Nearly 140 West Virginians living abroad in 29 countries have cast their election ballots in an unprecedented pilot project that involves voting remotely by mobile device, according to state officials. The statewide pilot, which covers 24 of West Virginia's 55 counties, uses a mixture of smartphones, facial recognition and the same technology that underpins bitcoin -- the blockchain -- in an effort to create a large-scale and secure way for service members, Peace Corps volunteers or other Americans living overseas to participate in the midterm elections. West Virginia is the first state to run a blockchain-based voting project at such a scale, state officials say. And if adopted more widely, the technology could make it easier to vote and potentially reduce long lines at the polls. But many security experts worry that the technology may not be ready for broader use -- and could even contain vulnerabilities that risks the integrity of elections.
Evolution inevitably involves the creation of new problems, and the big tech stories of the year show that this goes for IT just like anything else. While the internet has brought the world closer together, it also paved the way for fake news and new forms of espionage. The rise of AI has humans worried about being replaced. Chip makers are consolidating and scrambling to retool to meet the demands of virtual reality and the internet of things. And while Apple removed legacy ports on its new devices, a lot of users are grumbling about needing adapters for their favorite headphones and other peripherals.