British lord takes charge of new election tech firm
24 November 2014 19:07 GMT

Over 15% of Brazil’s 141.8 million voters cast biometric votes in the country’s 5 October general election.

Labour peer and veteran British diplomat Lord Mark Malloch-Brown is set to become chairman of a new venture based in London that will focus on innovative voting technologies such as biometric identification.

The new firm, called SGO, will become a parent firm for Smartmatic, a Venezuela-based company that had provided e-voting machines for recent biometrics-backed elections in the Philippines and Brazil.

Lord Malloch-Brown, who is listed as chairman of Smartmatic on the UK parliament’s website, told London’s Financial Times that he believed that elections technology can help emerging economies achieve development goals.

“There’s nothing more powerful in terms of reallocating resources among the poor than effective democracy which allows the poor a political voice,” he said.

In the coming year, SGO will launch three new companies, each working on spin-off products to tackle issues such as biometric identification, internet voting and climate change, wrote the FT

Over 15% of Brazil’s 141.8 million voters cast ballots in the country’s 5 October general election using biometric technology. Smartmatic configured and deployed 1,464 Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite terminals to support voice and data communications for the vote.

The Philippines Commission on Elections announced in June that the biometrics data of all registered voters must be gathered before May 2016 national polls.

Antonio Mugica, chief executive of Smartmatic, told the newspaper that Smartmatic had average annual revenues of about $250m and had been profitable for more than a decade. Mugica will become the chief executive of SGO.

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