|Industry||Electronic voting, Information Technology|
Scytl Secure Electronic Voting, S.A 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. In June 2020, Scytl entered into administration.
It became profitable in 2006, and in 2014, it reported 70% annual revenue growth. It bought SOE Software in 2012. 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.
In 2017, Scytl reported having 600 employees, of which a third were in Barcelona. In 2016, it divided itself into three companies:
- 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.
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.
The company's systems have been implemented in numerous countries, 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.
On 11 May 2020, facing debts of over 75 million euro, Scytl initiated bankruptcy proceedings with a view to sell its business to the U.S. investment fund Sandton Capital. On 2 June 2020, a Spanish court declared Scytl bankrupt and started the process of auctioning off its assets.
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.
In 2014, Scytl reported having customers in more than 35 countries. Their products have been used in the following jurisdictions, among others:
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. The iVote system is an internet and telephone voting solution that allows persons with disabilities and voters with accessibility problems to vote remotely. 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. 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.
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.
Scytl and idox provide the Maltese "eCount" electronic vote counting system that is to be used beginning in 2019.
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.
Scytl partnered with Tecnocom to provide results consolidation and publication technology in the 2015 Spanish General elections. In May 2019, Scytl will partner with Vector ITC to consolidate and publish the preliminary results of the municipal and European elections in Spain.
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. 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.
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. 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 code that would allow the system's operator to alter votes undetected. Because of the deficiencies, Swiss authorities disallowed the use of Scytl's e-voting system in the Swiss referenda of 19 May 2019, and it has not been used since. Swiss Post purchased the rights to the software from Scytl in 2020 as the company faced bankruptcy.
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