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Nothing to worry about Comelec ‘Data Breach’ yet – Poll watchdog

March 19, 2022 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 368 views

A poll watchdog group yesterday said the public need not worry about the supposed data breach in the pre-election operations of Smartmatic, as the details on the extent of the possible “infringement” have not yet been sorted out.

Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) executive director Atty. Rona Ann Caritos said the public should not worry, however she called for transparency on the issue.

“Sa ngayon, hindi dapat kabahan pero kailangan magkaroon ng transparency kaugnay sa nangyayari,” she said.

Smartmatic is the biggest software contractor for the Commission on Elections’ automated elections for the May 9 polls.

On Thursday, Senator Imee Marcos, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, said there was an “infringement” into Smartmatic operations.

She claimed that data — including personal information, ledgers, photos of their office, contact persons in the Comelec — might have been hacked by a syndicate group.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, meanwhile, said that a Smartmatic employee involved in the alleged security breach in its system is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Earlier, Sotto disclosed that a Smartmatic employee had allowed a certain group to copy the files containing sensitive information from his laptop.

Caritos pointed out that the alleged security breach was first reported in January but the Comelec has yet to issue an official explanation.

“Itong security breach na ito ay January pa ito noong unang inilabas… Wala pa tayong opisyal na paliwanag mula sa Comelec kaugnay sa breach na nangyari… Makakaapekto ba talaga ito sa Eleksyon?” she said.

In January, the Comelec assured the public that election data for the 2022 polls were not hacked, disputing a report by the Manila Bulletin that poll data — network diagrams, IP addresses, list of all privileged users, domain admin credentials, among others — were hacked.

Caritos urged the Comelec to release an official explanation about the alleged breach and called lawmakers investigating the issue to make public their hearings.

“’Wag nang i-executive session ang mga ganitong bagay dahil lalong magkakaroon ng agam-agam at pangamba ang mga tao na mayroon talagang masamang nangyari. Dapat isapubliko ang napag-usapan sa executive session kaugnay sa security breach sa Comelec para malaman kung ano talaga ang nangyari,” she said. Lee Ann P. Ducusin