Canada: Western University expert warns municipalities against using online voting | Megan Stacey/The London Free Press

Online voting in municipal elections is “basically the Wild West,” rife with security and legal risks for cities, a Western University researcher warns. Almost half of Ontario municipalities offered voters the chance to cast their ballots online in the 2018 election, though it’s not been an option in London. “If municipalities use online voting, they are exposing themselves to cyber, legal and reputational risks,” said Aleksander Essex, a Western computer engineering professor and privacy expert. And it could come back to bite taxpayers, he stressed. “We expect there are going to be lawsuits. In fact, there already has been,” Essex said. “We have identified the risks, and we are encouraging (municipalities) to not use this technology until some standards can be developed.” All small municipalities in the London region offered voters the chance to cast ballots online in 2018, and Sarnia council voted last month to use internet-only voting in the next election in 2022.

Full Article: Western expert warns municipalities against using online voting | The Stratford Beacon Herald

Canada: ‘I don’t think it should be used’: Northwest Territories legislators hear expert’s concerns on online voting | Hilary Bird/CBC

When election officials in the Northwest Territories announced last year that the territory would be the first jurisdiction to use online voting in any provincial or territorial election, there was some public excitement. But that excitement quickly became overshadowed by warnings from cybersecurity experts who claimed the online voting systems of the day just weren’t secure enough to be used in an election. Regardless of those concerns, Elections NWT went ahead with its online voting plans and in the October 2019 election, 3.7 per cent of voters in the N.W.T. used the Montreal-based Simply Voting online platform to cast their ballot. The controversy surrounding the N.W.T. ‘s use of online voting is back in the public realm this month as a committee of MLAs is spending several days studying the process to see if it should be used in future elections. In her report to the N.W.T. Legislature on last year’s election, the territory’s chief electoral officer Nicole Latour is recommending thevernment amend the N.W.T. Elections and Plebiscites Act so that she can develop a set of procedures so that online voting can be a permanent part of future territorial elections. But in a presentation to the standing committee on rules and procedures Tuesday, one of the world’s leading election cyber security experts Aleksander Essex recommended the opposite.

Canada: Microsoft, Canada to lead global effort to counter election interference | Maggie Miller/The Hill

The government of Canada, alongside Microsoft and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, will lead a global effort to counter the use of cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns to disrupt elections, officials announced Tuesday. Dominic LeBlanc, president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, said that his nation would become one of the leads on countering election interference as part of the 2018 Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. “Canada’s leadership in the Paris Call will help build global expertise and understanding about the best way to combat online disinformation and malicious cyber activities in the context of election interference,” LeBlanc said in a statement. The 2018 agreement — which is backed by almost 80 countries, 29 local governments and more than 600 private sector groups — called for the world to tackle cyber threats ranging from cracking down on intellectual property theft to strengthening international cyber standards to protecting elections.

Canada: Canada at risk from Russian, Chinese interference – security committee | David Ljunggren/Reuters

Canada’s democracy is at risk from interference by China and Russia, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government must do more to build up its defenses, a special security body said on Thursday. The national security and intelligence committee of Canadian parliamentarians, which was granted access to classified materials, said elected and public officials at all levels were being targeted. “The (main) perpetrators of foreign interference in Canada are the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation,” the committee said in an annual report. “States that conduct foreign interference activities pose a threat to Canada and predominantly threaten the fundamental building blocks of Canada’s democracy.” Canada has poor relations with both Moscow and Beijing. Ottawa imposed sanctions on many senior Russian officials after the annexation of Crimea and is entangled in a diplomatic and trade dispute with China. The report, parts of which were redacted for security reasons, said some countries targeted ethnic communities, sought to corrupt the political process and manipulate news media.

Canada: Security issues stymie online voting | Constantine Passaris/Winnipeg Free Press

The recent Iowa caucuses debacle reminded me of two things. First, my about-face as a member of the New Brunswick Commission on Electoral Reform with respect to electronic voting. Second, further confirmation that the electronic infrastructure continues to be an impediment in advancing digital democracy. The 21st century has empowered humanity with electronic connectivity and digital dexterity. The information technology revolution has been a catalyst for the kind of transformation that happens at most once every century. Internetization, in the form of global outreach and electronic connectivity, has proven to be a game-changer for society. It has precipitated transformation on practically every aspect of human endeavour. The way we bank, travel, communicate, educate and entertain ourselves, to name but a few, have been profoundly and positively impacted by internetization.

Canada: Nova Scotia could see limited internet voting for military with proposed changes | Keith Doucette/The Canadian Press

Limited internet voting for the military and financial reimbursement for candidate expenses related to family care feature in a series of proposed changes to Nova Scotia’s Elections Act tabled Friday. Justice Minister Mark Furey said the changes would reduce barriers to running in elections and make voting easier for members of the military who are serving elsewhere in Canada or overseas. Under the changes, candidates would be reimbursed for extra expenses such as child and spousal care, elder care or care for a person with a disability. “Public service is foundational to our democracy, and my hope is that these changes will reduce barriers to running, especially for women who are primary care givers in so many elements of their family,” Furey said.

Canada: 2019 election wasn’t without hitches, but no cyber disruptions: report | Rachel Aiello/CTV News

Election Canada’s delivery of the 2019 federal election wasn’t without some hitches, but the integrity of the vote was maintained from a cybersecurity perspective, according to Elections Canada’s first report into the fall campaign. The report, tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, provides a general overview of how the election was delivered by the federal elections agency, and identified issues that will require further analysis in the coming months. Among the issues highlighted: the timing of the vote; the impact of weather in some ridings; and the staffing of polling places. Topline numbers show that, while turnout was slightly down, the 40-day campaign saw an increase in the number of candidates, registered third parties, participants in advance polls, and the overall price tag. Some 18.3 million Canadians cast ballots. That’s 67 per cent of registered voters, which was down marginally from the 68 per cent turnout in 2015. A total of 2,146 candidates ran for 21 different political parties, up from 1,792 MP-hopefuls in 2015; and the number of registered third parties increased from 115 to 147.

Canada: Russian election-meddling in Canada linked to Arctic ambitions: report | Daily Stock Dish

A new University of Calgary study is predicting Russian interference in the federal election campaign to serve what it describes as the Kremlin‘s long-term interest of competing against Canada in the Arctic. The study‘s author, Sergey Sukhankin, said in an interview that Moscow‘s ability to inflict serious damage is relatively low because Canadian society is not as divided as countries targeted in past elections, including the United States presidential ballot and Britain‘s Brexit referendum in 2016, as well as various attacks on Ukraine and the Baltic states. “The Kremlin has a growing interest in dominating the Arctic, where it sees Russia as in competition with Canada. This means Canada can anticipate escalations in information warfare, particularly from hacktivists fomenting cyber-attacks,” writes Sukhankin, a senior fellow with the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think-tank, who is teaching at the University of Calgary. “Perceived as one of Russia‘s chief adversaries in the Arctic region, Canada is a prime target in the information wars, with Russia potentially even meddling in the October 2019 federal election. Ottawa should be ready for a new surge in cyberattacks, disinformation and propaganda levelled against Canada in the near future.”

Canada: Online voting in Northwest Territories election questioned as recounts set to take place | Hilary Bird/CBC

With two recounts set to take place in the next 10 days, one candidate in Tuesday’s Northwest Territories election says he has some concerns with how online votes will be recounted. Under the Elections and Plebiscite Act of the Northwest Territories, races that won with a margin of less than two per cent must have judicial recounts within 10 days of the official results being released. That means ballots cast in the Frame Lake and Yellowknife North ridings will all need to be recounted by a judge. Rylund Johnson won in Yellowknife North by just five votes over incumbent Cory Vanthuyne. Johnson got 501 votes; Vanthuyne received 496. In Yellowknife’s Frame Lake riding, incumbent Kevin O’Reilly won by a slim margin with 357 votes. The riding’s only other candidate, former minister Dave Ramsay, received 346 votes. Ramsay told CBC News Wednesday that he has already seen discrepancies between unofficial numbers reported by Elections NWT Tuesday evening and numbers reported Wednesday morning after returning officers double-checked the polls.

Canada: ‘It’ll be something new’: Canadian election interference likely in unexpected places | Penny Daflos/CTV

The upcoming Canadian election is the first test for new laws and social media policies, and while online activity suggests they’re being effective in curbing disinformation, experts are already warning that those seeking to manipulate the election or create chaos among voters have moved on to new tactics. Analysis from Twitter, Facebook and academics suggests that malicious, manufactured and “fake news” content is not as widespread as in previous years, largely due to efforts to zero in on and remove that kind of material as quickly as possible. SFU public communication professor Ahmed Al-Rawi is one of many academics across the country scrutinizing online activity for signs of foreign or domestic interference; he hasn’t found any. “I’ve downloaded over a million tweets and analyzed the ‘canpoli’ hashtag and I could not find any large activity of bots (automated re-tweeting accounts),” said Al-Rawi, who is continuing to assess those tweets throughout the campaign.

Canada: Russia could meddle in Canada’s election due to ‘growing interest’ in Arctic: report | Mike Blanchfield/The Canadian Press

A new University of Calgary study is predicting Russian interference in the federal election campaign to serve what it describes as the Kremlin’s long-term interest of competing against Canada in the Arctic. The study’s author, Sergey Sukhankin, said in an interview that Moscow’s ability to inflict serious damage is relatively low because Canadian society is not as divided as countries targeted in past elections, including the United States presidential ballot and Britain’s Brexit referendum in 2016, as well as various attacks on Ukraine and the Baltic states. “The Kremlin has a growing interest in dominating the Arctic, where it sees Russia as in competition with Canada. This means Canada can anticipate escalations in information warfare, particularly from hacktivists fomenting cyber-attacks,” writes Sukhankin, a senior fellow with the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think-tank, who is teaching at the University of Calgary.

Canada: Unlike U.S., Canada plans coordinated attack on foreign election interference | Alexander Panetta and Mark Scott/Politico

Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election rattled America’s next-door neighbor so badly that Canada spent the last three years developing the most detailed plan anywhere in the Western world to combat foreign meddling in its upcoming election. But with the country’s national campaign to begin in a matter of weeks, one question remains: Will the efforts pay off? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government passed new transparency rules last year for online political ads that run on platforms including Facebook and Twitter — further than what’s required in the U.S. It ordered the country’s usually tight-lipped intelligence services to go public about foreign threats. Canada also housed a G-7 project to share the latest intelligence between allies about possible foreign disinformation and created a non-partisan group to warn political parties and the public about outside interference. “The way the Canadians have responded to the problem of technology and democracy is much more impressive than what we’ve seen in Washington,” said Ben Scott, a former Hillary Clinton official, now based in Toronto, who has tracked disinformation campaigns in elections across the West. “Pound for pound, Canada is way ahead of the U.S. in terms of policy development on these issues.”

Canada: 19 million Canadians have had their data breached in eight months | Francesca Fionda/CTV News

An estimated 19 million Canadians have been affected by data breaches between November 2018 and June 2019, according to numbers obtained by “Attention Control with Kevin Newman,” a new podcast that launched Monday. The numbers come from 446 breaches that were reported to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC). Victims of these kinds of data breaches are vulnerable to identity theft, financial crime, even violence in some cases. The new reporting laws that require businesses to report breaches where there could be a real risk of significant harm to the OPC and the people affected came into effect last November. Between then and June 2019, the OPC received 446 breach reports, nearly six times the number of reports received during the same time period under the previous voluntary reporting system.

Canada: Cyber-risk ramps up during elections | Allan Bonner and Brennen Schmidt/Winnipeg Free Press

It’s almost federal election time — that means many Canadian voters will be trying to guess whether political parties will do what they say they will if elected. That’s a difficult guess. But what about judging a political party’s credibility on a policy issue by seeing whether it practises what it preaches? Here’s an easy example: cybersecurity is in the news. It’s in the budget, too. A while ago, the federal government devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to the threat. And every day there’s news from the U.S. about past and present meddling in the political process. There are also serious worries about future elections, and even the need for paper ballots to ensure the meddling isn’t in cyberspace or a cloud somewhere. Fans of detective novels and movies enjoy the denouement at the end when the culprit is exposed.

Canada: Federal election panel may have tough call | Jim Vibert/The Chronicle Herald

Should malign actors – foreign, domestic, or indeterminate – mess with Canada’s election this fall, a gathering of five senior federal bureaucrats will decide whether the action constitutes a threat to our otherwise “free and fair” election. If it does, they’ll let us know. There’s nothing wrong with this, unless the process is as cumbersome as the label pinned on it. In that case, the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol, or CEIPP (seep?), would alert us to election skullduggery sometime after the next Parliament is sworn in. The five members of the CEIPP panel are the clerk of the Privy Council, the prime minister’s national security and intelligence adviser, and the deputy ministers of Justice, Public Safety, and Foreign Affairs. This high-powered group will draw information from Canada’s intelligence agencies who are, we’re told, hard at work defending us from unseen malevolence, and spying on environmental activists. Actually, we weren’t told that bit about spying on environmentalists. We learned that this week after a federal court unsealed a raft of documents that showed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service traded intel about environmentalists with oil companies. That has little to do with free and fair elections, but it raises troubling questions about the power imbalance that makes a mockery of democracy itself. But I digress.

Canada: ‘Terrible idea’: Online security experts warn against online voting in N.W.T. elections | Hilary Bird/CBC News

Security experts have a message for election officials in the Northwest Territories: don’t use online voting. Officials recently announced online voting will be used for the first time in a provincial or territorial election when residents go to the polls on Oct. 1. Voters will be able to cast their ballots online using the Montreal-based Simply Voting platform. It’s an idea that has garnered a lot of public excitement, as well as criticism. “It’s really sexy. It gets you in the papers, it gets you on CBC,” says government transparency advocate and OpenNWT founder David Wasylciw. “But there’s a lot more issues when you talk to computer security people. Every single one of them says it’s a terrible idea. Everybody who does computer work says it’s a terrible idea.” Security experts say that while hacking from foreign actors is a threat, what people in the territory should be most concerned about is ballot transparency. Wasylciw says this apparent lack of transparency can be exacerbated in a place like the N.W.T., where many ridings have only a couple hundred voters, and outcomes can come down to a few dozen votes. “[With paper elections] a candidate can scrutinize the votes and they can count them and double check them. With an online system, none of that’s even an option. All you get is a spreadsheet.” Aleksander Essex, a professor of computer science at Western University in London, Ont., who studies online voting, agrees. He says the biggest issue with the technology is there is no assurance that the recorded votes are actually what voters chose.

Canada: No direct threats to the election yet – but foreign actors are getting ready to meddle: officials | Catharine Tunney/CBC

Canadian security agencies haven’t seen any direct threats to the 2019 election so far, but a government official says hostile foreign actors are positioning themselves already to insert themselves into the campaign. A handful of senior officials spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity Tuesday to offer an update on how they’ll alert the public to any serious attempts to interfere with the October election. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment and the RCMP are monitoring foreign threat activity in Canada and around the world — which is not unusual, said one official. “At this time, we haven’t seen direct threats to the 2019 general election,” the official said. CSIS continues to observe hostile foreign actors “taking steps to position themselves to clandestinely influence, promote or discredit certain messages, candidates or groups during the campaign,” the official added.

Canada: Anti-election-meddling panel would prefer to keep quiet | Carl Meyer/National Observer

Canada’s anti-election-meddling panel will look into domestic threats as well as foreign interference during this fall’s campaign. But the government officials tasked with probing attempts to subvert Canada’s free and fair elections will require all members of the panel to sign off before informing the public of an incident. That’s because the panel sees its power to go public as a last resort, and would prefer that journalists and civil society organizations keep citizens informed through debunking conspiracy theories or exposing fake social media accounts before disinformation spreads too far. Federal government officials speaking on background revealed these and other details of Canada’s Critical Election Incident Public Protocol in a briefing Tuesday. The briefing was related to a cabinet directive that was published July 9, and first announced by Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould. “Canada’s democratic institutions have to be prepared to face incidents similar to those we have seen in other elections around the world,” Gould said in a statement. “This, combined with the various measures announced earlier this year, will allow us to uphold the trust and confidence that Canadians have in their democracy.”

Canada: Northwest Territories to be 1st province or territory to use online voting in general election | Hilary Bird/CBC News

In a move to increase voter turnout, the Northwest Territories will soon become the first jurisdiction in Canada to use online voting in a provincial or territorial election. Polls will open on Oct. 1 to elect 19 members to the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly, but people can vote in advance polls as early as Sept. 6. Voters can use a new website called Electorhood to access the Simply Voting online system to cast their ballots. Using the site, eligible voters can vote online from Sept. 6 up until the end of election day on Oct. 1 as long as they’ve registered for the absentee ballot beforehand. “I know elections isn’t very sexy for a lot of people but they don’t realize that they have a Cadillac of a system,” said Nicole Latour, chief electoral officer of the N.W.T. Latour said she’s optimistic the new website and online voting system will encourage more young people to log on and cast their ballots.

Canada: Federal political parties receiving classified security briefings on potential campaign threats | Bill Curry and Janice Dickson/The Globe and Mail

Federal political parties are now receiving classified security briefings about potential foreign interference in the October election campaign, but Canadian intelligence officials say no specific threat has so far been identified. The private briefings for political parties by security officials are one element of a plan announced in January that included the creation of a Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force. The task force is chaired by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), a signals intelligence agency, and includes the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and Global Affairs Canada. The briefings are limited to a handful of political party representatives who hold a valid Canadian government security clearance. The briefings occur in a secure facility and no documents can be removed from the briefing room. CSE has issued two reports warning that it is “very likely” that Canadian voters will encounter foreign cyber interference ahead of, and during, the 2019 general election. In a statement released Wednesday evening, CSE said that remains its position.

Canada: Spy Agency Says Voters Are Being Targeted By Foreign Influence Campaigns | BuzzFeed and the Toronto Star

Canada’s intelligence community has identified foreign actors attempting to directly influence the upcoming federal election campaign, a Toronto Star and BuzzFeed News investigation has learned. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the country’s cyber defence agency, has briefed senior political staff of one federal party about “covert and overt” attempts to influence the Oct. 21 federal election. Canada’s domestic spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), also said Tuesday that “threat actors” are trying to influence Canadian citizens, although the agency tied it to an attack on “democratic institutions” rather than the election specifically. The agencies would not reveal the exact nature of the attempts to influence but said the scope of “foreign interference activities can be broad,” including state-sponsored or influenced media, hacking, and traditional spy operations. “Threat actors are seeking to influence the Canadian public and interfere with Canada’s democratic institutions and processes,” wrote Tahera Mufti, a spokesperson for CSIS, in an emailed statement.

Canada: National security landscape will get a major overhaul this summer | Catharine Tunney/CBC

Canada’s national security architecture is about to undergo a major demolition and rebuild this summer, now that C-59 has received royal assent. The bill — which, after two years, passed through both houses of Parliament this week — gives Canada’s signals intelligence agency new powers, although most of its new authority will come into force down the road. Once the prime minister and cabinet issue an order, the Communications Security Establishment will be permitted under C-59 to launch cyberattacks (also called “active cyber operations”) for the first time in Canadian history. Such cyberattacks could be used to stop a terrorist’s cellphone from detonating a car bomb, for example, or to impede a terrorist’s ability to communicate with others by obstructing communication infrastructure, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Canada: In new guide, spy agency warns campaign teams ‘more likely’ targets of cyber attacks | Rachel Aiello/CTV News

If you are working on a political campaign, are a candidate, or political volunteer, you are poised to be a prime target for attempted foreign interference and cyber attacks in the coming federal election. That’s the message from the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) in a newly released cyber guide for political campaigns. It’s the first time a guide like this has been created by the federal electronic spy agency, and comes after the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security issued reports in 2017 and 2019 warning that foreign interference in the fall federal campaign is “very likely” and that political campaigns are one of the higher-risk entities vulnerable to these attempts to meddle in the outcome of the election. The 2019 report found that politicians, their parties, and their staff are targets for more advanced cyber attacks such as obtaining private information for the purpose of blackmail, or accessing campaign databases.

Canada: Canada elections chief says hackers aim to keep people from voting | Steve Scherer/Reuters

Hackers seeking to interfere in Canada’s federal election this October want to undermine trust in voting and the democratic process rather than manipulate the result, says Canada’s chief electoral officer. Citing episodes of foreign interference in democratic elections in the United States in 2016 and the UK’s Brexit vote, Stephane Perrault said in an interview that Canada now is “quite alert” to the threat and has prepared extensively. “If there is an interest in interfering, it’s most likely to be to deflate the interest in voting, undermine democracy, and undermine trust in the election rather than undermine the particular results,” Perrault said in his office on Wednesday. Last month, Canadian security sources said they were concerned about the potential weakness in political parties’ cyber networks, particularly from the thousands of volunteers.

Canada: Elections Canada to monitor misinformation about voting on social media | The Globe and Mail

Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer says Elections Canada will deploy teams to monitor social media for misinformation about the electoral process during this fall’s election. Stéphane Perrault told the Senate finance committee Tuesday morning that it is not Elections Canada’s role to monitor truth on the internet, but it does have a responsibility to ensure that information about the voting process is accurate. “We will have a dedicated team both to monitor and a team to respond to any inaccurate information, whether it’s disinformation or misinformation,” Mr. Perrault said. “We are acquiring tools to monitor social media in multiple languages and we’ll use key words and try to identify any information that relates to the electoral process. And if there is misinformation, we will quickly respond to that – that’s a key aspect of our role during this election.” In response to questions from senators about ways to crack down on misinformation, Mr. Perrault reiterated that Elections Canada’s focus will be on any misinformation relating to the voting process. But he did say that in the lead-up to the campaign, Elections Canada will launch a public-awareness initiative on social-media literacy to encourage people to determine the source of the information they’re receiving.

Canada: Liberals, Conservatives and NDP endorse global pledge against fraudulent campaign tactics | The Globe and Mail

Canada’s three main parties are signing on to a global pledge against the use of fake news and digital dirty tricks in advance of the October federal election campaign. A former head of NATO met with MPs and government officials on Monday on Parliament Hill to gather signatures for an “election integrity” pledge that started in the European Union and is now being promoted in Canada and the United States. Signatories agree to reject the increasingly sophisticated tools that can be used to mislead voters during an election. That list includes “deep fakes,” an artificial-intelligence technology based on doctoring video and audio in ways that produce believable, yet fake, clips of politicians appearing to say something that they never did. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, former NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it is only a matter of time before voters are faced with fraudulent videos that are nearly impossible to distinguish from reality. “In a couple of years, you’ll have a perfect technology where you’re not able to identify with your own eyes and ears who is the fake and who is the true edition of a political leader,” he said. “You can imagine if a deep-fake video, for instance, is published a couple of days before an important election [what] damaging effect it could have.”

Canada: Rebuking Tech Giants, Canada Braces for Possible Election Interference | The New York Times

Canada is expecting foreign interference in its national election in October, and is considering stronger regulation of social media companies to ensure they block meddling in the voting, the minister responsible for election integrity said on Monday. The minister spoke after the release of an updated report by Canada’s electronic eavesdropping and security agency on online interference by other countries in the Canadian election. “We judge it very likely that Canadian voters will encounter some form of foreign cyber interference related to the 2019 federal election,” the report said. “However, at this time, it is improbable that this foreign cyber interference will be of the scale of Russian activity against the 2016 United States presidential election.” “Canada is a target of choice for those who seek to undermine our democracy,” said the minister, Karina Gould, at a news conference in Ottawa. The report does not indicate what countries are likely to attack Canada, and both Harjit Sajjan, the defense minister, and Shelly Bruce, who heads the electronic security agency, declined to elaborate.

Canada: Freeland says foreign election meddling in October federal vote is likely | CTV

Malign foreign actors will likely try to meddle in the Canadian federal election in October, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland warned Friday, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed the finger at Russia as the most likely culprit. Freeland sounded the alarm over election interference at a G7 foreign ministers’ gathering in France. At a parallel G7 meeting of interior ministers, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the bloc wants the world’s big internet companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft — to do more to stop their platforms from being exploited. The dual G7 ministerial mirrored a similar joint meeting in Toronto almost one year ago that unfolded against the backdrop of a van attack on Yonge Street that left 10 people dead. A year later, their meetings occurred just weeks after 50 people were killed in two attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Canada’s upcoming federal election also attracted interest, sparking a question to Freeland about the likelihood of Russian interference. “We are very concerned,” the minister replied. “I think our judgment is interference is very likely and we think there has probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy.”

Canada: Officials worry that foreign actors are trying to meddle in 2019 election | The Toronto Star

Canadian intelligence agencies have identified persistent foreign state-backed cyber campaigns against government and civilian targets that have some officials worried efforts to interfere with this year’s federal election have already begun. Two intelligence sources with direct knowledge of efforts to safeguard Canada’s 2019 election say the rate of cyber attacks against federal institutions, political parties and private companies has been steadily increasing. Between 2013 and 2015, an average of 2,500 state-sponsored “cyber activities” against government networks were detected each year. The rate of success of those activities declined over that period, from six per cent in 2013 to two per cent in 2015 — but that still works out to one successful attack per week. The government officials, who requested anonymity to speak about ongoing national security matters, said just because a hostile state have political and government systems targets does not necessarily mean they intend to disrupt the election. But others are treating it as a foregone conclusion.