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The COMELEC’s Alfred E. Neuman Posture And The May 10 Elections (Updated)

February 17, 2010

Not to worry.

That’s what  COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo is telling us yet again.

This is in the wake of the twin decisions of PLDT /Smart Telecoms and Globe Telecoms to back off from their earlier readiness to make their mission critical data processing centers in Makati as the mainframe vote data collection and processing hubs for the May 10.

The telcos are saying they’re worried about the data centers’ security.

The COMELEC’s kneejerk reaction?

Don’t worry we’ll just post phalanxes of policemen and soldiers to stand guard.

Out of respect, no guffaws were heard t the Senate hearing.

But the ‘honorable’ Mr. Melo’s cluelessness was abysmal!

The reference to the centers being secure was not only the physical aspect.

They need to be secure from cyber terrorist attacks, attacks that can compromise the integrity of the servers, and the data they hold!!

One need only recall the recent hacking of 5 government sites with the cybe criminals warning that they may target the servers of the COMELEC.

http://atmidfield.com/2010/01/11/the-2010-elections-under-threat-from-cyber-terrorists-and-vulnerable-voting-machines/

These dangers cannot be glossed over any longer.

Even the ‘presidentiables’ are waking up to the clear and present danger that civil society members have been warning about for months: that the elections can be vunverable to automated cheating or digital dagdag bawas.

Questions are also emerging about just how stable the Luzon power grid will be come election day.

Energy officials are giving the tongue-in-cheek assurance that Luzon has 1,000 megawatts of excess generating capacity.

Don’t be fooled.

Energy sector experts know only too well that 1,000 megawatts in reserve power IS THIN, given the configuration of the grid where the tripping on one plant normally triggers a chain reaction of other plant, and the grid itself tripping off to prevent serious system-wide damage.

Taking the threats to the vote data processing servers and the power grid together spells failure of election.

The COMELEC’s nonchalant  ‘what me worry stance’ is unacceptable.

Postscript:

The poll body now says the alternative data centers offered by the two telcos are ok for use and so there’s really no worry about the hubs beinf physically attacked.

The sites’ location, says COMELEC will not be made public and known only to partners like the Parish Pastoral Council for responsible voting.

No word about whether the political parties ill be told where the vote result tallies will be ‘processed’.

Given ‘immense public trust’ for the COMELEC and how it has practically outsourced its constitutional mandate of managing the election this secrecy stunt raises new doubys about the lack of transparency in this sovereign exercise!


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