Hack­ers tar­get lo­cal fe­ria poster con­test

Costa del Sol News - - FRONT PAGE -

By James Lang­ton A SUR­VEY on Fuen­girola town hall’s web­site to se­lect a poster for the up­com­ing Fe­ria del Rosario has been scrapped, after mu­nic­i­pal IT staff de­tected hun­dreds of fraud­u­lent votes.

In a state­ment last week, the town hall said that the con­test had been an­nulled after of­fi­cials found “a se­ries of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties that can only be clas­si­fied as very se­ri­ous”. Mayor Ana Mula added that a com­plaint had been filed with the Na­tional Po­lice and a lo­cal court, to in­ves­ti­gate whether the vote hack­ing con­sti­tutes a crim­i­nal of­fence.

Ear­lier this year the town hall opened a pub­lic con­test to de­sign a the poster for the fair, tak­ing place from the 6th un­til the 12th of Oc­to­ber, with a prize of €3,750 up for grabs for the win­ning sub­mis­sion.

A jury of mu­nic­i­pal work­ers was put to­gether to de­cide the win­ning en­try but failed to do so. Sra Mula said this cre­ated “a cer­tain con­tro­versy be­tween some peo­ple, who made sug­ges­tions of all kinds”, and the de­ci­sion was made to let the pub­lic choose the win­ner.

A pub­lic poll was then cre­ated, al­low­ing peo­ple on the town’s Padrón cen­sus to vote once in each of two rounds of vot­ing. Phase one saw the en­tries cut down to 10, but it was dur­ing the sec­ond stage of the sur­vey, be­tween Au­gust 17 and 23, when the prob­lems were found, with mu­nic­i­pal staff dis­cov­er­ing at least 741 ir­reg­u­lar votes.

It was found that 338 of these were made us­ing the same NIE num­ber, while a more com­plex hack saw the use of NIE num­bers of peo­ple not on the Padrón, taken from a coun­cil doc­u­ment pub­lished pub­li­cally two years ago con­tain­ing data of ap­pli­cants to the town’s fire ser­vice

he town’s mayor added that al­though it is not known which of the en­tries the votes were used to sup­port, “it is un­for­tu­nate that cit­i­zens who have voted hon­estly, meet­ing the es­tab­lished re­quire­ments, are dis­ad­van­taged by those who have opted to vi­o­late the sys­tem”.

She added that a new so­lu­tion to the “very del­i­cate” sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing the fair’s poster will be sought by the town hall.

jlang­ton@csnews.es

Mayor Ana Mula with a copy of the po­lice com­plaint filed by the town hall over the in­ci­dent

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