Politics Special Interest: Election Security Reform
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Preparing for Foreign Interference on Facebook
May 22, 2019 | By: Chris Hanrahan
As we approach 2020, we know that our Adversaries will rely heavily on AI for their 2020 Foreign Influence Campaigns. And it isn’t just Russia doing this, though that country seems to have been the focus of the latest trendy-to-read Mueller Report “V.1” as I like to call it. The Democrats like it so much that they read it in its entirety last week, an action that had been predicted to take the full day and lasted over 12 hours. A Pro-Tip if you really want to get it over with fast – watch some of these things on 2x or 3x or 4x speed and you can still decipher the words of most Democrats. The activities of Congress, if you want to consume them all, which I have at some times, must be sped up and aggregated in ways we just don’t do yet. Which of this tool set will be fit for public consumption, and which can be safely set aside in search of loftier aims for MOC On-Demand as a tool focused around the issues at a deeper more member-participatory level. But many have tried to use technology to accomplish just precisely that, and from what I have heard, many have failed.
In speaking with some Senators and Representatives, they have shared with me that one of the things making MOC On-Demand a timely project is its potential to outperform the Facebook Town Hall “Post and sit back and watch the commenters often debate” format. I agree! We have begun working on a MOC On-Demand “Project Sunrise” which will be detailed at a later date, and which will become the future tool set that MOC On-Demand can offer to candidates and congresspeople alike. Not to mention the constituent tools that many of the registered users have told me they’re waiting to use and help to test as scale gets accomplished going into Election Year 2020.
Facebook Town Hall
I encourage you to go to Facebook.com on January 1, 2020 and log in (unless you’re already “permanently logged in” on the app, in which case I recommend “using a PC for this” if you have one). It has become an American Consumer Trend to abandon the desktop, and I plan to see a resurgence of American Made Computers (of all marks, makes, and specifications) coming up soon. That is, if Trump gets re-elected.
In any case, especially as 2020 approaches, I encourage you to go out of your way to see what Facebook “Town Hall” is starting to look like. And if you use an iPhone vs. a PC vs. an Android vs. a Mac, you will see the political world slightly differently, through the lens of www.facebook.com/townhall.
On Facebook Town Hall you’ll be able to add a “constituent badge” to your account so that when Representatives post, you can “reply as a constituent”. In fact, many users are already doing this now. But it is far from a fully rolled-out feature. The user base just isn’t ready for it! The basic fact is, 95% of the politicians who do use Facebook Town Hall do not use its capability for instant and dynamic engagement with anyone. It’s rare to see a politician directly answer a question on the platform. Maybe some constituents have had better luck directly messaging and saying what’s on their mind. Some of the issue as far as I can tell is based around an idea of shared understandings and misunderstandings. Whenever I’m having a conversation with a congressperson e and sharing what my goals are, I am listening for how they represent the interests of me as a citizen and how they pivot to the local/state/regional issues that more directly effect them and their constituents.
In theory, Facebook Town Hall will evolve to allow more of the grassroots feel for every politician, in a way that doesn’t turn into long posts with comment threads that only the most obsessed and engaged ever get around to reading. And some of them will have comments amassing 10,000 or more “likes” and more than that number of replies. It’s going to only get more elevated from here on in to election night.
The Elections Assurance Committee has said that one of their missions is to give Americans assurance on election day 2020. This is a far-out goal that is 531 days away, as of this writing [note: May 22, 2019].
As far as I can tell right now, the state of the Facebook Social Media Universe is this: we plan to rely upon coordination between Americans, working with Facebook Fact Checkers to prevent “fake or divisive content” from being amplified. This will involve fact checkers (they have armies of them on the payroll) and ultimately will be subjective in its ultimate effectiveness.
How the individual parties (broadly speaking) will achieve that remains as of yet, unclear. There are infinite decisions to be made around every table, between now and the time of the 2020 US Election. There are clearly foreign actors who will be “party to the 2020 US Election” and there is more than just the interference from the Russians. Though we haven’t heard the last word on the Russians yet, there are also other Foreign Influence Operations which have to various degrees already infiltrated our Technology Companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook. And without going into the degree to which the American Consumer has been victimized (Excellent work, Equifax…) let’s talk about even the basic inability for even the US Government Office of Personnel Management to protect its data. Nice work, you provide a great example in the annuls of history, under Failures of Imagination. Just adding a layer of jeopardy to the already marginalized class of US Citizen / US Person / Cleared and often times cleared for Special Access Programs, which require executive approval and require complete SF-86 disclosure so that your Secret and Top Secret clearance can be issued and so that the US Government can get deserved indemnity to surveil and monitor each recipient of Classified Information. But it all comes full circle when suddenly the Chinese have access to the millions of personnel files for you and your colleagues. It certainly adds a layer to the way the history books could be written about everything “pre-2020”. Just think about it for a minute or two.
Draft 1: A Pre-2020 History of the State Department
What about agencies such as the State Department which most recently had an episode of Stalin-like quality where its nominated leader, Hillary Rodham Clinton had taken liberty to smash and bleach bit her devices, concealing the scope of messages sent and received from her illicit Personal Server where she sent and received information in her official role as Secretary of State? They later would go on to nominate Hillary Clinton, who narrowly elbowed-out Socialist Leader Bernie Sanders. That’s what the history books might say about the Death of Socialism in America and the disregard that 2016 voters in America seemed to have over the matter of Treason (of Hillary Clinton). But as Comey so robotically puts it, there was “probably no intent” to harm America. I disagree. Those are actions she chose. Laws were made before her time to correct dishonest acts such as those she recently (post-2001) has taken and those further into her past. To Hillary, the further the controversy is in the rear view mirror, the less it effects her or her image. She carries an heir of leaving a trail behind her, to prove she’s been the closest example yet to a Historic Female President for the United States. And I believe that some day we will see our first Female President – I will be glad on that day. I am sure the history books will put it delicately when they ask the reader to contemplate the effect of electing Hillary Clinton after all she had done.
I can hardly get anyone to respond at length when asked to explain Hillary Clinton – just anything that’s still favorable about her, her appeal, what she would have meant to young girls watching her lead as President in 2019. They don’t want to talk about it. Not anything at length. I don’t think they ever planned to really consider it closely. Somehow they trusted Hillary and the Democrat party and they voted for her in 2019. And on that day when 97.5% of America was sure Hillary would win (myself not included in this number) the ultimate underdog in US Politics, Donald J. Trump had his day.
President Trump had been elected the 45th President of the United States.
While much of the mainstream fuss during the 2016-2019 Trump Collusion Witch Hunt panned out accordingly in the Mueller Report, there seems to be a lack of what I would think to be common technical knowledge or recommendations within the report. Its scope, all $37,000,000 of it, did not cover certain areas as we know.
One question that remains now is who will have the chance to speak last? And at the time of the final stretch, there will not remain 23 Democrats in the race against Trump. Who of the Democrats do you think will be on the final ballot against Trump? How will parties such as the heavy hand of social media weigh in and profit during the 531 days that are about to ensue?
tell me what you think, and please share what you know
(put it in the comments below)
Stay Tuned for: More Topics about Cyber Security in US Elections