China attempting to manipulate BC election amid elections chief’s warnings on foreign interference

Voting Place. Elections BC.

The news that China is attempting to interfere in BC elections to get the BC Liberals elected may come as a shock to many British Columbians, but the provinces chief electoral officer had warned months ago that coordinated foreign interference through social media manipulation was a major threat to BC’s election integrity.

We reported on Tuesday the results of our social media analysis that showed the 50 cent army ‒ Communist Party of China’s social media manipulation workers ‒ giving BC Liberals a boost[1]China’s 50 cent army lends BC Liberals a helping hand

Our findings come just months after Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman submitted a report to the BC Legislative Assembly recommending taking proactive measures to protect British Columbia’s electoral process from cyber threats to electoral integrity that have occurred in the United States, the United Kingdom and other Western democracies[2]

The threats highlighted in the report include coordinated disinformation campaigns, foreign interference, and anonymous digital advertising.

Elections BC began to look at how British Columbia could proactively respond to potential disinformation and foreign interference in a provincial election in 2018 following the publication of an interim report on disinformation and fake news in the U.K. and media coverage of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

BC Elections chiefs warnings echo that of the federal Communications Security Establishment (CSE), who concluded that it was “very likely” Canadian voters would encounter some form of foreign cyber interference[3]

“The Election Act should be amended to strengthen provisions designed to ensure transparency, fairness and the level playing field,” the BC Chief Electoral Officer recommended in the report. “It should also be updated to prevent out-of-province and foreign interference in B.C. elections.”

References   [ + ]

1. China’s 50 cent army lends BC Liberals a helping hand