SC upholds Comelec limits on source code review

Posted at 05/02/2011 3:45 PM | Updated as of 05/02/2011 3:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the Commission on Elections' restrictions on the review of the source codes for the automated election system, which were used during last year’s national and local elections.

In a five-page resolution, the Court en banc denied for lack of merit the motion filed by the Center for Empowerment in Governance (Cenpeg) seeking to cite Comelec in contempt for imposing the restrictions.

Among the restrictions were signing a non-disclosure agreement, submission of methodology in reviewing the source codes, conducting the review in a restricted facility on a read-only copy and not to take out the code or any part of it or bring copy equipment during the review.

“None of these conditions, essentially designed to prevent copying, appropriation, and unauthorized use of the source code, has been demonstrated as making it impossible for Cenpeg to conduct a proper source code review. Cenpeg has not even attempted to do the review under such conditions,” the Court said.

The Supreme Court said the source codes used in the elections remains the intellectual property of Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. as the latter has not ceded its ownership right to the Comelec.

On  February 19, 2010, various groups, including Cenpeg, presented a joint  statement that they had chosen not to take part in the scheduled source code review since it was limited to a “walkthrough” of the source codes.
 
They noted that SysTest Labs, which conducted an earlier source code review and certification, did not work under the same restrictions and controls and was allowed 4 months to do the review.
 
The Comelec said it has not refused Cenpeg's request for a source code review but only imposed restrictions to prevent copying.