13 November 2018
Benny Tai (middle) says a back-up system is in place to ensure smooth voting in the mock referendum on electoral reforms in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
Benny Tai (middle) says a back-up system is in place to ensure smooth voting in the mock referendum on electoral reforms in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy Central beefs up voting system for mock referendum

The team behind the PopVote system, which will be used to support online and mobile voting in the June 22 mock referendum in Hong Kong, is confident that the system will work smoothly, said Benny Tai, founder of the Occupy Central movement.

A world-class back-up mechanism is also in place after the unprecedented hacker attacks over the past week, Apple Daily quoted Tai as saying.

The public voting begins today and will run until June 29 at People can also vote via the PopVote mobile app.

According to Tai, Cloudflare, the network operator responsible for the voting, has already upgraded its systems in anticipation of further malicious attacks from hackers.

Information security professional Young Wo-sang, who will oversee areas such as system recovery and security, said a team of four to five people is standing by and that the group believes they can handle the tasks at hand.

Young does not rule out the possibility that hackers might change their way of attack, but he stressed that there are contingency plans.

The PopVote system is developed by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme. The computer servers of its three service providers have been under large-scale distributed denial-of-service attacks over the last few days.

In the civil referendum being organized by Occupy Central, Hong Kong people will be asked to choose between three methods of choosing candidates for the 2017 chief executive election. The choices pertain to selection by public nomination.

Members of the financial sector who support the Occupy Central movement will gather in the Central district to exhort the public to vote in the mock referendum, Ming Pao Daily News reported Friday.

A news conference on Thursday attracted many members of the foreign press, as well as representatives from several consulates, including those of United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union.

Representatives from the US Consulate General said they do not have a stance on the mock referendum. They are there just to collect information, not to interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, a person said.

Former chief secretary Anson Chan said at the event that Hong Kong people should not remain silent in the wake of serious hacker attacks attempting to ruin the mock referendum.

In other comments, Chan stressed that the UK should abide by its legal and moral responsibilities to uphold the spirit of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and cannot just “walk away”, the report said.

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