ITDI-MMHRDC to hold webinar

Ang Metro Manila Health Research and Development Council (MMHRDC), sa pakikipagtulungan ng Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) at ng Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), ay magkakaroon ng isang virtual forum na gaganapin bukas 17 May 2022 at may temang “Pagkain, Nutrisyon, Kalusugan at Kaligtasan: Pagharap sa Hamon ng Makabagong Panahon.”

Magkakaroon ng mga serye ng talakayan sa kasagsagan ng nasabing forum, na magha highlight ng health, nutrition at food safety. May mga magsasalita mula sa Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) at ITDI at tatalakayin ang tungkol sa health and nutrition habang at pagkatapos ng COVID-19 pandemic, proper food handling, nutraceuticals at functional ingredients, food packaging contaminants, and food preservatives. ang forum ay bukas sa mga members ng MMHRDC consortia, DOST community, at sa lahat.

Layunin nitong mapgpakalat ng kamalayan at interbensyon ng komunidad ng agham at kung ano ang kanilang mga ginagawa upang matugunan ang suliranin ng publiko hinggil sa health, nutrition, and food safety. samatala batay sa kanilang tema layunin nilang ipabatid sa madla kung paano mapapanatili ang proper health at maging mapag matyag sa kalidad at ng mga pagkaing kinukunsumo habang sinusuong ang mga hamon ng bagong normal. mula sa (STD-ICOW) ### michael balaguer, 09262261791,

ITDI-MMHRDC to hold webinar

Election Forensics

One of the crucial differences between a police detective and a forensic scientist is the
approach—given the available pieces of evidence, the former would try to identify who
is/are the perpetrator(s), while the latter would try to figure out how an incident of
interest happened. So yeah, that classic rock anthem “Who are You” by The Who may
not be an appropriate theme at all for a popular television show about forensic
The 2022 Philippine election season has made more prominent the field of forensics,
mainly because of debates about crowd sizes in campaign rallies. To determine if
photos of large gatherings are real, edited, or fake, enthusiastic people have performed
digital image analysis with image editing software and/or websites, where one can
upload photos and do different layers of inspection for free. Some of the ‘forensic
examinations’ of the questioned images are really impressive, as they demonstrated
proficiency in art, photography, even in physics.
There have been many disputes about crowd estimates as well. To find out crowd
density and uncover any misrepresentation or overestimation, passionate folks have
conducted their very own scrutiny by using Google maps and other readily available
websites to prove or disprove assessment provided by the police or the political party
involved, while relying on their aptitude on geography, proxemics, and statistics.
Forensics, as it should be, is interdisciplinary in nature—the more fields in the mix, the
better and more reliable the analysis.
How can one determine if there are illegal interferences or election manipulation?
Experts in election forensics prefer to employ various statistical methodologies
developed in the field of forensic accounting. Poll data are numerical, and the
fundamental principle is that votes should follow naturally occurring patterns produced
by a natural process, as in the case of a free and honest election. The main goal is to
detect deviations from what is expected to happen, because these would indicate
alteration or manipulation of the voting results. Electoral fraud, just like any other crime,
leaves distinctive traces.
In this time of automated elections, votes are considered big data that upsurge in terms
of volume, variety, and velocity, as each vote counting machine or VCM can
accommodate 800-1000 voters. One of the more preferred quantitative methods in
election forensics is called Benford’s Law. It is a probability distribution for the likelihood
of the first digit in a set of numbers, but it can also be used to predict the distribution of
second digits, third digits, digit combinations, and so on. Benford is widely used in
auditing to identify “doctored” numbers.
Another approach detects incremental and extreme fraud from the concurrent statistics
of vote and turnout numbers. According to a study led by complex systems scientist
Peter Klimek: “Incremental fraud means that, with a given rate, ballots for one party are
added to the urn and/or votes for other parties are taken away. Extreme fraud
corresponds to reporting a complete turnout and almost all votes for a single party.”
Incremental fraud could be what we call dagdag-bawas in Philippine elections.
It is possible to hack an election because there are weaknesses in any automated
system. In this time of electronic voting technology, one would need computer experts
to confirm or refute any hacking events. While the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
has assured the public that the data leak in the Smartmatic system was not related to
the election, some are still afraid of any possible electoral fraud via cyberhacking come
Election Day. Election officials should consider forensic examination when there
appears to be failure in terms of accuracy, availability, secrecy, and anonymity, as
stated in a technical paper by computer scientist Matt Bishop of University of California,
Davis and colleagues.
“Attackers could infiltrate election-management systems,” warned University of
Michigan’s J. Alex Halderman in his interview with Scientific American. Malicious
computer programs can be implanted in voting machines, which could lead to
incremental or extreme electoral fraud. But just like what I previously said, electoral
fraud, like any other crime, leaves distinguishing traces. Computer programs follow
certain commands, and those commands would show signs of patterns that are not
natural, patterns that are not human-like.
This is why election forensics would need an expert in human behavior as well. Amidst
all the statistics and computer science, the human behavior expert can answer the
questions related to the patterns revealed by the quantitative methodologies. Can a
group of people in a certain environment vote this way? Humans are bad at being
random, yet they do not follow rigid patterns (of behavior) like a computer program
would do. Humans continuously learn, and learning as course of adaptation has
increased during human evolution. This makes our species not too random nor too
predictable, but just natural.
Clean and fair elections are the foundation of every democratic society. Election Day is
a day when all of the citizens are truly equal. I hope there will be no need for election
forensics on May 9, but as the age-old Pinoy joke would go: “Walang natatalo sa
eleksyon, ang meron lang yung nananalo at yung nadadaya.” (RJ O Taduran)

Dr. Richard Jonathan O. Taduran is a forensic scientist, with specialization in biological
and forensic anthropology