Researchers show how foreign actors use digital techniques to influence and undermine democratic elections

Digital Threats to Democratic Elections

Chris Tenove [1], Jordan Buffie [2], Spencer McKay [3], David Moscrop [4], Mark Warren [5], Maxwell A. Cameron [6], Department of Political Science, UBC

January 18, 2018



Democracies around the world seem to be under digital attack. That concern is particularly acute during elections, and stories of hacked documents, foreign troll networks, and bot-driven misinformation campaigns have become increasingly common. The risks that foreign digital interference pose to democracy are analyzed in a new report from the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions. The report is called Digital Threats to Democratic Elections: How Foreign Actors Use Digital Techniques to Undermine Democracy.

The report comes from a team of researchers affiliated with Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. They include Chris Tenove (Postdoctoral Research Fellow), Jordan Buffie (MA student in Political Science), Spencer McKay (PhD candidate in Political Science), and David Moscrop (Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University, and recent PhD graduate from UBC). The project supervisors were Political Science Professors Mark Warren and Maxwell Cameron. Professor Cameron is also the Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a partner of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.

In addition to the report, see Chris Tenove’s article in Policy Options, “The digital attack on democracy.”

Also, see Spencer McKay’s blog post for the SPPGA, “Fake news is still making headlines, but we’re learning more about how online misinformation works.”