Smartmatic urges political parties to review ‘source code’
Vote counting machine vendor Smartmatic TIM is urging political parties to actively participate in the ongoing source code review which reveals how voting machines are programmed for use in the 2016 elections.
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer on Thursday, Smartmatic’s Head for Voters Education Atty. Karen Jimeno said very few are actively scrtunizing the voting machines’ software since it was opened for review by the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic on October 8, or seven months before the May 2016 polls. The review is being conducted from Mondays to Fridays at the Brother Andrew Gonzales Hall in De La Salle University.
A human-readable version of a software as originally written, the source code reveals exactly how the system is programmed, including the instructions given to the vote counting machines, Jimeno said.
“The Source Code Review allows participants to read the code line by line to check for flaws, its performance, functionality and security, its consistency with the overall program design, and its adherence to coding standards,” she explained.
However, she lamented that only a handful have been seriously participating in the review process despite the long list of political parties and election watchdogs that were granted accreditation. “Comelec and Smartmatic IT personnel assigned to assist the reviewers said there are even days when no one shows up at all,” she said.
Jimeno stressed that the source code review provides political parties the best opportunity to scrutinize the software that runs the vote counting machines. “In 2013, political parties complained of lack of transparency and insufficient time to review the source code. Now, Comelec and Smartmatic are giving them enough time – more than seven months, in fact – to review the code,” she said.
Asked whether political parties are not keen on reviewing the source code so they can blame it for their loss, Jimeno said she hopes candidates will not make the source code their scapegoat if they lose in 2016.
“We’re calling on the accredited reviewers to participate in the source code review. This is one of the many ways to promote transparency for the 2016 Philippine elections. Anyone who participates in the review can check if the instructions are correct, or if the functionalities are compliant with Comelec requirements,” she added.
While the source code review ensures transparency, Jimeno assured that there’s an added layer of security as the source code is also being reviewed and will be certified by SLI Global Solutions, an independent, US-based international certification agency.
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