If you’re a politically inclined technologist, this is your moment. There have never been more rewarding career opportunities for your wonky, nerdy kind. Unless someone wants to hire you to figure out what to do about Russia. That job would suck, because it seems like nobody has any idea how to do it. The consensus last week at CampaignTech East, a two-day conference in Washington, D.C., put on by the trade publication Campaigns & Elections, was that tech-enabled shenanigans—whether masterminded by Vladimir Putin and friends or other bad hombres—are only going to further infect the U.S. political system. Everybody at CampaignTech seemed wracked by the worst-case scenarios that have happened already and are yet to happen. Half a dozen panels and presentations dealt with the specter explicitly—e.g., “Social Disinformation and Cyber Interference in the 2018 Midterms.” And sessions not directly focused on the threat still had a tendency, at one point or another, to circle back to the topic.
Even when they attempted to strike a reassuring tone, many still sounded rather alarmed and alarming. David Becker, founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, downplayed the idea that Russian hackers have been or would be able to meaningfully compromise America’s local voter registration databases and electronic voting systems. Good news, right? Not quite.
“Changing elections in the United States is very, very difficult to do,” Becker said from the stage. “But getting Americans to doubt their own machinery of democracy? And to start wondering whether their own vote matters? That’s very low risk and very high reward. And that’s exactly what’s going on with Russia and perhaps other nation-states.”
In other words, hacking attempts—not hacking successes—on local election systems have amounted to a sort of meta-campaign to undermine America’s electoral integrity.
Full Article: From Russia with fear | Media – Ad Age.