North America

Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.

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.

Full Article: Canada's national security landscape will get a major overhaul this summer | CBC News.

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.

Full Article: In new guide, spy agency warns campaign teams 'more likely' targets of cyber attacks | CTV News.

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.

Full Article: Canada elections chief says hackers aim to keep people from voting - Reuters.

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.

Full Article: Elections Canada to monitor misinformation about voting on social media - The Globe and Mail.

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.”

Full Article: Liberals, Conservatives and NDP endorse global pledge against fraudulent campaign tactics - The Globe and Mail.

Canada: Minister assesses the cyber threat to Canada’s upcoming federal election | The Record

Ever since Karina Gould was named federal minister of democratic institutions in January 2017, part of her responsibility has been to analyze possible risks to Canada’s political and electoral activities from hackers.

The United States had just experienced widespread Russian meddling in its presidential election, and Gould said it changed the way the Canadian government assessed foreign cyber threats.

“All of a sudden, something that had not been on our minds was very present,” she told a crowd of more than 100 people during a public lecture at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo on Tuesday evening.

“We were more just thinking about hacks and leaks. The Clinton emails. The hack into the (Democratic National Committee) in the United States. That was the extent of the issue as we understood it.”

Once it became clear how social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter helped spread targeted misinformation in the lead-up to the U.S. election, Gould said the government took steps to understand how those online tools “were being used against democracy itself” and how they might have an impact on federal elections on this side of the border.

Canadians can expect their own dose of political interference ahead of this October’s federal election.

In a government report released about two weeks before Gould’s visit to Waterloo, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) found it is “very likely” the upcoming election will be targeted by foreign cyber interference.

While it’s unlikely Canada will see a repeat of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election, foreign adversaries could attempt to sway the ideas and decisions of voters in more subtle ways by focusing on polarizing social or political issues, or by promoting the popularity of one party over another, according to the CSE report.

Voters are now the single largest target of cyber threat activity during elections, since “cyber threat actors very likely see changing a vote count in a national election as difficult, and very likely consider it impossible against elections that use hand-counted paper ballots, such as the Canadian federal election,” the report stated.

Gould said the government has formed a plan to combat this interference based on four pillars: educating Canadians on the dangers and prevalence of misinformation online; improving organizational readiness within the government to quickly identify threats or weaknesses; combatting foreign interference via Canada’s security agencies; and expecting social media platforms to increase transparency, authenticity and integrity on their systems.

That fourth pillar has been frustratingly slow to achieve.

“While each of them says Canada is an important market … it’s becoming quite clear to me that there needs to be more (action),” Gould said.

Yet Canadians must also remain vigilant in how they interpret and share content they find online, she noted.

“Unfortunately the biggest sharers of fake news aren’t students; they’re baby boomers,” the minister said. “How do you get to people who aren’t in school anymore? That’s part of the challenge, but a really important thing we need to figure out.”

Other possible targets of foreign interference include political parties, candidates and their staff, as well as websites, networks and devices used by Elections Canada.

The CSE did not explicitly state in its report which nations or groups it suspects will attempt to interfere with the election, but the document did state Russia’s Internet Research Agency is known to create illegitimate websites to host false and misleading information framed as independent online journalism or personal blogs.

China has also been named as a cyber threat to Canada.

The government introduced Bill C-59 in 2017 to revamp the country’s national security infrastructure and give CSE the power to defend the election if it comes under cyberattack. The bill is currently before the Senate.

Full Article: Minister assesses the cyber threat to Canada’s upcoming federal election |

Full Article: Minister assesses the cyber threat to Canada’s upcoming federal election |

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

CanadaCanada 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.

Full Article: Canada, Rebuking Tech Giants, Braces for Possible Election Interference - The New York Times.

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.”

Full Article: Freeland says foreign election meddling in October federal vote is likely | CTV News.

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.

Full Article: Canadian officials worry that foreign actors are trying to meddle in 2019 election | The Star.

Canada: Several webpages from Elections Canada and MPs lack basic data protections, expert says | CBC

Several Elections Canada webpages and personal websites from MPs don’t have the basic encryption necessary to stop your information from being hacked as it’s sent from point A to point B. Pages to request publications from Elections Canada, as well as the websites of Liberal, Conservative and NDP MPs use an outdated, unprotected chain to carry information you send to them through the network. Liberal Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, Conservative Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre and the NDP’s Ruth Ellen Brosseau had this deficiency on the “contact me” form that asks for personal information — like your email, name and address — before sending feedback to your MP. Gould and other Liberal MPs updated their sites after queries from CBC News. 

Full Article: Several webpages from Elections Canada and MPs lack basic data protections, expert says | CBC News.

Canada: Cyber security expert briefs parties on protecting themselves during election campaign | CBC

One of Canada’s top cyber security experts says he’s been quietly giving the main political parties threat briefings in the lead-up to the upcoming federal election. “It’s an ongoing conversation,” Scott Jones, head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security within the Communications Security Establishment, told CBC News in an interview. “We told them basic cyber security matters. Taking action and thinking about how this could be turned against you is really important.” Earlier this week, Canada’s chief electoral officer raised concerns about the parties’ abilities to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

Full Article: Cyber security expert briefs parties on protecting themselves during election campaign | CBC News.

Canada: Chief electoral officer worries parties are weak link in cybersecurity chain | Calgary Herald

Canada’s chief electoral officer is “pretty confident” that Elections Canada has good safeguards to prevent cyberattacks from robbing Canadians of their right to vote in this year’s federal election. But Stephane Perrault is worried that political parties aren’t so well equipped. “They don’t have access to the resources we have access to,” Perrault said in an interview Monday, noting that “securing (computer) systems is quite expensive… Even the larger parties have nowhere near our resources and you’ve got much smaller parties with very little resources.” Moreover, with thousands of volunteers involved in campaigns, he said it’s difficult to ensure no one falls prey to “fairly basic cyber tricks,” like phishing, that could inadvertently give hackers access to a party’s databases. “You can spend a lot of money on those (security) systems and if the human (fails), that’s the weak link.”

Full Article: Chief electoral officer worries parties are weak link in cybersecurity chain | Calgary Herald.

El Salvador: Nayib Bukele, an Outsider Candidate, Claims Victory in El Salvador Election | The New York Times

Salvadorans elected Nayib Bukele, the media-savvy former mayor of the capital, as their next president on Sunday, delivering a sharp rebuke to the two parties that emerged from the country’s brutal civil war in the 1980s and have held power ever since. The dramatic win for Mr. Bukele, 37, who was running as an outsider, underscores the deep discredit into which the country’s traditional parties have fallen. Voters appeared to be willing to gamble on a relative newcomer to confront the country’s poverty and violence, shutting out the right- and left-wing parties that have dominated Salvadoran politics for three decades. Mr. Bukele won almost 54 percent of the vote in preliminary results, the electoral board said, beating out Carlos Calleja, a supermarket executive who was the conservative Arena Party candidate. Hugo Martínez, a former foreign minister who ran for the governing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or F.M.L.N., saw many of his party’s voters defect to Mr. Bukele and came in a distant third.

Full Article: Nayib Bukele, an Outsider Candidate, Claims Victory in El Salvador Election - The New York Times.

Canada: Canada unveils plan to warn of potential election meddling | The Guardian

Canada will set up a special panel to warn voters of any attempts by foreign actors to interfere with a federal election set for October, senior government officials have said. The Democratic institutions minister, Karina Gould, said Ottawa expects social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to help safeguard the vote by promoting transparency, authenticity and integrity on their platforms. The announcement comes amid an investigation by US officials into connections between Donald Trump’s 2016 election win and Russian efforts to influence the vote. Canada’s response was also influenced by the fact that Britain, France and Germany had also experienced foreign interference in recent elections, Gould said. An impartial group of senior bureaucrats would monitor possible interference during the Canadian campaign and sound the alarm if they felt the vote could be compromised, Gould said.

Full Article: Canada unveils plan to warn of potential election meddling | World news | The Guardian.

El Salvador: Fraud, the Justification of the Bad Loser Wanders Around El Salvador | Prensa Latina

The unfounded rumors of electoral fraud launched by the right-wing Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) embody Tuesday what in El Salvador they call ‘killing the pooch in time.’ In El Salvador, this expression means ‘to prepare a good excuse to defend yourself from a problem,’ and describes precisely the tactic of the party that mutated from orange to blue while remaining a right-wing party. With more paranoia than certainties, the party separated from the far-right Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) speaks in networks of collusion between its rivals, without presenting evidence to support its fear. For the deputy Nidia Diaz, head of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), everything responds to a strategy of candidate Nayib Bukele to justify an eventual setback. ‘It is part of his victimization, he wants to be president at any cost and he will disqualify any result that does not favor him and call it a fraud,’ said the parliamentarian at the close of the Front’s campaign.

Full Article: Fraud, the Justification of the Bad Loser Wanders Around El Salvador.

Canada: Canada is a prime target for cybersecurity attacks in 2019 | IT World Canada

Get ready Canada.  The cybercriminals have you in their sights for 2019. Despite our smaller market size, Canada had the third most cyber incidents in the world last year, according to a recent study. This year’s federal election is likely to attract more “bad actors” who will try to use misinformation to influence public opinion, warns the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security in its latest threat assessment. Cybercrime against Canadian citizens and businesses, however, will be the biggest threat this year, the report says. “It is certain that Canadians will be affected by malicious online activity in the coming year,” said Scott Jones, head of the Cyber Security Centre.

Full Article: Canada is a prime target for cybersecurity attacks in 2019 | IT World Canada News.

Canada: Voting restrictions on expatriate citizens are unconstitutional, Supreme Court rules | The Globe and Mail

Barring expatriate Canadians from voting in federal elections is rooted in bygone days of horses and buggies and violates Canada’s modern constitution, says the Supreme Court, which on Friday ensured a lasting franchise for long-term non-residents. Two Canadians working in the United States, Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong, challenged federal voting restrictions after they were unable to vote in the federal election of 2011. At the time, the law said non-resident citizens could not vote if they had lived more than five years abroad.

Full Article: Voting restrictions on expatriate citizens are unconstitutional, Supreme Court rules - The Globe and Mail.

Canada: Supreme Court set to rule on voting rights for long-term expat Canadians | National Post

Long-term Canadian expats are set to find out on Friday whether a now-repealed 25-year-old law barring them from voting in federal elections was constitutional. The pending decision by the Supreme Court of Canada should settle a legal battle begun in earnest during the former Conservative government of then-prime minister Stephen Harper, and which gained prominence in the election that brought the Liberals under Justin Trudeau to office. Observers said they would be watching to see whether the country’s top court might justify limits on a constitutionally guaranteed right that potentially affects more than one-million Canadians who live abroad.

Full Article: Supreme Court set to rule on voting rights for long-term expat Canadians | National Post.

Canada: Former national security adviser questions feds’ plan to prevent election meddling | CTV

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former national security adviser is questioning whether federal departments are prepared for the risk of election meddling in 2019 and whether the federal Liberals’ legislation meant to tackle foreign interference goes far enough. “I don’t think that the reports that were issued by the government—by [the Communications Security Establishment (CSE)]—is comprehensive enough. I’m not sure the legislation that we have in place deals with all of this,” Richard Fadden said on CTV’s Question Period. “It goes to the issue again, of fake news. This is a different version of fake news, and we haven’t come to grips with it yet,” said Fadden, who also advised former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, and previously headed up CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Full Article: Former national security adviser questions feds' plan to prevent election meddling | CTV News.

Canada: Senator’s personal data leaked online in apparent Twitter hack | CTV

Conservative Senator Linda Frum’s Twitter account was hacked Sunday night, with those responsible sharing personal information including her drivers license and using racial slurs in their tweets. “hi linda, can u drive us to the mall please?” read one tweet. The tweet then shared an image of both the front and back of her drivers license, showing personal information including her address. No motive for the hack was made readily apparent, but the perpetrators tweeted that they “don’t appreciate corrupt politicians” and included an emoji of the Palestinian flag. The group of hackers linked accounts and referred to themselves as the “spank gang,” claiming to “run twitter.” The hacking comes just days after a high profile hacking incident in Germany, where multiple politicians and officials – including German Chancellor Angela Merkel – had personal details dumped online.

Full Article: Canadian senator's personal data leaked online in apparent Twitter hack | CTV News.