Voters enter the polling station at St. Luigi Catholic School during election day in Toronto on Monday, October 21, 2019. (The Canadian Press/ Tijana Martin)

Report: No foreign influence in recent Canadian elections

In their first report presented to the Canadian parliament, Elections Canada concluded that Canada’s 43rd general election on Oct. 21 came and went with no serious cybersecurity threats.

“As a large-scale logistics event, an election can only be realized with the participation of hundreds of thousands of citizens,” said the Chief Electoral Officer, Stéphane Perrault. “While the election was a success overall, our services must continue to evolve to respond to the new challenges and expectations of Canadians.”

In order to prevent and and address any type of outside interference in the elections, whether through cyber attacks or disinformation, Elections Canada worked with security agencies in Canada, as well as the Commissioner of Canada Elections to reinforce their physical, personnel and cyber security.

They also made sure that all employees at Elections Canada headquarters and staff at Election Canada’s offices took a training course regarding cyber security.

“Elections Canada put in place a comprehensive security strategy to address anticipated attempts at electoral interference, whether through influence campaigns, cyberattacks or disinformation,” said the report.

Elections Canada also made sure to have a multimedia campaign to inform voters about the election, how to register to vote, and where to vote. It also wanted to make sure that Canadians were informed with up-to-date information about the elections, by having a dedicated social media monitoring unit to check for websites that falsely claimed to be Elections Canada, and disinformation about the electoral process such as how and where to vote. 

From August to October, the social media monitoring unit flagged to social media platforms and websites 28 instances of election disinformation or an impersonation of Elections Canada. Of those 28, 13 were taken down by the social media platform or website. 

Perrault said that a detailed analysis of the of the elections, along with his recommendations would be released in another report in fall 2020. 

Categories: Internet, Science and Technology, Politics
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