MANILA — Groups led by Kabataan Partylist stormed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Manila on Friday, April 22 protesting what they call the “lackadaisical” response of the poll body to what was dubbed as “one of the biggest government-related data breaches in history.”
The group said the massive data leak may be part of President Aquino government’s “evil plan” to hack its way to victory.
READ: The hacker is not the problem, it’s the Comelec
“The massive data breach has manifold ramifications to all affected voters, yet the most insidious among these is the fact that unscrupulous groups – especially those currently in power – can use the data trove to commit automated electoral fraud of a scale unparalleled since the advent of automated polls,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said adding that the so-called “Comelaks” has totally compromises the integrity of the upcoming elections.
Ridon also expressed alarm to a new search engine that made the data trove searchable through entering the name of the voter.
“This is alarming. Whose stopping anyone with enough resources to print millions of fake IDs based on the information in the data dump to hack the upcoming polls? Worse, anyone with the technical capability can write a program that can use the data dump to inflate votes automatically,” said Ridon.
“And who’s in the best position to commit such massive electoral fraud?” asked Ridon.
READ: Comelec slammed for ‘Comeleaks’ that put elections and voters at risk
He said Liberal Party could only do such thing with unparalleled command of government funds and resources. He added that the netizens even caught the Palace seeding the data dump torrent recently.
Ridon slammed Comelec’s mishandling of the data breach adding that it is the poll body’s responsibility to protect and secure personal voter information.
“This case again highlights the poll body’s ineptitude and gross negligence of duty. Surely, in one way or another, this incident will affect the integrity of the upcoming national elections,” Ridon said.
On March 27, Anonymous Philippines defaced Comelec website to call on the poll body to implement security features in the vote-counting machines that will be used in the May 9 elections. LulzSec Pilipinas also uploaded what it claimed to be Comelec’s whole database consisting of 340 gigabytes of data. Internet security software company Trend Micro also said that the data dump include 1.3 million records of overseas Filipino including passport numbers and expiry date. Personal data of the 55 million registered voters were also put at risk due to the breach. Trend Micro said the breach surpassed the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack in 2015 that leaked fingerprints and social security numbers (SSN) of 20 million US citizens.
Photos by Kathy Yamzon