
I certainly understand if you want to use RSA encryption, that would be acceptable and the public would understand. But El Gamal? That’s way too complicated, and thus unacceptable.
And so, as Olivier points out, it seems that the Belgian Public Understanding bar is somewhere between RSA and El Gamal. I’m guessing hash functions are also obvious, but no word yet on which side of the bar Diffie-Hellman belongs.