The rise of the internet has made things more accessible than ever. But the same is also allowing people to control and influence even highly sensitive stuff like electoral processes. People still remember the role of Russia in the 2016 US elections.
Microsoft has announced a new initiative called Defending Democracy Program to safeguard the electoral process from hacking and spread of misinformation not only in the US but in other democracies across the globe as well.
While working with its stakeholders and governments, the company will try to protect election campaigns from hacking, increase political advertising transparency online, and explore technological solutions to protect the elections and identify and remediate cyber attacks.
Microsoft will also work with academic institutions and think tanks to counter state-sponsored computational propaganda and junk news.
In their blog post, Microsoft said that the “threats to our democratic processes from cyber-enabled interference have become a critical concern.” Nation-states have attempted to target and exploit fundamental aspects of our democratic systems including voting systems and technology infrastructure of political campaigns.
For a start, the company will focus on the upcoming November 2018 midterm elections. The US presidential elections in 2020 will be on their radar too; meanwhile, Redmond will also try to scale the program in other nations over the years.