To protect the sanctity of the May 9 elections, independent vice-presidential bet Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) must ensure that the voting machines and transmission servers to be used in the automated polls on May 9, 2016 are safe and secure from another breach.
Escudero said he and his presidential running mate Sen. Grace Poe have instructed their election lawyers and information technology (IT) experts to coordinate with the COMELEC following reports that a huge amount of sensitive personal information of over 54 million registered voters was released online after the poll body’s website was hacked on March 27.
“Nakakabahala kasi lumalabas na wala pang security feature ‘yung Comelec website kaya na-hack. Baka naman ‘yung transmission ng election results hindi rin ganun kakumplikado ‘yung security features,” Escudero said in a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday.
“Kaya inalarma na namin ‘yung mga abogado at IT expert namin na muling makipag-ugnayan sa Comelec para matiyak na ito ay isolated incident dahil ito ay data lang. Paano kapag ‘yung transmission ng results ng election ang ma-hack? ‘Yun ang mas nakababahala,” he added.
The hacking has fueled worries and has drawn the ire of IT experts and voters after a new website claiming to contain voters’ data has surfaced online. The website allows any user to search the biometric information on any registered voter by just typing the name or date of birth.
Among the information released were full names, birth dates, addresses, registration details and voter identification numbers. Other voter details posted include the person’s height and weight, passport details, and in some cases even biometric information such as fingerprint info and topography.
Escudero said any voter, whose privacy and security may have been compromised, may file a case for invasion of privacy and violation of Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which protects an individual’s personal information in public and private information and communications systems.
“Sa akin okay lang malaman ang address ko pero ‘yung mga taong ‘di gustong malaman ang address nila kung saan sila nakatira e pwedeng magreklamo,” Escudero pointed out.
“It is the duty of the COMELEC to keep that data private and secure,” he added.