Comelec: Smartmatic data breach not related to polls
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday confirmed a data breach in the system of automated elections technology provider Smartmatic, but assured the public that the leaked information “does not have anything to do with the elections.”
“What was leaked was data concerning internal organization and activities. They (Smartmatic) assured us that the security of the ballots, the configured SD (secure digital) cards were not compromised by that leakage,” Comelec chair Saidamen Pangarungan told reporters on Friday.
Comelec officials earlier said there was “no way” hackers could affect the elections, after Sen. Imee Marcos revealed during a Senate hearing that a Smartmatic employee allowed a hacker group to copy data from a company-issued laptop.
“I think the employee responsible for the breach was already fired. That’s my understanding. We told Smartmatic that this shouldn’t happen again. This is a very unfortunate incident because this is not a big deal and it created a lot of ruckus,” he said.
“I want to assure everyone. You read my lips: We will not allow anyone to undermine the people’s confidence in our electoral system. That is our pledge.”
In a statement, Smartmatic spokesperson Christian Robert Lim said the election systems provider also confirmed the statement of Pangarungan but reiterated that the matter had already been addressed.
“Only one former Smartmatic employee is involved and has been meted with disciplinary action without prejudice to any criminal and civil action that will and may be filed by Smartmatic,” Lim said.
Agreement with DICT
Also on Friday, the poll body inked an agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to create “convenient and secure online services” for registration verifier, precinct finder, and voter’s certification application.
Pangarungan said the registration verifier would address inquiries about an individual’s voter status, while the precinct finder would advise local and overseas voters if their registration records were still active.
The voter’s certification application will allow registered voters to pay online for the issuance of their certifications.
Pangarungan said the agreement with the DICT is in line with the government’s “cloud first policy,” which aims to use cloud computing technology to reduce costs, increase employee productivity and develop online services.
Asked about the difference of the new online services from those used in previous elections, Communications Technology Acting Secretary Emmanuel Caintic said the DICT could easily scale up resources under the cloud infrastructure.
The Comelec also started on Friday to pack various equipment and supplies for the automated election system, including the ballot boxes and vote-counting machines.
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