… all the hard work of the candidates and their supporters can be negated by what Information Technology people call the Automated Garci – or the automated dagdag-bawas operation. How dagdag-bawas operations can be pulled off with the automated electoral system in place is discussed by several IT experts of the volunteer group AES Watch in the newly published book Was your vote counted.
Rene Azurin says automated cheating can be accomplished wholesale by introducing subtly altered software code into the voting machine or onto its memory card before the opening polls on election day. This can be done by those who have access to the machines or to the memory cards. According to him, cheating can also be done during the data transmission and consolidation stage if the cheater has access to the private (digital) keys of selected officials.
Many of those machines and CF cards are sent by ordinary public transportation to remote polling places, some up in the mountains, others in distant islands, days before election day. Access to them during transport and at the polling places is easy. Electronic transmission facilities in those remote places are inadequate if not absent.
Gus Lagman says the Smartmatic PCOS can be hijacked. Sixty of these machines were found in the house of a Smartmatic technician right after the elections. In 2010 PCOS machines had an open port. Through an open port a techie with a laptop can connect to the unit and tamper with the software and the CF cards in the machine. CF cards can be stolen easily as proven by the discovery of CF cards in a garbage dump in Cagayan de Oro City. Transmission of precinct election results from remote places to the canvassing machine is vulnerable to tampering as shown by Glenn Chong in Biliran in 2010.
Both Azurin and Lagman say that the Smartmatic system is very vulnerable to internal tampering. For the right incentive, a Comelec official can manipulate the system as to guarantee the election of a paying candidate. That is why their colleagues in the IT circle refer to the automated electoral system as Automated Garci.
A “Hello, Brilly. Hello, Brilly, can you…” call is out of the question. Comelec Chair Brillantes is a trustworthy man. He himself said he is trusted by President Aquino and Vice-President Binay. Besides, he is no IT man. In fact, his staunch defense of Smartmatic’s system with all its flaws shows he is an ignoramus when it comes to IT.
But many of Garci’s accomplices in 2004 remain with the Comelec. There could be techies among them. Members of the Bids and Awards Committee of Comelec that approved the purchase of ballot secrecy folders for the fantastic unit price of 380 are still with the Comelec. Yes, men and women of dubious integrity populate that Constitutional body.
…until May 21 then, by which time the results of the senatorial race shall have become final. Then either I say, “I told you so” or I eat my words.
that’s from oscar lagman jr.’s The final surge. read too jarius bondoc’s Clean,credible election: Does Brillantes care? federico pascual’s Source code review vital to poll integrity, jose sison’s Cloud of doubt, inquirer editorial More than legality, and dr. florangel rosario braid’s Automated elections: issues and concerns.
and so this makes sense: Poll cheating laid out: LP, UNA accuse each other of plotting
i’ve been wondering why voters and candidates and the church don’t seem the least bit concerned that brillantes has failed us, cheating hasn’t been ruled out. is all the technical talk over their heads? or can it be that because it’s all okay with the prez, then it must be all a-okay? or maybe it’s not really, but it’s too late to call off elections, bahala na si batman? argh.
the world is watching, of course. and as usual, we’re good for a laugh or two.