Friday, April 01, 2016

Hacking Elections in Latin America

A group of Bloomberg reporters have written a hair-raising and detailed story about a hacker (currently in prison) who helped the Enrique Peña Nieto campaign and others across Latin America, always for conservative candidates. Fake social media accounts, shutting down government websites, hacking politicians' emails and phones, and the like are all happening, even with regularity.

If you're interested in Latin American elections at all then you need to go read the whole thing.

He says he wants to tell his story because the public doesn’t grasp the power hackers exert over modern elections or the specialized skills needed to stop them. “I worked with presidents, public figures with great power, and did many things with absolutely no regrets because I did it with full conviction and under a clear objective, to end dictatorship and socialist governments in Latin America,” he says. “I have always said that there are two types of politics—what people see and what really makes things happen. I worked in politics that are not seen.”

It's really a continuation of past corrupt practices by other, newer means. Simply stuffing ballot boxes is so 20th century. It's all terribly destructive for democracy.

Of course, this is the sort of thing that bolsters conspiracy theories, because sometimes the conspiracies are true. And, btw, they might even be true in the United States.

Last year, based on anonymous sources, the Colombian media reported that Rendón was working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Rendón calls the reports untrue. The campaign did approach him, he says, but he turned them down because he dislikes Trump. “To my knowledge we are not familiar with this individual,” says Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks. “I have never heard of him, and the same goes for other senior staff members.” But Rendón says he’s in talks with another leading U.S. presidential campaign—he wouldn’t say which—to begin working for it once the primaries wrap up and the general election begins.

And no, this is not an April Fool's post.


shah8 1:45 AM  

This sort of thing has clearly been an issue in US elections. Kansas is stonewalling successfully on providing data that might help a statistician show probabilities of some of the outcomes in their elections, for example.

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