IT expert questions Comelec continued use of source code from Smartmatic

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05:23 PM February 4th, 2013

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February 4th, 2013 05:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines – IT expert Pablo Manalastas on Monday warned of complications arising from the Commission on Elections’ continued use of source code from Smartmatic International Corporation.

In an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM, the IT consultant for the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) questioned why Comelec did not require bidders for the poll machines to present source codes to ensure that these would be available for examination by concerned political groups or individuals.

Doing so would have prevented the issues being raised about Comelec’s inability to uphold transparency, he said.

“Political parties and other interested groups should also be allowed to conduct independent reviews on the source code, otherwise, Comelec will be undermining the principle of transparency,” he added.

Poll watchdogs and political parties have earlier assailed the Comelec for not allowing local IT experts to review the source code used for the precinct count optical scanners (PCOS) machines.

“They should have required bidders to submit source codes to ensure they can comply with the law (RA 9369 or the poll automation law),” said Manalastas.

“Dominion (Voting Systems) owns the technology that Comelec will be using for the 2013 elections and not Smartmatic,” he said, adding that the license for the source code created by Dominion has already been terminated.

“Smartmatic does not own the source code, they only licensed it from Dominion,” said Manalastas, pointing out that it was Dominion’s programmers who knew the software inside out.

The fact that the contract for the source code and the poll machines was only between the Philippine government and Smartmatic was a grave mistake as the Comelec had no control over the technology being used, he said.

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