Garci returning for the 2010 elections

Reposting from the Computer Professional’s Union post.

Press Release, 7 April 2009

Computer professionals envision an automated Garci returning in the 2010 elections

“Cheating and fraud in the 2010 election will be swift and simple for the likes of Garci through the automated election system (AES) the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is striving to implement”, asserts the Computer Professionals’ Union (CPU). In 2010, Garci will return and will be more sophisticated in his cheating schemes with his expertise in computer technology. Garci will operate far better than the fraud he performed last 2004 national election. This will give him and his cohorts more reason to “lol—that is, laugh out loud”.

In the AutoMagic Elections – a discussion paper released by CPU on AES, it was noted that there are four significant technical challenges embedded in AES which Filipinos need to understand. These are 1) insider threats – manipulating and tampering of programs and canvass results by insiders which can be made to appear mathematically consistent unlike the Dagdag Bawas scheme which is evidently deceitful; 2) software engineering limitations – whether intentional or incidental, a software problem can affect all the machines for AES. As a matter of fact, there are documented reviews in other countries which warn on malicious software that ca be loaded to AES which can affect the whole election results; 3) network vulnerabilities – securing election data is a difficult undertaking – machines need to be physically secured, data should be stored in a manner that the secrecy of the ballots are maintained and the data are not tampered, and the data should be protected from outside attackers who can do advance cracking techniques to alter data before these information are fully transmitted; and 4) required auditing procedures – voter trails should be available even with AES. This is to ensure that there is a way to recount and cross-check election results in the event AES fail.

“The new Garcis and their cohorts will be very elated with this new development in the election system, aside from the kickbacks borne with the budget approval of AES and the ridiculous implementation timeline of AES, the whole system is very vulnerable for fraud and cheating”, says Rick Bahague, National Coordinator of CPU. “We, as computer professionals are concerned on the competency of the so called technological advancement which this government is trying to implement hastily”, adds Bahague.

CPU stands to the fact that the technology to speed up voting and the canvassing process only becomes relevant and useful if the people behind the technology are credible and will serve to protect the interests of the population in the elections.
CPU and other ICT groups will hold the National Technology Confernece on Automated Elections System this coming 24 April 2009 in UP Diliman. The objective of this event is to gather experiences and best practices relevant to AES which will set a baselines as a monitoring mechanism of Fiipino people on AES providers and COMELEC.

“Perpetrators of cheating and fraud like Garci will be back in 2010, more manipulative and more systematic than the past elections with the help of AES that we have to be ready to preempt their plans”, ends Bahague. ###

Rick Bahague rick at cp-union dot com 09178840096 / 4134196

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