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Hackers Invited To Break Into Philippine Internet Voting System

Manila, Philippines (AHN) - Local and foreign computer hackers will be tapped to try and break into an Internet-based voting system that will be pilot tested by the country's Commission on Elections (Comelec) starting July 10.

The Internet voting system, developed by Spanish firm Scytl Consortium, is worth $452,000. Comelec will pilot test the system from July 10 to 30 for voters in Singapore, where there are 26,853 registered absentee voters.

The results of the polls, which will use survey questions, will be non-binding, which means it will not affect official elections results.

Comelec commissioner Florentino Tuason Jr. told local reporters they have already asked the help of the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES), a Washington-based IFES non-profit organization, in getting professional hackers to test the security of the Internet voting system.

"When Scytl presented the system, everybody was impressed on the security features. It is covered by international patent and it has been declared secured by no less than Switzerland and everyone in the global community should respect that decision," Tuason told reporters in a conference Tuesday.

Scytl's computerized voting system is also being used in countries such as the U.S., Switzerland, and Belgium.

The Comelec has earlier batted for the full implementation of the Internet voting system in Singapore but Senator Richard Gordon succeeded in stopping it.

Gordon wanted a computerized casting and counting system to be deployed instead in selected provinces in the country. The Comelec had to back off, however, because it lacked enough time to prepare for this type of system.