Then again, we may have an example of a duck that laid, not a golden egg, but a predicate for an electoral protest when his billionaire candidate loses in 2010 -- despite the surveys that say he will win.
In an Inquirer article Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said at a press conference that he has filed a resolution setting aside P100 million as an incentive to anyone who can convincingly demonstrate the weakness of the automated poll system.
Cayetano, at a press conference Friday, said that if any IT expert can establish that the system to be used in the 2010 polls is not secure from fraud and tampering, “Comelec should cancel the contract, save the P11 billion and sue for damages the contractor in the event of such successful hacking.”
He said he would rather revert to the manual counting of votes if the computerized system would lead to wholesale cheating.
The reporter did not mention if Cayetano's resolution identified the source of funding or if such funds are really available.
I think what Cayetano is really doing is laying the predicate for a electoral protest later, just as is often the case with all the elections we have been through since we had elections. This is the rotten, transactional culture that is HIS legacy and heritage -- kay Cayetano, walang nananalo at walang natatalo, kungdi may mga abugadong nagsasabi na may mandaraya at may nadaya.
I think it is short of saying that he knows that with the Automated Election System in place, his favored Billionaire Presidential candidate from Las Pinas will lose in the 2010 elections -- contrary to all the surveys that say he will win.
Another reason why he wants to find out if the Automated Election System has flaws is that he wants to find out how the automated election system can be cheated, so his billionaire buddy from Las Pinas can exploit the vulnerabilities.
But in any case, as I have said, any mere mention of money for hacking is enough to create a friendster among computer geeks.
I can see a situation where hundreds of Filipino geeks with laptops are going to claim that they can hack the Automated Election System and live-out their fantasy of being Hugh Jackman's character in Swordfish -- because many of them weren't alive when Robert Redford did Sneakers.
And right on cue, the Computer Professionals' Union (the first time I've heard of them) has surfaced to say that hacking the Automated Election System can be done.
A group of computer experts has warned that the planned automation of national and local elections in May next year will not diminish fraud and cheating and could lead to the rise of a new type of election operator capable of manipulating the results of the automated polls.
Rick Bahague, national coordinator of the Computer Professionals’ Union, said automated large scale cheating could happen with the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) plan for automated elections. He said poll automation could give rise to a new "Garci", referring to former Commission on Elections official Virgilio Garcillano who allegedly tampered with the elections results of the 2004 presidential elections.
"Perpetrators of cheating and fraud like Garci will be back in 2010, more manipulative and more systematic than the past elections with the help of [automated elections system] that we have to be ready to preempt their plans," Bahague said in a statement on the CPU website.
Bahague said the proposed automated election system (AES) has several technical vulnerabilities including insider threats, software engineering limitations, network vulnerabilities and lack of required auditing procedures.
In the last paragraph, Bahague's claim of knowledge about technical vulnerabilities in the Automated Election System seems like he really knows something about it. But then again, terms such as "insider threats" or "software engineering limitations" or "network vulnerabilities" are just high fallutin terms which can be attributed even to the most advanced and sophisticated computer systems.
I am sure, there are geniuses within the Computer Professional's Union that can claim to have hacked an ATM network and made away with hundreds of millions of pesos.
I've met a lot of Filipino super geeks in my life and the more respectable ones are still blowhards when it comes to hacking.
Anyway, not one sentence in the article says that the Computer Professional's Union has actually gotten their hands on the Automated Election System or has actually tried to hack the system successfully.
Just as well, Cayetano and the Computer Professional's Union are both barking at the wrong time as the ideal time to spot flaws has already passed. They should have tried spotting flaws when the Automated Elections System was tested in the ARMM elections.
The Automated Election System was already tested and passed successfully during the ARMM elections. The ARMM is among the most difficult areas in which to ensure honest, clean and accurate elections. It was an acid test for the Automated Elections System and if any so called technical vulnerabilities were present, it should have shown up during the ARMM polls and would have been exploited -- but no one was able to breach the security features of the AES.
The Computer Professional's Union, lest it be suspected of wanting or planning to sabotage the electoral process, should have volunteered to do ethical hacking when Automated Elections were being held in ARMM. For real hackers to earn their keep, they should try hacking on a real live system and not a simulation -- that would have been available during the ARMM elections.
I wonder who's funding the Computer Professional's Union? See if the bank is from Pateros or Las Pinas, you'll have your answer -- unless, of course, they got their money in cash.