Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sham Election 2.0

The Electronic voting and results transmission system could have been attacked at least twice before it finally crashed at 8.00pm on March 4. Companies and individuals involved in the supply, installation and implementation phases exposed the system to interference, leaving the IEBC helpless on where to start. But it is a fact that IEBC had not had a single successful test involving all the election officials before the poll day.

"Ideally, the mobile and web application is always a synchronised platform and it raises a lot of curiosity as to how IEBC allowed different firms to run complementary system functions, which led to further system insecurity,” a source, who ran an independent audit of the system after it crashed revealed. Jamming of the database server, which was receiving the information from the mobile handsets from the various polling centres across the country, also fanned collapse of the project.

On February 21, Safaricom had threatened to withdraw from transmitting the election results over its network, citing concerns on “website security and capacity to handle huge traffic.” The mobile firm had also cautioned over a possible penetration of external attacks. “We do remain concerned at the general casual nature of some of the partners and some of the institution’s senior officials,” a letter from Safaricom to IEBC read in part.

What further exposed the system is the fact that the technology that was used for voter registration in late 2012 was different and entirely separate from the technology used to identify voters at polling centres, given that several companies were involved along the chain.

“Face Technology was chosen by IEBC to supply 35,000 devices (laptops) for use on Election Day. The devices were allegedly manufactured in China. None of the equipment utilised in the Canadian-supplied BVR system was used on voting day,” the Embassy of France said in a statement distancing itself from the failure.

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