October 21, 2019. The day Canada will vote in its 43rd General Election. There is a subject of discussion that will only grow as voting day nears and it isn't about the parties and policy or lack thereof. It's about the integrity of the electoral system. In a digital world with information from everywhere to seemingly everyone, the issue of reliability is not a new question. Integrity of electoral processes around the world have been compromised. There is no disputing this fact. The 2016 US election. The 2018 US midterms. Brexit. France. Austria. Turkey. And right here at home with Electoral Reform referenda, Ontario and Alberta. New shadowy players in a new arena with an awful lot at stake.
Canada's current government has done more than most nations recognizing and trying to identify, contain and counter the threat. But surprise surprise, not everyone involved wants to take action. Why? Politics and money.
Bill C-76 did a lot to restore rights for voters, limit financial shenanigans and set limits regarding timeframes on advertising and fundraising. But nothing specifically on digital skullduggery. The environment changes rapidly and sources of influence disappear as quickly as they appear. Wiil the extra efforts protect the integrity of the election?
The Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP) is made up of five senior bureaucrats that will assess threats and determine if they are serious enough to inform Canadians. The Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force consists of CSE, CSIS, RCMP, Global Affairs Canada and the Intelligence Advisor to Government. It is mandated to prevent covert, clandestine or criminal activities from influencing or interfering in the electoral process.
Will these measures work? Why weren't political parties made to comply with PIPEDA private information guidelines? Why aren't social media platforms willing to voluntarily comply to C-76? $$