Smartmatic assures ‘2022 PH elections are 100% safe and secure’
MANILA, Philippines — Smartmatic Inc. assured Monday that the local and national elections in May would be “100 percent safe and secure.”
This, as it insisted that its system was not “hacked” amid allegations of a security breach supposedly involving one of its employees.
“The 2022 Philippine national and local elections are 100 percent safe and secure, and remain unaffected despite the noise being generated by disinformation campaigns, non-verified sources, and even fabricated and manipulated information,” said Smartmatic representative Atty. Christopher Ocampo during a briefing before the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms.
Senator Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Senate electoral reforms committee, earlier said that there had been a “very serious” security breach in the operations of Smartmatic allegedly involving one of its employees who had access to confidential information.
Marcos said contents of the laptop of a Smartmatic employee were copied by a certain group. She cited a Facebook post where various pieces of information, including that of Comelec staff, were released.
Ocampo, however, insisted that the incident “doesn’t deserve to be called hacking.”
“Please note, too, that Smartmatic’s system wasn’t hacked. What the former employee did is wrongdoing completely unrelated to Philippine elections and doesn’t deserve to be called hacking,” Ocampo said.
“He downloaded non-sensitive, day-to-day operational materials from a repository that is readily available to all Smartmatic staff. He then shared it with individuals outside the company, who have attempted to blackmail Smartmatic for money,” he added.
No hacking in Comelec, too
Moreover, Ocampo said that there was also no hacking of the infrastructure of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
According to Ocampo, Comelec’s own servers and infrastructure are completely separate and distinct from Smartmatic’s.
“Comelec’s servers and infrastructure are never connected to Smartmatic’s servers and infrastructure. The poll body never shares electoral data with Smartmatic, a fact that Comelec has affirmed and reaffirmed time and again,” he explained.
“The NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) itself has also publicly stated that Comelec’s servers are offline and under heavy security. It has categorically and emphatically stated that there has been no hacking of the Comelec infrastructure,” he added.
Ocampo also said: “Any which way you look at it—the election is safely above the fray.”
The Smartmatic representative requested that statements on the alleged data breach be verified first, pointing out that the source of the issue is a Facebook page.
“We humbly believe that giving credence to anonymous groups such as this without proper verification may have the same effect as believing in fake news, as this is clearly a dubious source,” Ocampo said.
“This is the reason why Smartmatic humbly requests that these statements and alleged data be verified first, because right now it is just a source of speculation based on an anonymous group posting screenshots of data and photos on Facebook, which are not verified and are very possibly fabricated or manipulated,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.