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The election disinformation threat — today and beyond

Disinformation has spread online with abandon in the run-up to today's midterm elections — casting doubt on everything from the vote-counting process to the trustworthiness of ballot drop boxes — threatening to further destroy confidence in the democratic process. “I certainly would not expect the disinformation to end on Election Day,” said Suzanne Spaulding, a former DHS undersecretary who now directs the Defending Democratic Institutions project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And with influential figures such as former President Trump and his allies amplifying false voter fraud storylines, the immediate aftermath of the election will provide the best opportunity for bad actors to cast doubt on the process. “That period after Election Day until the elections are certified can be a point of heightened risk because of the misinformation and disinformation that we see that’s out there,” Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said on the sidelines of the Michigan Cyber Summit last month. Read the story at CyberScoop.

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National Guard not spared

In the span of a weekend after the National Guard described how its cyber units are helping state election officials protect networks from malicious activity, websites and social-media accounts known for fueling conspiracy theories are taking note. The upshot, according to researchers who study disinformation, is that a routine component of election security is the next potential target of activity that seeks to undermine faith in the democratic process. “We’re just putting a pin on it,” said Michael Caulfield, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public. “But then if you look at the way the reporting is being shared, you do find a lot of conspiracies in that.” Benjamin Freed reports.

Native communities push for technology they can call their own

Native American communities don’t want to rely on third parties for technology solutions — they want to create their own, speakers said at a recent Natives in Tech conference. By increasing awareness of how technology can support Native communities, as well as supporting the education and training of individuals interested in pursuing tech careers, the Natives in Tech collective wants to create a pipeline of Native software engineers, networking and cybersecurity experts and other technologists, speakers said during the event last weekend. “We want to be able to create technology by ourselves and for ourselves, and not need any outside assistance,” said Adam Recvlohe, a Natives in Tech presenter. Lindsay McKenzie has the story.

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