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How to Make Democracy Harder to Hack


An American voting.

With voting machines and related tools facing cyberthreats, the pressure is on to bolster the security of democratic infrastructure, writes Indiana University professor Scott Shackelford.

Credit: Keith Bedford/Reuters

With voting machines and other tools designed to uphold the integrity of democracy under threat by cybercriminals, the pressure is on to bolster the security of democratic infrastructure, writes Indiana University professor Scott Shackelford.

Although regulating infrastructure is more likely to be encouraged by the appending of a "critical" label, he notes, "so far, the machinery undergirding our democratic institutions has not received the same level of scrutiny as other critical infrastructure sectors."

Shackelford says voting is as important an infrastructure to the U.S. as its telecom networks and financial systems. "A first step in recognizing this reality would be for the [U.S. Department of Homeland Security] to explicitly include voting booths and affiliated networks as democratic critical infrastructure, potentially as part of the already recognized 'government facilities' sector," Shackelford says.

He notes such action would help clear a path for collaboration between industry and the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology to devise cybersecurity best practices to help jurisdictions navigate the confusing voting technology provider options.

Shackelford also cites the G2 Cybersecurity Code of Conduct between the U.S. and China as an example of international cybersecurity efforts that could be expanded to include election infrastructure.

From The Christian Science Monitor
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