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GIS EXCLUSIVE: Security features of the automated polls must be guarded – IT expert

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 15 February 2019 05:13 PM

Former chair of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and now corporate secretary of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Atty. Ivan John Enrile Uy on the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The automated election system’s source code goes through thorough scrutiny to ensure that not a single glitch will jeopardize the conduct of the elections.

One of the experts who conduct the review is Atty. Ivan John Enrile Uy, the former chair of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and now corporate secretary of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce.

Uy stressed that the Commission and Election (Comelec) and Smartmatic should present to them the diagram and the servers where the election results will go through during the elections process.

“Walang problema sa technology. The technology works. The transmissions work. The VCM (vote counting machine) counting, it’s accurate. But the checks and balances, the security features, if they are activated, we will have a very good system,” Uy said.

Uy recalled that during the 2013 and 2016 polls, they noticed several irregularities in the process of the automated election.

One was the use of a queue server which was not made known to them prior to the conduct of the polls.

In 2016, they were only asked to review three software programs when there were actually 10 software programs involved in the elections.

“We found out na itong diagram na ito, may server pala dito,” Uy said while he explained what happened during the 2016 polls.

“May dinadaanan na server bago makarating dito. Hindi sinabi sa amin. Tinatanong namin: ‘Anong ginagawa ng server dyan? Sabi nyo sa amin direkta yan'”, he recalled referring to the confusion created by the said queue server.

The IT expert said that fraudulent acts during elections cannot be totally eradicated even if it’s automated. If ballot switching can be done in manual elections, SD card switching can also happen in automated polls.

Meanwhile, transmission of election results remains in question now in the 2019 polls such as the claim of Senator Tito Sotto.

“Ang layunin ng gumamit ng automated election is to minimize. It cannot eliminate itong mga dayaan. It can minimize or it can enhance depending on how you use automation,” he explained.

Manipulation of election results is still possible especially if the operators of the system, such as Comelec and Smartmatic, will conspire to do so.

“Example lang itong sa 2016, since this is the most recent. May gumalaw sa server habang tumatakbo ang eleksyon. Si Marlon Garcia, siya ang head ng Smartmatic. May kinorek daw. Violation iyan ng best practices,” he argued.

With this, Uy urged that the former head of Smartmatic Marlon Garcia and former Comelec chair Andy Bautista, to come out and shed light on whether election rigging that happened in the previous polls.

The former CICT chair challenged the Comelec to be transparent to gain the full trust of the public in the upcoming May 2019 elections. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Ex-poll official to testify in Senate on alleged discrepancies of VCM’s data in May 2016 elections

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 2 February 2018 09:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System (AES) wants to inquire on the alleged discrepancies of data in vote counting machines (VCM) in some regions used in the May 2016 elections.

Senator Francis Escudero said a former poll official approached him last year and told him that there were discrepancies in the data in the backup and main drives of the VCMs.

“May printout kaming nakuha, pero mas magandang mangaling sa testigo mismo na nagsasabing hindi mirror image yung back-up drive nung main drive,” said Escudero.

(We got hold of a printout, but it would be better if it actually came from the witness who will confirm that the backup drive of the main drive is not a mirror image.)

One of the features of the VCMs that were used in the May 2016 elections was that once a physical ballot is fed in the VCM, it will scan the ballot and will store the image in the SD card.

The committee wants to know how many backup drives were able to transmit and their possible implications on the result of the votes.

“Ang sunod na tanong ilan ba sa backup drive ang ginamit dahil kung hindi siya accurate picture o carbon copy ng main drive e mag-iiba ang result to a certain degree to what extent hindi ko alam,” said Escudero.

(The next question is how many of the backup drives were used because if it’s not an accurate picture or carbon copy of the main drive, the result will change to a certain degree. To what extent, I don’t know.)

But despite this, outgoing acting poll Chairman Christian Robert Lim assures there are no discrepancies in the data based on their official records.

“Ang sa akin kapag hindi magmatch yung main at backup, ibig sabihin hindi makalabas ng resulta ang machine. Medyo kakaiba iyon, but we are confident that this system was tested,” said Lim.

(In my opinion, if the main and backup do not match, it means the machine would not have been able to release results. It’s uncommon but we are confident that this system was tested.)

The committee clarified that the inquiry has nothing to do with the protest of former senator and losing vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos.

Marcos claimed that there is an anomaly when he presented some of the copies of ballot images from the 2016 elections. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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