Smartmatic, the Venezuelan fly by night that in less than a decade went from nothing to become a (self described) "world-record setting elections company" managing to get contracts in excess of $500 million, doctored a press release from New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to counter criticism published in this blog.
In "Metropolitan Transportation Authorities Wants a Change for the Payment Systems", Smartmatic's PR people basically hacked a story -in Tarzan English- about New York's MTA's development of a new contact-less payment system, and invented two spokespeople along the way: Alek Halford and George Boyd (bold added). Go ahead and google Messrs Halford and Boyd in relation to the story, it's good fun. Relevant keywords ("telecommunication, technology, system integration and payment industries, Switzerland, Netherlands, Philippines and South America") were added for good measure.
The original notice can be read here, while the linked article in Smartmatic's post makes no mention to either Halford or Boyd, nor does it the article at banktech.com that, presumably, served as source of inspiration.
Readers of this site will remember previous attempts by Smartmatic of silencing me: by Luis Acuña here, and more recently by Paul Babic here. Today, by mere chance, I discovered Smartmatic's idiotic online reputation management strategy described above. Risking to sound like a broken record here, Smartmatic does have a huge PR problem. It maintains, to this day, an unblemished record of failures: every single electoral process in which it has participated outside of Venezuela -whether in Belgium or the Philippines, has been marred by accusations of either fraud, lack of functionality, corruption, lack of transparency -see the latest here, while crucially, in Venezuela, its lottery machines cum "the world's best electoral system" according to Jimmy Carter were checked -not properly audited- just once, in 2005, when it was revealed that vote secrecy was compromised. In the words of the European experts both Smartmatic and chavismo like to quote so much:
While the source codes are owned by the CNE they are for commercial reasons not made available for public scrutiny and no independent third party audits have been conducted on any part of the electronic voting system.