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2023: Expert calls on INEC to urgently upgrade BVAS

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The Managing Director of New Horizons, Mr Tim Akano, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to urgently upgrade the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) ahead of the forthcoming polls.

Akano, who heads the computer training firm, made the call on Saturday in Lagos at the celebration of the World Data Privacy Day organised by Data and Knowledge Information Privacy Protection Initiative (DKIPPI).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the celebrations is “Understanding Privacy and Online Risk in Digital World Today”.

He said that regardless of the performance of BVAS in the next three weeks, there was a need for an urgent upgrade against the background of the over-voting recorded in the recent Osun governorship election.

According to Akano, 2023 World Data Privacy Day celebration could not have come at a better time.

“This will be the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria that the country would rely on wholesale technology to choose its next president.

“Will BVAS lead to a breakthrough or a breakdown of Nigeria even though BVAS end -to-end encryption security offers more than a kilogramme of comfort and confidence?

“It is good and helpful nonetheless and it is in the best interest of INEC in particular and Nigeria in general to pay more than a casual attention to what we call Man -in-the -Middle attack or a replay attack which dark hackers can exploit to intercept, modify and retransmit the election data while in motion or transit,” he pointed out.

Akano said that more importantly, transmitting sensitive data using the GSM technology which BVAS depended on was not as water-tight as using the satellite technology.

He said that a reconfigured BVAS 2.0 would definitely be capable of identifying and automatically eliminating cases of over-voting from the source polling units using certain Artificial Intelligence technology.

He said that it would thereby save INEC from avoidable embarrassment of having to harmonise their data, as it happened in Osun with three results in one election.

According to him, time is no more for the implementation of this reconfiguration before the Feb. 23 presidential election but suffice to say that the technology to arrest over-voting by BVAS exists today.

“If the F-35 American fighter jet, the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world, can be hacked, BVAS is not absolute,” he said.

He, however, described data security privacy as a strong iron steel installed on the window to prevent theft which should be embraced by individuals and organisations.

In his address, the Convener, Mr Tokunbo Smith, expressed excitement because many government institutions, corporate bodies and professional bodies have joined in celebrating the World Data Privacy Day.

He said that DKIPPI had contributed and was still contributing to the development of Data Privacy and Protection in Nigeria.

Smith said that the desire of the initiative to create awareness on data privacy and educate the public on the importance of data privacy was already yielding positive results.

Noted that the highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to some individuals. (NAN)(www

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