Bipartisan SAVE Act Aims to Protect US Elections
US senators have released bipartisan legislation designed to protect the US election system and specifically voting infrastructure from foreign interference.
Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Martin Heinrich, members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, argue that the Securing America's Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act will help protect voting systems, registration data and ballots from “theft, manipulation, and malicious computer hackers.”
The legislation would designate state election systems as critical infrastructure, meaning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be required to work with states to establish risk mitigation measures and a federal grant would help states upgrade equipment.
The Act would also require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to sponsor security clearances for federal election bosses in each state, usually the secretaries of state, and then share any relevant classified info with them regarding threats to their infrastructure.
Under the new proposals the comptroller general would be required to audit elections. A “CooperativeHack the Election" program is also mooted to root out vulnerabilities in systems.
"Our democracy hinges on protecting Americans' ability to fairly choose our own leaders. We must do everything we can to protect the security and integrity of our elections," said Heinrich in a statement.
"The SAVE Act would ensure states are better equipped to develop solutions and respond to threats posed to election systems. Until we set up stronger protections of our election systems and take the necessary steps to prevent future foreign influence campaigns, our nation's democratic institutions will remain vulnerable."
US intelligence has concluded that Russian hackers probed state election voting centers and state-level voter registration databases as part of wider efforts to undermine the democratic process and attempted to swing the election in favor of incumbent Donald Trump.
However, it’s not thought that these efforts at least had any effect on the election outcome.
Potentially far more serious were the propaganda moves on social media and the hacking and dissemination of damaging Democratic Party emails via Wikileaks, which Hillary Clinton has blamed in part for her loss.
Source: Information Security Magazine