A few weeks ago, on the evening of March 27th the website of the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) was hacked. Who cares?

A few days ago, Trend Micro reported a data protection mishap that leaves 55 million Filipino voters at risk. Who cares?

This was followed by another group of hackers posting download links to the databases they have at-hand. Nobody seems to care. “Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said no sensitive information was compromised during the hacking.” Non-techies may believe him.

Then, just this week, another set of hackers created a search engine website exposing hacked data (from Full Names, Mailing Address to Passport Numbers and even biometrics information) of Filipino voters (just around 55M of them). Now, everyone’s listening. Everyone is asking questions nobody can answer, yet.

The exposure of personal information as detailed as those contained in COMELEC’s databases is like a nightmare times 55 million to individuals who value their online (and offline) privacy. Imagine people with criminal minds holding your personal information: identity theft will now be “chicken” to them. They can easily reproduce identification cards and documents bearing your personal information, without your knowledge and permission. Not good.

Who’s to blame in one of the biggest personal identity leakages in the planet? For me, it is no other than the COMELEC.

Why the COMELEC?

  1. Being law-abiding and responsible citizens of this country, we entrusted our personal information to the COMELEC when we registered ourselves as voters.
  2. By registering ourselves as voters, we gave valuable information to the COMELEC. This includes, among many others, our biometrics data. I remember a few years ago when my biometrics data was captured in the local COMELEC office, I asked the OIC for the purpose of collecting such information. I was told that since the COMELEC is shifting to an automated type of election system, the biometrics data shall be used to ease up the voting process — short of saying that the voting machines will require our biometrics data as an added security feature. Then came the 2010 elections, and to everybody’s surprise, the vote counting machines do not require for anyone’s biometric data at all. Hmmmm. Then until late last year, the COMELEC, again, required registered voters to have their biometrics data taken (or verified). They claimed that some of the biometrics data were corrupted. Hmmm. I was wondering, what grade did the COMELEC’s Systems Administrator got in his/her DBA class? Was he/she absent when the topics of Data Backup, Redundancy and Management were discussed?
  3. Did the COMELEC had a documented procedure or something to that extent on how they handle, secure and protect the data of voters?

Now that OUR private information (I am referring to registered voters like myself) is floating on the interwebs (for around three years now, according to the hacker group who stole the databases from the COMELEC), what safeguards are being made by the Philippine government to ensure that a recurrence of the same will not happen anytime in the near (or far) future to any branch of the government?

Will it be possible to conduct some sort of an IT Audit to branches of the government like the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Transportation & Communication (LTO, ATO, etc.), SSS, PagIBIG Fund to name a few to prevent this kind of incident? The second question will be: who is the most appropriate to conduct such IT Audit?

Right now, there are more questions than answers.

Personally, what I am afraid of is a scenario of having a No Election or Failure of Election next month, owing to the fact that leaked personal information may be used to disenfranchise voters or commit massive cheating at the precinct level. Until then, I will be on “wait and see” mode.

But I liked the battle cry in today’s Technical Forum on the COMELEC Data Leak: “See you in court, COMELEC.

If you’re a true blue Philippine Azkals (internationally known as the Philippine Football Team) fan, you will know what happened on the evening of December 5th, 2010 (okay, for those who are suffering from short term memory gap or are fans of basketball — it was the night we beat the powerhouse Vietnam team 2-0 in their home turf. Prior to the match, Vietnam was on top of the AFF Suzuki Cup and the Azkals were the underdogs).

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When you’re too early for the match (the electronic scoreboard is still covered with plastic).

 

Tonight, my son and I watched the Philippine Azkals game versus DPR Korea (North Korea, that is not Da People’s Republic of Korea) live at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Second Elimination Round. For me, the match tonight was the team’s best game yet since December 5, 2010. Prior to tonight’s match, I personally thought that the Philippine Azkals beating DPR Korea (whether on home turf or away) is next to impossible.

My son, Robyn Andi Xeon in front of the Rizal Memorial Stadium entrance with his Happy Meal box. it was his first time to be at the RMS to watch a soccer game.

My son, Robyn Andi Xeon in front of the Rizal Memorial Stadium entrance with his Happy Meal box. it was his first time to be at the RMS to watch a soccer game.

 

Kick-off is at 2000H, but my son and I opted to leave home early to avoid the rush hour traffic jam in Manila. We were at the entrance of the Rizal Memorial Stadium (RMS) as early as 1730H — still plenty of time before the match, so we hangout at McDonald’s for a couple of minutes. The RMS guards finally allowed spectators to go inside the stadium minutes after 1800H. It is worth mentioning that this is an international (FIFA-sanctioned) football match, there was a notable high visibility of uniformed PNP personnel around the RMS (there was even walk-through metal detectors and x-ray machines installed at the entrance of the arena, and people were asked to show ID cards aside from the game tickets).

We were at the PHP500 section of the grandstand (with roof). The opposite side (roofless) ticket will cost you around PHP100 only.

We were at the PHP500 section of the grandstand (under a roof). The opposite side (open air; without roof) ticket will cost you around PHP100 only.

 

The last time I watched an Azkals game at the RMS (I think it was versus Mongolia a couple of years ago), the pitch was still using carabao grass — now it has an artificial turf. Said to myself, “taxes working for you…” kudos to the Philippine Sports Commission!

FIFA officials inspecting the game area.

FIFA officials inspecting the game area.

 

The beauty of being early at the game venue: you will be able to catch both teams warm up.

Here comes the Azkals...

Here comes the Azkals…

 

Retiring Azkal, Juan Luis "Juani" Guirado with Azkals Boss, Dan Palami at the pitch.

Retiring Azkal, Juan Luis “Juani” Guirado with Azkals Boss, Dan Palami at the pitch.

 

TJ Manotoc and the rest of ABS-CBN Sports & Action team preparing to shoot some pre-match spiels.

TJ Manotoc and the rest of ABS-CBN Sports & Action team preparing to shoot some pre-match spiels.

 

Here comes the North Korean!

Here comes the North Koreans!

 

Minutes before kick-off…

Our photojournalist friends preparing their gears for the match.

Our photojournalist friends preparing their gears for the match.

 

The Ultras Filipinas, still tamed -- seems to be reserving their energy for the match.

The Ultras Filipinas, still tamed — seems to be reserving their energy for the match.

 

Here comes the FIFA and national colors of the Philippines and North Korea, as well as the players...

Here comes the FIFA and national colors of the Philippines and North Korea, as well as the players…

 

One of those days where you are so proud to sing the "Lupang Hinirang" (Philippine National Anthem). Kudos to the people who brought that enormous flag!

One of those days wherein you are so proud to sing the “Lupang Hinirang” (Philippine National Anthem). Kudos to the people who brought that huge Philippine flag!

 

Our heroes that night: The Philippine Azkals.

Our heroes that night: The Philippine Azkals.

 

Attendance at the Rizal Memorial Stadium for the match: 7,351 as announced in the PA.

Attendance at the Rizal Memorial Stadium for the match: 7,351 as announced in the PA.

 

The opening goal came in rather late: a shot from Javier Patiño in the 43rd minute was deflected by the goalkeeper but a follow-up heading by Misagh Bahadoran went straight to the net inside the goal! Philippines = 1; DPR Korea = NIL.

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But just some four (04) minutes later, DPR Korea got a break in the mad scramble near the goal: game tied at 1 a piece at half-time.

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A few minutes after the second half started, DPR Korea had a lucky break: they managed a goal on the 47th minute. Azkals down, 1-2 in favor of DPR Korea.

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Some sad faces in the bleachers…

 

With less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, on the 84th minute Manny Ott was the recipient of a team effort pass, which originated with slide pass from James Younghusband then to Javi Patiño then to Miguel Tanton, who did the backheel pass to Ott and scored! The Azkals tied the match, 2-2! Yes, it was not a dream! The entire stadium is rumbling in jubilation as the home crowd cheers the goal. Remember, we tied this guys with a scoreless draw last year in their home turf.

When everybody thought it would be over, with just a minute left in regulation, Javi Patiño skillfully trapped, dribbled and chipped the ball to Iain Ramsay, who was at the right spot at the right time: in front of the goal. Ramsay scores! My son was already covering his ears as the crowd went wild to celebrate the 3rd goal of the match. History happening right in front of our very eyes that night. The Philippine Azkals leads the match 3-2 with just a minute remaining in regulation period. Three (03) minutes added. Then came the final whistle. More cheers from the crowd.

What a match! Feels like watching a FIFA World Cup match in our home soil (owing to the fact that DPR Korea played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with some of their players then in the roster for tonight’s game — including the goalkeeper). The level by which the Azkals played tonight is truly world class football.

As most sportscasters will say, the game tonight of the Azkals versus DPR Korea is truly one for the history books. With this win, though we are already out of contention for the next FIFA World Cup, we will be able to see more action from the Philippine Azkals during the 3rd Round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

This made my day! Juani re-posted my photo of him on his Instagram account. Mabuhay at maraming salamat, Juani sa serbisyo mo sa Philippine Azkals!

This made my day! Juani re-posted my photo of him on his Instagram account. Mabuhay at maraming salamat, Juani sa serbisyo mo sa Philippine Azkals!

 

Other photos I took that night are here. Feel free to share with proper credits.

Highlights video of the match clipped from ABS-CBN Sports & Action is here:

rust-logo

Rust is a systems programming language that runs awesomely fast, prevents segfaults, and guarantees thread safety. Rust is relatively new and Mozillians love it. Thought that it is time for me to learn a new programming language: decided that it will be Rust.

I just created a study group for Rust via [https://www.facebook.com/groups/rustph]. Please feel free to join us. Let’s learn how to Rust.

Thanks to all who attended my talk during FOSSASIA 2016. As promised, here’s my slide deck:

I attended FOSSASIA 2016 to represent Mozilla and give a talk about Connected Devices, MozVR and Firefox Developer Tools. Here’s the account of Mozilla’s participation in the annual Open Source conference held in Singapore from 18 to 20 March 2016:

Back side of the Arduino Uno R3

Back side of the Arduino Uno R3

I am so happy to receive my very first open source hardware: the Arduino Uno Revision 3 (R3)!

I got my Arduino from a local reseller based in Las Piñas City over last week, and was delivered Monday this week via LBC.

… Arduino is an open-source computer hardware and software company, project and user community that designs and manufactures microcontroller-based kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world.” — Wikipedia

Using the Arduino software (download of which took a considerable amount of time — guess their webserver is slow), I am able to send some commands to the Arduino connected to my MacBook Pro:

The open-source Arduino Software (IDE) makes it easy to write code and upload it to the board. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The environment is written in Java and based on Processing and other open-source software.

The open-source Arduino Software (IDE) makes it easy to write code and upload it to the board. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The environment is written in Java and based on Processing and other open-source software.

 

The code above made several lights in the Arduino’s board to blink. What’s so awesome with the Arduino is that I can throw C/C++ codes right into it (my friends know how much I love those programming languages)!