My las story with initials “hrl” published on the Jakarta Post print edition: Poll body may enlist hackers to secure voter data

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Sat, November 30 2013, 11:04 AM

Following the termination of its agreement with the National Encryption Body (Lemsaneg), the General Elections Commission (KPU) has said that it was now seeking help from universities, information technology (IT) experts and even hackers to secure voter data for the 2014 polls.

“We are taking independent efforts to secure the voter data. We have signed a memorandum of understanding [MoU] with universities. In the near future, we also want to build a mechanism for cooperation with individuals, groups and experts,” KPU commissioner Ferry Kurnia Rizkiyansyah said in Jakarta on Friday.

He acknowledged that the body had yet to secure any deals with IT experts.

“We don’t yet have a list of individuals we could cooperate with, but they must be experts in IT. It is possible that we will enlist the help of hackers. What we do is for the good of the country,” he said.

Lemsaneg decided on Thursday to cancel its involvement in securing voter data for the upcoming legislative and presidential elections, amid mounting criticism that the government agency would not be able to remain impartial.

“We want to silence these intensifying polemics, which are counterproductive to our democracy,” said head of Lamsaneg head Djoko Setiadi. “I want to reiterate that Lemsaneg has never and will never take sides in any political contest,” he added.

The number of eligible voters recorded by KPU has increased steadily in the last three elections, a progression that is praised by experts.

In the 2004 election, the KPU registered 147 million voters out of the total population of 218 million, while in the 2009 general election the poll body registered 171 million voters out of the total population of 231 million.

For the 2014 election, the KPU has registered around 186 million people out of 251 million, the Central Statistics Agency’s total population estimate for the legislative election day in April 2014.

Recently, public criticism was fired at the KPU for choosing to announce that 186 million people were on the final voter list, though 10.4 million putative voters on it lack a citizen registration number, and are thus ineligible, due to a
data entry problem. The KPU is working with the Home Ministry to sort out the problem by the end of December.

“The Home Ministry confirms that around 5.6 of the 10.4 million voters already have their citizen registration number,” Ferry said.

A recent opinion poll conducted by the country’s leading newspaper Kompas published on Nov. 18 showed that 54.8 percent of 792 respondents across Indonesia believed the KPU would not be able to solve the problems on the final voter list; 39.9 percent of respondents thought the KPU could solve the problems; and 5.3 percent did not give an answer.

The poll also showed that 56.8 percent of the respondents were unsatisfied with the KPU’s performance; 38.6 percent of respondents were satisfied; and 4.6 percent of respondents did not give an answer.

Experts have warned the KPU that failing to fix the data problem would deter voters from voting.

The poll body has also been urged to restore public trust by reporting on its progress in solving the snafu to the public periodically. (hrl)


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