The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday challenged hackers to try to hack into the voting and counting machines that will be used in next year’s elections, but expressed confidence that they would fail.

Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino said they are very confident the security features of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines would be able to thwart hackers.

“Even in the first level, we can already detect any tampering,” noted Tolentino, who is also the project manager of poll automation.

To check the accuracy of the PCOS machines, the Comelec will hold a mock election among political parties and other interested sectors three days before the May 10, 2010 elections.

The official claimed that participants would be allowed to fill up sets of ballots and then feed them into the counting machines.

“After that, we’ll know if the machines are accurate… The parties will then sign a document to certify that the machines are accurate,” Tolentino added.

The Comelec announced yesterday that the terms of reference/request for proposals (TOR/RFP) could be purchased by prospective bidders for $20,000 or P1 million starting March 18, signaling the start of the bidding process.

The money to be raised from the sale of bidding documents will be set aside for the Comelec’s project management or election expenditures.

“The last day for them to buy the documents is March 25. And on March 27, we’ll be holding a pre-bid conference where bidders can raise their questions or concerns,” said Comelec chairman Jose Melo, adding that the poll body would open the bids on April 27 and “not later than May 21,” the lease contracts would be awarded to the winning bidders.

Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said they expect the bidding procedures to go smoothly.

“The way our chairman and the commissioners are coordinating with technical people and the Advisory Council (on Poll Automation), I don’t think we’ll have any problem,” he noted.

Melo urged first-time voters to register, claiming that there are now some 44.2 million registered voters. The Comelec is eyeing some nine million new voters.

He said that registered voters should also verify their registration to avoid any delay during the election day.

According to Ferrer, they expect a bigger turnout of registrants and voters for the 2010 elections because the presidency is at stake.

Ferrer added the automation of the elections is also expected to draw interest in the coming elections because it would be the first time that this would be done on a nationwide scale.

“Out of curiosity, they will flock to voting areas to see the machines. And aside from that, there is usually high interest in presidential elections,” he maintained.

1 comments

  1. Mr.lowe // May 10, 2010 at 8:59 PM  

    hmmmmm the top 2 black hacker vs sti?how about the hucker in other country?hmmmm my opinion only

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