Scytl

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Scytl
TypePrivate
IndustryElectronic voting, Information Technology
Founded2001; 20 years ago (2001)
Headquarters,
ParentService Point Solutions (of Paragon Group)[1]
SubsidiariesSOE Software
Websitescytl.com

Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, S.A (also stylized SCYTL) is a Spanish provider of electronic voting systems and election technology. Founded in 2001 in Barcelona, its products and services are used in elections and referenda across the world.

Scytl is owned by Paragon Group. Scytl is one of the largest election services companies, as is its competitor Dominion Voting Systems.[2]

History[edit]

Scytl was founded in 2001,[3] and grew out of a cryptography research project[4] at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The name is a reference to the scytale, an ancient cryptographic tool.[5]

It became profitable in 2006, and in 2014, it reported 70% annual revenue growth.[6] It bought SOE Software in 2012.[3] It intended to go public in 2016, but delayed the IPO because of poor performance in developing markets and decided to focus on developed country markets as well as on election solutions for non-government customers.[7]

In 2017, Scytl reported having 600 employees, of which a third were in Barcelona. In 2016, it divided itself into three companies:[8]

  • the original Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, which develops voting software,
  • Scytl Voting Hardware SL, which develops voting hardware, owned by Scytl and an anonymous Dubai-based investor, and
  • Civiti (formerly OpenSeneca), which focuses on civic participation services.

The company's systems have been implemented in numerous countries,[9][10] but problems have cropped up over the years in some of its solutions and voting systems, including those used in Australia, Ecuador, Norway and Switzerland.[11]

Investors[edit]

Scytl was funded by venture capital. It raised $9 million in 2006 from investors including Balderton Capital and Nauta Capital, and $104 million in 2014 in multiple funding rounds from investors including Vulcan Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Vy Capital, Adams Street Partners and Industry Ventures.[6] Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates) invested $40 million in 2014.[12]

Acquisitions and cooperations[edit]

In 2012, Scytl acquired the American company SOE Software ("Supervisors of Elections"[13]),located in Tampa.[14] SOE implemented Scytl technologies in the United States.[15]

In 2013 Scytl acquired the software division of Gov2U,[16] a company partnered with the National Democratic Institute.[17]

Scytl became a partner of Amazon Web Services by November 2018.[18] They host their services on Amazon's cloud platform.[19]

2020 bankruptcy and recovery[edit]

On 11 May 2020, facing debts of over €75 million, Scytl initiated bankruptcy proceedings with a view to selling its business to the U.S. investment fund Sandton Capital.[20] On 2 June 2020, a Spanish court declared Scytl bankrupt and started the process of auctioning off its assets.[21]

In late October, the Paragon Group subsidiary "Service Point Solutions" acquired Scytl including its U.S. subsidiary SOE.[1]

Products[edit]

Scytl's products covered the entire election process, including election planning, online voter registration, poll worker management, electronic ballot delivery, online voting, results consolidation and election night reporting.[3][6]

Customers[edit]

In 2014, Scytl reported having customers in more than 35 countries.[6] Their products have been used in the following jurisdictions, among others:

Australia[edit]

In 2018, the authorities of New South Wales selected Scytl to provide the software for the state's "iVote" online voting system until 2022 for $1.9 million.[22] The iVote system is an internet and telephone voting solution that allows persons with disabilities and voters with accessibility problems to vote remotely.[23] During the 2015 election, researchers uncovered vulnerabilities in the iVote system which could be used to manipulate votes, violate ballot privacy and subvert the verification mechanism.[24] However, in a public statement, the NSW Electoral Commission clarified that the vulnerability was not related to the online voting system but to the publicly accessible SSL certificate on the Piwik website, the web analytics tool used by the Commission.[25][26]

Ecuador[edit]

Scytl ran voting machines in several parts of Ecuador in 2014. They were supposed to produce results within 72 hours, but ran into a variety of problems and took over a month.[27][11]

European Union[edit]

In 2014, a consortium created by Scytl and TNS opinion provided real-time electoral projections and results consolidation and dissemination across the 28 EU Member States for the European Parliament Elections held on May 22–25, 2014. The consortium collected and processed election results from all Member States providing a multi-lingual website in 24 official languages for the publication and dissemination of the European parliament election results.[28]

Malta[edit]

Scytl and idox provide the Maltese "eCount" electronic vote counting system that is to be used beginning in 2019.[29]

Norway[edit]

Scytl deployed electronic voting in Norway in 2011 in partnership with the government. A flaw in their cryptography was discovered in 2013, and 0.75% of all voters managed to vote twice in 2013, once online and once in a polling station.[30]

In 2014 Norway abandoned Scytl's Internet Voting project, due to security failures, lack of increase in turnout, and high costs.[31][30]

Russia[edit]

By autumn 2012, Scytl had partnered with Yopolis, a company started by Maxim Nogotkov as the first online participation platform in the Russian Federation. Scytl was to provide security verifying integrity of Yopolis municipal voting. Pere Valles attended the launch event in Moscow while serving as CEO of the company,[32] prior to being chairman of the board of directors in April 2018.[33]

Spain[edit]

Scytl partnered with Tecnocom to provide results consolidation and publication technology in the 2015 Spanish General elections.[34] In May 2019, Scytl will partner with Vector ITC to consolidate and publish the preliminary results of the municipal and European elections in Spain.[35][36]

Switzerland[edit]

In a joint venture with Swiss Post, Scytl provides its sVote e-voting system to several cantons that allow Swiss citizens who live abroad to take part in cantonal and federal elections and referenda electronically.[37] After the Canton of Geneva decided in 2018 to abandon the continued development of its own e-voting system, Swiss Post and Scytl remained the only e-voting providers then certified to provide e-voting services in Switzerland by the Swiss Federal Chancellery.[38]

Scytl said its sVote system used in Switzerland is "universally verifiable", but its system has been criticized as overly complex, difficult to audit and not sufficiently transparent.[11] After Swiss authorities launched a public code review, a group of researchers of the University of Melbourne, Université catholique de Louvain, and the Open Privacy Research Society reported in March 2019 that they discovered a deficiency in the leaked version of the source-code that would allow the system's operator to alter votes undetected.[39][40] Additionally, the Swiss security research group setuid(0) released several vulnerabilities in cooperation with the Swiss Post,[41][42] including an issue where a system operator could execute arbitrary code on the e-voting servers.[43] Because of the deficiencies, Swiss authorities disallowed the use of Scytl's e-voting system in the Swiss referenda of 19 May 2019,[44] and it has not been used since. Swiss Post purchased the rights to the software from Scytl in 2020 as the company faced bankruptcy.[45]

United States[edit]

In the 2016 United States elections, Scytl's technologies were used statewide in 12 U.S. states, and in another 980 local jurisdictions in 28 states.[3]

After President Donald Trump's defeat in the 2020 United States presidential election, his attorney Sidney Powell repeated an allegation made by One America News Network, Congressman Louis Gohmert and others that accurate voting results had been transmitted to a Scytl office in Germany, where they were supposedly tabulated to reveal a landslide victory for Trump, and that a company server had been seized in a raid by the United States Army.[46] Scytl denied the allegations and the Army stated the raid allegation was false.[47] Scytl affirmed having an office in Frankfurt, stating it was closed in September 2019.[48][49] The company also denied allegations that it had ties to Russia or George Soros.[50]

Recognition[edit]

The company received positive reviews from Ovum Ltd. in 2013.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Service Point Solutions, part of Paragon Group, announces the acquisition of Scytl, the Barcelona based company leader in digital voting and electoral modernization". Scytl.com. 22 October 2020. Archived from the original on 14 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Service Point Solutions, a company quoted in the Spanish Stock Exchange and part of Paragon group, announced today the acquisition of Scytl, a Barcelona based company leader in digital voting and electoral modernization. The acquisition also includes Civiciti, the citizen participation platform launched by the software company in 2016, and Scytl subsidiaries in USA, Canada, Australia, France and Greece.
  2. ^ Wilkie, Jordan (23 April 2019). "'They think they are above the law': the firms that own America's voting system". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Raskin’s bill could affect at least two of the largest election companies. Dominion Voting Systems, which is the second-largest voting machine vendor in the US, is based in both the US and Canada. Scytl, which provides election night reporting and other online election management tools, is based in Spain.
  3. ^ a b c d Heilweil, Rebecca (2 December 2017). "Nine Companies That Want To Revolutionize Voting Technology". Forbes. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Russia fears have election vendors feeling the heat". POLITICO. 24 February 2018. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Company Overview". Scytl. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Lomas, Natasha (5 August 2014). "Scytl Closes $104M To Step Up Growth Of Its Electronic Voting Platform". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Scytl remodela su cúpula: Pere Vallés asciende a presidente y nombra a un nuevo consejero delegado". kippel01 (in Spanish). 5 March 2018. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  8. ^ Galtés, Marc (20 June 2017). "Scytl se divide en tres". La Vanguardia. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  9. ^ "El Gobierno rechaza el recurso de Indra y adjudica las elecciones del 20D a Scytl". El Confidencial (in Spanish). 13 May 2016. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Indians Vote Via Web with Scytl Technology | Asia-Pacific Business and Technology Report". www.biztechreport.com. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Fichter, Adrienne. "The Tricky Business of Democracy". republik.ch (in German). Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  12. ^ https://www.catalannews.com/business/item/microsoft-s-co-founder-paul-allen-invests-40-million-in-catalan-e-voting-company-scytlM
  13. ^ "Election and Candidate Management Software". SOEsoftware.com. Archived from the original on 8 December 2002. Our Windows Election Management System, WinEMS, will revolutionize election and candidate management for Supervisors of Elections.
  14. ^ "SCYTL Acquires SOE Software, Becoming the Leading Election Software Provider". Business Wire. 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. SCYTL, the global leader in secure electronic voting technologies, announced today the acquisition of 100% of SOE Software, the leading software provider of election management solutions in the United States.
  15. ^ "Fact Checking Regarding US Elections: Debunking Fake News". Scytl.com. 13 November 2020. Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. The technologies implemented by Scytl in the US are both hosted and managed within the US, by a local subsidiary, SOE Software, based in Tampa, Florida .. The US army has not seized anything from Scytl in Barcelona, Frankfurt or anywhere else .. We are not owned by George Soros and have never been connected to him .. We are not tied to Smartmatic, SGO, Dominion or Indra
  16. ^ "Scytl acquires Gov2U's software division expanding its eDemocracy solutions portfolio". MarketWatch. 30 April 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Our Partners". Gov2U.org. Archived from the original on 12 May 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Spotlight on Elections: Voting, Cloud, and Alexa". Amazon.com. 5 November 2018. Archived from the original on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Scytl, a global AWS Partner, has successfully delivered election modernization projects in the U.S. since 2008. Most recently, for the 2016 US Presidential Election, Scytl’s technology provided over 53 million registered voters and thousands of election staff across 28 states
  19. ^ "Secure ElectionTechnology". Scytl.com. Archived from the original on 14 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Scytl products and services are hosted on Amazon Web Services, a secure cloud service platform built on sound network infrastructure.
  20. ^ Augustina, Lalo (14 May 2020). "Scytl solicita al juez la liquidación y la venta del negocio al fondo Sandton Capital". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 20 May 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  21. ^ "El juez abre la venta de Scytl y espera ofertas por la empresa hasta el 22 de junio". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 7 June 2020. Archived from the original on 15 June 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  22. ^ Hendry, Justin (30 April 2018). "NSW Electoral Commission picks Scytl to upgrade iVote". iTnews. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  23. ^ Dennis, Alex (4 March 2019). "NSW Voters can now apply for iVote ahead of the 2019 State Election". Ausdroid. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  24. ^ Halderman, J. Alex; Teague, Vanessa (2015). Haenni, Rolf; Koenig, Reto E.; Wikström, Douglas (eds.). "The New South Wales iVote System: Security Failures and Verification Flaws in a Live Online Election". E-Voting and Identity. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing. 9269: 35–53. arXiv:1504.05646. Bibcode:2015arXiv150405646H. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-22270-7_3. ISBN 9783319222707. S2CID 949517.
  25. ^ "Response from the NSW Electoral Commission to iVote security allegations". elections.nsw.gov.au. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  26. ^ "NSW iVote IT chief plays down FREAK risk". iTnews. Archived from the original on 24 April 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  27. ^ dijo, Alfons Gonzalez (24 April 2014). "¿Por qué falló la automatización de Scytl en Ecuador?". Voto digital (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Results of the 2014 European elections - Results by country - Luxembourg - European Parliament". Results of the 2014 European elections - Results by country - Luxembourg - European Parliament. Archived from the original on 29 April 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  29. ^ Galea, Albert. "Waiting time for election results to be drastically reduced with new electronic vote counting system - The Malta Independent". Independent. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  30. ^ a b "E-voting experiments end in Norway". 27 June 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Norway axes online voting experiment over security threats". VentureBeat. 27 June 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Russia's first online participation platform powered by Scytl". Scytle.com. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 14 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Scytl’s cryptographic security technology will ‘power’ Yopolis, Russia’s first online participation platform. Yopolis was launched in a public event in Moscow on November 22nd by renown businessman Maxim Nogotkov with the objective of becoming the main social network for local e-democracy in Russia. The online platform includes a variety of features to foster and facilitate citizen engagement and participation in local issues for all Russian municipalities. Scytl’s CEO Pere Valles attended the launching event in Moscow and explained Scytl’s security contribution to the platform which, among other benefits, will allow citizens to verify the integrity of the results of any voting process that takes place in Yopolis.
  33. ^ "Pere Vallès". Scytl.com. Archived from the original on 14 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. After 14 years leading Scytl as its CEO, Pere became the Chairman of Scytl’s Board of Directors in April 2018.
  34. ^ "El Gobierno rechaza el recurso de Indra y adjudica las elecciones del 20D a Scytl". El Confidencial (in Spanish). 13 May 2016. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  35. ^ "Scytl y Vector realizarán el escrutinio de las elecciones locales y al Parlamento Europeo del 26 de mayo". La Vanguardia. 28 January 2019. Archived from the original on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  36. ^ Villar, Ernesto (21 February 2019). "Así se evitarán ataques informáticos en las elecciones del 26-M". www.larazon.es (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Swiss Post, Scytl to develop e-voting system". swissinfo. 23 August 2015. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  38. ^ Wälti, Simon. "Bern muss auf private Firma bauen". Der Bund. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  39. ^ Zetter, Kim; Maiberg, Emanuel (12 March 2019). "Researchers Find Critical Backdoor in Swiss Online Voting System". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 12 March 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  40. ^ Lewis, Sarah Jamie; Pereira, Olivier; Teague, Vanessa. "Trapdoor commitments in the SwissPost e-voting shuffle proof". University of Melbourne. Archived from the original on 12 March 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  41. ^ Oliver, Wietlisbach (25 February 2019). "Jetzt wird das E-Voting der Post gehackt – und die Hacker lassen sich nicht lange bitten". Watson.
  42. ^ Tom, Sperlich (23 February 2019). "Die Schweiz kurz vor dem Härtetest ihres E-Voting-Systems". Heise.
  43. ^ "CVE-2019-25022 Detail". NIST NATIONAL VULNERABILITY DATABASE. 27 February 2021.
  44. ^ "Swiss Post's e-voting system pulled for May votes". Swissinfo. 29 March 2019. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  45. ^ "Post kauft E-Voting-System und erntet dafür Kritik". www.netzwoche.ch (in German). Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  46. ^ Bump, Philip. "Analysis | Here's how seriously you should take the Trump legal team's conspiracy theories". Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020 – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  47. ^ Joffe-Block, Jude (14 November 2020). "False reports claim election servers were seized in Germany". AP News. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  48. ^ Roose, Kevin (18 November 2020). "No, the Army didn't seize a German server showing a Trump landslide". Archived from the original on 21 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020 – via NYTimes.com.
  49. ^ "Scytl strongly denies the false information related to the U.S. elections | Scytl". www.scytl.com. Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Servers in Frankfurt were used for a specific project for the European Parliament in 2019. These back-up servers were closed in September 2019.
  50. ^ Oliver Darcy. "Company debunks conspiracy theory that its server showed a landslide for Trump". CNN. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  51. ^ Shah, Nishant (4 April 2013). "On the Radar: Scytl" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020.

External links[edit]