Poll software ‘trusted build’ slated


Following the completion of the international source code review of the automated election system (AES) to be used in the 2019 midterm elections, a poll official announced Thursday that a “trusted build” will be conducted on 14 December in Alabama, USA as a final step in assembling the software system.

According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, conducting a “trusted build” is important for the credibility of the system as it provides assurance the system is not made from shady components or that all the components have been properly reviewed and cleared.

“The source code review checked out all the various components of the AES, to make sure it all functions as planned and that there are no malicious instructions embedded in the code.
After the review, these components are considered ‘trusted,’” Jimenez explained.

“Once the components have been reviewed, they are then assembled to create the overall program that will govern the entire AES. This process is called the “build.”

“Trusted build” simply means assembling the program using the reviewed components, he added.

Jimenez said the system resulting from the trusted build will then be hashed, meaning it’s digital “fingerprint” will be generated.

He said the unique digital fingerprint will be the standard against which all components of the AES will have to be measured.

“So, for example, if we hash the program running the Vote Counting Machine (VCM), it should give a ‘digital fingerprint’ that matches the one we got from the trusted build. In this way, we know that the VCM runs on the program created by the trusted build,” Jimenez said.

The entire proceedings will be broadcast live via Facebook on 14 December starting at 8 am.

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