COMELEC invite hackers to test site

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Commission on Elections will invite hackers from around the world to test the security of a system for Internet voting that it bought from a Spanish company for P21.5 million.

“The software we have is covered by an international patent and has been declared secure by no less than the government of Switzerland,” said Comelec Commissioner Florentino Tuason Jr. of a system it acquired from Sctyl of Spain. “But we want to be really sure, so we are inviting professional hackers to do the testing.”

Tuason added that the Washington-based International Foundation for Election Systems, a non-profit group, would help the Comelec contact professional hackers to do the testing.

The Internet voting system was supposed to be used to allow some 26,800 Filipinos in Singapore to cast their ballots this year, but opposition from the Senate scuttled the plan. The Comelec said it would still test the system, but that the votes would not count.

The online voting system includes hardware from HP, the world’s biggest computer company.

HP and Scytl pioneered electronic voting in Madrid in 2004, enabling almost 200,000 voters to cast their ballots through the Internet and through their mobile phones.

The system has also been used in Finland and Switzerland and will soon be implemented in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Tuason said the system would use high-level encryption to secure the ballot data sent by absentee voters abroad.

Critics in the Senate insist that current laws do not allow Internet voting, but Tuason said Solicitor General Eduardo Nachura had signed off on the Scytl system.