In the Know: Source code

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06:07 AM May 10th, 2013

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May 10th, 2013 06:07 AM

Precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine. FILE PHOTO

A source code refers to the human-readable instructions that define how a computer functions.

Created by programmers, the source code contains the blueprint that reveals how a machine operates.

In determining the accuracy and quality of a source code, a common industry practice is the source code review, in which someone, other than the original creator, analyzes it and checks for security breaches, bugs and other concerns.

Under the Poll Automation Law, the source code to be used for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines should be certified by a third party of computer experts.

In a March resolution, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said accredited parties, independent candidates running for national posts and organizations with technical expertise might conduct a source code review.

The Comelec said SLI Global Solutions, a US-based company that conducts voting systems certification testing, had certified the source code.

Until Thursday, or four days before the elections,  the source code was not available for other parties to review because of a legal battle between Smartmatic, the supplier of the PCOS machines, and its corporate partner, Dominion Voting Systems, whose approval was needed for the release of the code.

Several groups raised concerns over the lack of a code, saying the failure to review it will deny interested parties the chance to ascertain the credibility of elections.—Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives; Comelec; Center for People Empowerment in Governance

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