Biometric system may not be ideal for PNG elections

Letters, Normal

The National, Thursday 02nd August, 2012

A LOT of people are jumping onto the Biometric Identifier System (BIS) bandwagon without really knowing what it is, simply because of alleged negativities with the current system.
BIS uses digitised image of fingerprints, iris, facial or DNA for identification.
All these data are stored in central computer servers for future matching.
As with all systems, there would be an input, a number of processes, an output and a final audit.
In an election scenario, each polling team would have – for   voter identification alone – a fingerprint scanner, a computer, a good telecommunication link (microwave, VSat or coax­ial/fibre optics cable), as well as an information and communications technology (ICT) personnel.
The ICT equipment would have to be secured against all weather and travelling conditions, theft or damage and should also work in remote locations.
To top it all off, this system should also be transparent in order not to be manipulated by returning officers or anyone else.
And we have not even in­­clu­ded the actual polling and counting processes.
The logistics and costs would increase exponentially as compared to the current common roll system.
BIS might work in India and in corporate or government work place settings, but I am not sure if it would work in PNG elections.
Some people might not even be keen to have their biological and personal data in some government data bank, which could be easily manipulated.
Electronic voting and counting is another system that is complex, expensive and could easily be rigged to suit vested interests.
I would prefer that the present election system be continued, but improved by minimising detriments, because the current system’s paper trail can be easily followed and audited.

Wong Narungii