Comelec data leak pisses off youth solon; says 2016 polls compromised, LP to gain

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Comelec Seal
Comelec Seal

MANILA, 23April2016 (BicolToday.com) – Youth solon Terry Ridon of Kabataang Partylist got pissed off when the COMELEC voters list was hacked, and suspected the Aquino administration – Liberal Party power clique has the capability to use the data dump to rig the polls electronically.

Youth groups and cause-oriented organizations led by Kabataan Partylist held a protest in front of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Friday morning to denounce the poll body’s “lackadaisical” response to the massive voter data leak that leaves millions of registered voters vulnerable to identity theft and jeopardizes the integrity of the May 9 elections.

Holding up signs saying “don’t hack our vote,” the protesters said that the massive data leak may be part of the current government’s “evil plan” to hack its way to victory.

“The massive data breach has manifold ramifications to all affected voters, yet the most insidious among these is the fact that unscrupulous groups – especially those currently in power – can use the data trove to commit automated electoral fraud of a scale unparalleled since the advent of automated polls,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said.

“With millions of sensitive personal information of voters now uploaded in the internet and even searchable through a new search engine that sprouted recently, we cannot emphasize enough how the so-called ‘Comeleaks’ totally compromises the integrity of the upcoming elections,” the legislator said.

A group identifying itself as Anonymous Philippines defaced the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) website last March 27 to call on the poll body to implement security features in the vote-counting machines that will be used in the May 9, 2016 elections. Another group, LulzSec Pilipinas, then uploaded what it claimed to be COMELEC’s whole database consisting of 340 gigabytes of data.

While COMELEC earlier downplayed the effects of the data leak, internet security software company Trend Micro has claimed that about 1.3 million records of overseas Filipino voters.

The cybersecurity firm also warned that the data dump may also include – albeit in encrypted format – personal data of the 55 million registered voters in the Philippines, possibly making the leak one of the “biggest government related data breach in history, surpassing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack last 2015 that leaked PII, including fingerprints and social security numbers (SSN) of 20 million US citizens.”

Aquino admin in best position to hack polls
Just this week, a new search engine made the data trove searchable through entering the name of the voter.

“This is alarming. Whose stopping anyone with enough resources to print millions of fake IDs based on the information in the data dump to hack the upcoming polls? Worse, anyone with the technical capability can write a program that can use the data dump to inflate votes automatically.

“And who’s in the best position to commit such massive electoral fraud? The ruling Liberal Party of course, with its current unparalleled command of government funds and resources,” Ridon stressed, adding that netizens even caught the Palace seeding the data dump torrent recently.

Comelec mishandling data breach
The youth solon lambasted COMELEC for clearly mishandling the data breach.

“What is Comelec doing to safeguard millions of voters affected by the leak? The poll body must clearly be held accountable for this. It is COMELEC’s responsibility to protect and secure personal voter information. This case again highlights the poll body’s ineptitude and gross negligence of duty. Surely, in one way or another, this incident will affect the integrity of the upcoming national elections,” Ridon concluded. [BicolToday.com]

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