The Download: voting machines, and paying with your palm

Estimated read time 2 min read

For the past 19 years, computer science professor Juan Gilbert has immersed himself in perhaps the most contentious debate over election administration in the United States—what role, if any, touch-screen ballot-marking devices should play in the voting process.

While advocates claim that electronic voting systems can be relatively secure, improve accessibility, and simplify voting and vote tallying, critics have argued that they are insecure and should be used as infrequently as possible. 

As for Gilbert? He claims he’s finally invented “the most secure voting technology ever created.” And he’s invited several of the most respected and vocal critics of voting technology to prove his point. Read the full story.

—Spencer Mestel

Would you pay with your palm?

On October 14, a Chinese tech publication reported that Tencent had quietly launched a feature in WeChat that allows users to pay by verifying their palm prints. But while it quickly made headlines in China, there’s only a handful of registered trademarks to show Tencent has in fact been developing such a technology.

Enter Chinese social media. On popular video apps there are a handful of videos proving that Tencent has been testing palm-print payment devices in cafes, bakeries, and supermarkets since at least July. 

Their existence reaffirms how hard it is to know what’s happening in China from the outside, but also how video platforms are replacing traditional sites to become the place where people express themselves and document their lives. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

This story is from China Report, Zeyi’s new weekly newsletter covering the latest comings and goings in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

Zeyi is one of MIT Technology Review’s reporters and editors taking to the stage today at EmTech, our annual conference covering emerging technology and global trends.

Follow along with our liveblog, which will cover all the latest announcements and news from the MIT Media Lab in Boston at EmTech. It’s also not too late to register for an online ticket to watch for yourself.

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