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Comelec turns over automation code to BSP for safekeeping

Posted on: February 9, 2010

Comelec turns over automation code to BSP for safekeeping

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 10:23:00 02/09/2010

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Computing & Information Technology, Software

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) turned over to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Tuesday the automation software for safekeeping after its system and security controls were certified as accurate and functional by an international body.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo, together with representatives of Systest Labs, sealed and turned over the automation and canvassing software and its corresponding hash codes to BSP as part of the guidelines stated under Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law.

The software will serve as the master copy of the automation source code that can verify if the software installed in the poll machines and canvassing systems and used on Election Day is the same one certified by Systest Labs as “functional and secure,” said Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino, automation project manager, and Mark Phillips, vice president for compliance services of Systest Labs

“We are sealing with four paper seals this steel box that contains the master copy of the automation and canvassing software and its corresponding hash codes. This would be handed to BSP and stored in one of their security vaults for safekeeping,” said Melo.

“The hash codes serve as the fingerprint of the software to be used for verification later, it cannot be altered,” said Phillips.

After the turnover, the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) will issue by Wednesday a certification that BSP, as a neutral third party, will keep the machine-readable automation software in escrow for a year, said Tolentino.

Another copy of the certified automation software is with Comelec and is being reviewed by local IT developers from different political parties and other interested groups.

This week, Systest Labs will issue two reports to Comelec on the review of the automation and canvassing source code and a technical report on how it functions under stress environments such as the possibility of electronic transmission of data to servers when there is data overload, said Phillips.

Meanwhile, the National Printing Office started Monday the production of 50 million special paper ballots for the May 10 elections.

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