Privacy Commission calls for hearing on Comelec hacking

January 12, 2022 People's Tonight 195 views

THE National Privacy Commission on Wednesday ordered the Commission on Elections and Manila Bulletin Technology Editor & IT Head Art Samaniego Jr. to appear during an online clarificatory hearing and shed light on the alleged hacking of Comelec’s servers.

The clarificatory hearing will be held on January 25, 2022, the NPC said in a statement.

“The NPC’s Complaints and Investigation Division commenced its independent investigation and issued a notice to COMELEC requiring them to explain the alleged hacking and data breach.”

“The COMELEC must address the serious allegations made in the Manila Bulletin news report and determine whether personal data were indeed compromised, particularly personal information, sensitive personal information, or data affecting the same, which were processed in connection with the upcoming 2022 national and local elections,” the NPC said.

The commission assured the public that “it does not tolerate any act in violation of the Data Privacy Act including negligence in implementing organizational, physical, and technical security measures on personal data processing systems, whether in government or private institutions.”

The Manila Bulletin published an article Monday claiming that hackers were allegedly able to breach Comelec servers and stole files including usernames and PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) of vote-counting machines.

Comelec questioned the accuracy of the report and has started validating the allegations.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the hacking information is non-existent yet in their systems “simply because the configuration files, which include usernames and PINs (personal identification numbers), have not yet been completed.”

“Considering that ‘news’ like this could potentially damage the credibility of the elections, the Comelec stands ready to pursue all available remedies against those who, either deliberately or otherwise, undermine the integrity of the electoral process,” Jimenez said.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation is ready to investigate the alleged hacking of Comelec servers, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

“We’ll let the COMELEC finish its own internal probe. If a wider investigation is found necessary and NBI assistance would be useful, we’d gladly oblige,” Guevarra said in a message.