With the U.S. midterm elections over and a majority of Democratic lawmakers now occupying the seats in the House of Representatives, election security is a top-of-mind issue, according to those familiar with the matter.
In the first entry in a series on cybersecurity policy, The Washington Post brings good news for those concerned about election security, cyber espionage, trade wars and everything in between. In a nutshell, the Democrats are bent on tackling these pain points and have vowed to dig deeper than ever on cybersecurity issues.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Post that “election security, the lack of cybersecurity leadership from the White House and supply chain security are top-of-mind.” Democrats plan to focus on these issues as part of a broader effort directed at the Trump administration’s oversights – including an examination of the president’s alleged ties to Russia.
Securing the next election
Readers might have already heard that, after the elections, various sources reported a surge in complaints of faulty election machines, inaccessible polling precincts, outages, and other hurdles. According to the Post, the Democrats have heard those cries loud and clear. They are calling for upgrades to outdated election infrastructure and, with their new dominance in the House, they will also be “pushing for a bill that would give states more money to improve aging and insecure systems.”
Rep. Adam B. Schiff is expected to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a “key player to watch,” according to the report. Schiff’s plans include poking at a number of uncomfortable topics, including Russian collusion allegations. He also wants improved communication between the Department of Homeland Security and technology companies to better spot Russian interference on social media.
As we reported a while back, experts are so convinced Russia has America’s political agenda in its crosshairs that they’ve even drawn up a modus operandi, as seen from outside. Comparing two of America’s greatest political and economic enemies, cybersecurity expert and author Adam Segal had this to say in a piece for the New York Times:
“Russian operations tend to heighten political divisions to drive a wedge in the target society. Chinese operations aim instead to cultivate common interests with powerful actors.”
A call for federal privacy law
But if there’s one topic both Democrats and Republicans agree on, it’s the need for a solid, federal privacy law – one similar in scope and purpose to the European General Data Protection Regulation.
The state of California has already drawn up such a regulation (set to take effect in 2020), and the Democrats believe it can be used as a Rosetta stone for broader, nation-wide legislation.
However, Republicans are on the fence about the timing. Both them and several technology companies agree the regulation passed too quickly, and will be challenging to enforce.