House of Reps to probe Smartmatic ‘hacking’

Members of the  House of Representatives, led by Speaker Prospero Nograles–loser in the Davao City mayoral elections–are meeting with representatives of the Commission on Elections and IT provider Smartmatic today to discuss allegations of ‘hacking’ in the May 10 polls.

That’s a good thing, of course. If there were incidents of hacking in the country’s first automated elections, we should get to the bottom of it.

What’s troubling is that the probe was initiated by Nograles, who has a vested interest in proving that Smartmatic’s supposedly hack-proof PCOS machines had been tampered with.

Still, the evidence is pretty damning. An excerpt from Inquirer.net:

Citing an HBO documentary film, Hacking Democracy, the House leader said it was possible to manipulate the PCOS machines. The documentary was filmed over three years documenting the investigation of irregularities with e-voting systems that occurred during the US 2002 and 2004 elections, especially in Florida.

So, there. We are launching a House probe because a documentary made by the same company that also produced the documentaries Taxicab Confessions, G String Divas, and Real Sex says it happened.

In the US. To different e-voting machines (those were direct-recording electronic, we used optical scanning) provided by another company altogether.

Also, because of this guy, an anonymous conscience-stricken hacker:

HAX!

16 Comments

  1. I’ve studied the PCOS system through a study conducted by UC Berkeley in the US as a response to the said documentary (Hacking Democracy) and yes it is plausible to “hack” the system but to do so would take a huge conspiracy. Meaning, the PCOS Machine itself DOES NOT HAVE ANY CAPABILITY WHATSOEVER TO CHEAT. To cheat would mean to tamper the source code and it all has to happen way before the elections or during the dissemination of the paraphernalia.

    Seriously though, the whole preparation process was a bit shady in terms divulging that version and kind of software was used and who developed it. They didn’t even let local programmers test if their “source code” was tamper-proof. They were merely allowed to review it (as in to JUST LOOK AT IT). How could you know there’s something wrong with something by JUST looking at it and not conducting tests?

    In gist, the highly critical parts of cheating in the automated elections are through (in no particular order):
    -hijacking the source code
    -possessing the memory cards
    -funding the whole gig

    Well, considering this country having 90% of fools in its population, why the hell could it not happen?

  2. Also, despite having a ton of fools for countrymen, may I also say that “cheaters” have resorted to an old tactic as a turnaround.

    It’s called VOTE BUYING. Believe it or not, it was fucking crazy in the provinces.

  3. DICKLIP :

    Also, despite having a ton of fools for countrymen, may I also say that “cheaters” have resorted to an old tactic as a turnaround.
    It’s called VOTE BUYING. Believe it or not, it was fucking crazy in the provinces.

    True story. There was a bunch of that going on where I am. I’m not buying this hacking notion at all — why would anyone go to all that trouble when the same shit they’ve always pulled works just as well?

  4. Interestingly enough, amidst the sturm und drang of these past weeks, I was expecting Señor Flores of Smartmatic to proudly proclaim that Hugo Chavez had won the presidency by a landslide count, and proof positive that the machines work.

    Oh, wait…

  5. Vote buying is as old as democracy itself. From what I heard it was rampant here in Caloocan.

    As far as hacking goes, I don’t think so. Unless the CFC cards were pre programed and nobody had the access nor the time. The only way to check is go over the cards, and the source computers that were used to format the damn things.

    What is most disturbing… is the “Whistle Blower” wearing somebody’s underwear as a mask?

  6. @ Nick: It may be plausible if the CF cards were programmed to broadcast the winners they wanted and COMELEC is destroying “defective” CF cards. However, from my experience with my own CF cards, they are more reliable than the hard disk of my previous PC (which gave me a ticking sound). /just saying

  7. @dicklip: you may be right, there. but then again, if fools make up 90% of the population, we don’t really need machines to fuck things up.

    And in the case of vote buying, no machines can prevent that.

    PS: Are you on some senator’s staff? Did your boss run/win?

  8. @Nick: You have a point. Hacking is so much more trouble than buying or bullying people to vote for you.

    Also, here’s hoping it’s his underwear at least

  9. @OneT: Well, let’s just say they’re taking the fuck up a notch to the 21st century. Haha.

    PS reply: I am on a candidate’s staff and that candidate won. 🙂

    And that candidate is the secret leader of a powerful underground organization inside the government guising under a hollow shell called Lito Lapid.

  10. @OneT: Well, let\’s just say they\’re taking the fuck up a notch to the 21st century. Haha.

    PS reply: I am on a candidate\’s staff and that candidate won. 🙂

    And that candidate is the secret leader of a powerful underground organization inside the government guising under a hollow shell called Lito Lapid.

  11. So this is called real life PCOS hacking posibilities:

    1. Have a way to get the machines firmware
    2. Have a way to store the firmware back to the machine
    3. study the assembly code try to use IDA Pro
    4. by pass the initialization that erase the CF Cards vote data, how? have a trial and error on jump opcodes. Opcodes are hex digit that has an equivalent in assembly code.

    so you will say it’s imposible? there are many individuals that has the capability to do the cracking, far more than i think. Remember the prize is million of pesos

  12. @antikurtina: It’s possible, I’ll give you that. And you probably know what you’re talking about.

    But why spend millions on *maybe* being able to do four complex operations and getting them to work together when you can just buy votes?

  13. Because buying votes is just like bidding, except for the fact that it’s money down for every bid. Also, it’s like using nitro’s in a race while the hacking method is like starting the race a few centimeters to the finish line…

    Although I believe that the case of a hacking is slim to none, there’s this small window of opportunity that presents itself if you know the right people who will do anything for a fortune.

  14. strongly enought that the first cards was tampered proof since they found that out days before election they have to used a card that can be ampered and they have studied this way before the election.so that its not noticeable they made an issue about the wrong printing it does but days before that they never really mention all that.only before the election.so they change the card that can be hacked.cause if you are smart enough don’t you think its wired why they go all that trouble to change a card days before the election if not for a big payday.

  15. strongly enought that the first cards was tampered proof since they found that out days before election they have to used a card that can be ampered and they have studied this way before the election.so that its not noticeable they made an issue about the wrong printing it does but days before that they never really mention all that.only before the election.so they change the card that can be hacked.cause if you are smart enough don\’t you think its wired why they go all that trouble to change a card days before the election if not for a big payday.

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