As PCOS deal gets SC nod, Smartmatic told to comply with IT security

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[/caption] In a media roundtable with the IT media group Cyberpress, CAC member Bettina Quimson said Smartmatic, the provider of the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) units, did not comply with the IT and legal conditions in the conduct of the 2010 national elections. ?Smartmatic had control of the whole system in the previous elections. There was no check and balance at all,? said Quimson, who represented the PSIA (Philippine Software Industry Association) in the CAC. Quimson said The Netherlands-based poll machine vendor still has sufficient time to implement the required security features such as providing the source code at three various levels ? at the PCOS units, at the CCS (consolidation/canvassing system (CCS), and at the AES (automated election system). Earlier this year, the nine-member CAC, headed by ICTO (Information and Communications Technology Office) executive director Louis Casambre, recommended the adoption of OMR (optical mark reader) technology in the 2013 midterm elections. The council, composed of members from the academe, government, IT industry, and electoral reform organizations, is tasked by RA 9369 to recommend to the Comelec ?the most appropriate, secure, applicable and cost-effective technology to be applied in the AES?. In its resolution, CAC recommended that the system should be subjected to ?thorough technical review which includes a full code review by at least two independent authorities, stress testing, a security audit, exception handling as well as the possibility of being subjected to a system breach contest.? The recommendation of the council to use of OMR also came with several conditions and suggestions, some of which were: the use of standard and verifiable signatures of personnel and machines, secured machine facilities, storage of raw scanned data, optional on-screen voter verification, as well as an open review of circuit schematics. ?Some of these suggested features were actually features in the 2010 PCOS machines but were not effectively implemented in the 2010 elections. We would like to see these security features used in the upcoming one, as they provide several levels of safeguards against electoral fraud,? Casambre said in the CAC resolution last February. ]]>

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