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Online voting in the coming US elections raises severe risks. Preserving the security of that election is on the minds of cyber experts at U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency. Officials there say that unlike in 2016, where Russia was the biggest threat to election security, there are now new threats that pose a risk, by more players, such as cyber operations and covert influence attempts to assist or harm political organizations, campaigns, or public officials. These include attempts to create information online by adversarial nations, often through proxy groups, to create discord and influence opinion in the U.S.
Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have enlisted Big Tech executives to help fight influence operations aimed at the election and to help prepare for the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions that will be held largely online.
The group includes Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Pinterest, Reddit, Verizon, and the Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia.
Their executives met with representatives of the FBI, Department of Justice, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Afterward, the Big Tech executives said that their companies are meeting regularly with the federal government agencies responsible for ensuring election security. Their statement said: “..We discussed preparations for the upcoming conventions and scenario planning related to election results. We will continue to stay vigilant on these issues and meet regularly ahead of the November election.”
The federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies said the goal of their interaction with the social media and technology companies was to increase resilience in support of election security, share information, and strengthen the government’s relationship with the tech sector.
“Whether it’s the federal government, election officials, social media companies or the American public, everyone has a role to play,” the federal government agencies said in a statement. “Transparency on risks is critical to countering the threat and we will continue to work with our state, local partners and the private sector in this collective mission to protect 2020.”
While participants in the meeting have kept specific details on the discussions under wraps, Facebook provided some clues about ongoing concerns in the roll-out of its new voting information center. Facebook formally launched the center recently with goals of registering 4 million voters, recruiting poll workers, and curating news about elections, according to washingtontimes.com.