Comelec deposits 1st set of codes for 2016 polls use
Comelec chairman Andres Bautista (R) hands BSP deputy governonr Vicente Aquino on Wednesday, January 27, a sealed and signed envelope containing the first set of source codes to be used in the upcoming automated national elections. (MNS photo)
MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Commission on Elections on Wednesday deposited to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas the first set of codes that will be used in this year’s automated polls.
The said code, for the election management system (EMS), will be held in escrow in a vault inside the BSP, where the codes used in 2010 and 2013 are also stored.
According to Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, the safety deposit box that has been placed in the vault contains the following:
a certification of the hashcodes from the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC),
international certifier SLI Global Solutions, and Comelec;
a thumb drive containing the “human-readable” code; and
the binary code of the EMS.
The depositing of the codes came after the processing of the final trusted build, or the code that will be used for the machines, which was finished on Tuesday night.
The Comelec will deposit the codes of the vote counting machine (VCM) and the Canvassing Consolidation System (CCS) on Feb. 9.
According to poll chief Andres Bautista, putting the codes in escrow is mandated by law.
For his part, Lim said: “Kasama sa certification na ii-issue ng TEC (Technical Evaluation Committee) is that the source code has been escrowed in the BSP.”
Asked for an assurance of the safety of the vault, BSP Deputy Governor Vicente Aquino quipped, “The BSP is the most secure place in the Philippines.”
“We will not touch it, we will not open it, we will not look into it. We just ensure that it’s there and not touched by anyone except the Comelec chair,” Aquino said.
He added: “Not everyone gets to go in there. You have to pass through many security measures.”
A limited number of people were allowed to witness the depositing of the code, including only five members of the media. Cameras and phones were not allowed.
The vault used by the Comelec is in one of the two cages inside a bigger vault. There are two padlocks—which were eventually taped and signed—and a combination lock.
According to Lim, a resolution is required to open the vault, even if it’s the chairman who will get inside.
“Let’s say something went wrong and you want to extract the source code, that’s an instance you will take it out of the vault,” Lim said. (MNS)